2019 Custer Area Chamber of Commerce Relocation Guide 2019 Custer Chamber Directory web - Page 5

5 or Eliza and Joseph Raney, Skogen Kitchen has become an overnight and rampant suc- cess. In just over a year and a half, Sko- gen Kitchen has established itself as not only one of the best restaurants in the Black Hills, but also, according to some diners, the world. When compared with Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe, one couple proclaimed Skogen was better. Eliza and Joseph met while working at a restaurant in California. After dating for a while, they made the decision they wanted to return to the Midwest (Eliza is from Minnesota) and chose three loca- tions they wanted to explore before de- ciding: Texas, Chicago and the Black Hills. Joseph visited the Black Hills first and the couple never made it to the other two locations. This was to become home and it was clear to him. They moved eight months later and Eliza found a job at Black Hills Burger & Bun, while Joseph began working at Sage Creek Grille. The couple knew that if Joseph was to continue his career (and yes, he had taken the complete culinary career path, attending culinary school and working in restaurants) as a chef, they would have F to open their own restaurant so he could have the autonomy to do what he wanted as a chef. And Skogen was born. Nine months after moving to Custer, and with tremendous support from many local businesses, Eliza and Joseph had two soft openings for their new restau- rant, inviting members of the community and friends to come try out Joseph’s food. Needless to say, they were a suc- cess. Word spread fast and before they knew it, their little restaurant was thriving and people were driving hours just for a meal there. It’s grown so much that in order to continue to offer the level of service they want, they’ve had to make reservations mandatory. Joseph’s food, Eliza says, is only as good as the service they can offer and they want everyone who dines there to have not just a good or great experience, but an exceptional one. The food itself is progressive. A com- plex blend of local, upscale and common ingredients, as well as blending distinct cuisines, ensures entrees like no other. Traditional and contemporary ingredi- ents, styles and cuisines often mingle on one plate, with everything from foie gras to Corn Nuts to sausages made from lo- cally-raised goats ... and pretty much everything in between. Eliza and Joseph say without the sup- port of the community to see them through the often-tough winter months, they wouldn’t be where they are today. And yes, people are driving to Custer from Mitchell just to eat at Skogen Kitchen, but there are also plenty of lo- cals who are dining there regularly be- cause they, too, know the food Joseph is making something special. In addition to the community, they are deeply appreciative of their employees, calling them “amazing.” Eliza said it’s cru- cial they are happy, so both she and Joseph are at the restaurant for every single shift. This offers their employees both the direction and support they need. Being present as business owners also affords them the opportunity to speak with every single diner who enters the restaurant. Eliza tries to visit every table, both learning the customers’ stories as well as sharing their own. And this, in turn, weaves their fabric into the com- munity and region even more. “It’s been beyond what we ever could have imagined,” Eliza said. “And there is no other place we would rather be.”