Hill City Café will have new look by summer

By Jeff Smith

Hill City Cafe on Main Street with friendly staff and good homemade food will have an updated look in the near future.

More seating, a better restroom area and a new kitchen are some of the largest things that are going to be happening with the Hill City Café remodel.

Patty Houska, owner of Hill City Café, said that it is scary and exciting at the same time.

The building is 104-years-old and parts of the building have stayed in the same original state.

Houska has owned Hill City Café for 18 years. She has been wanting to do the renovation since she bought the place.

“Me and my daughter (Crystal) run it,” Houska said.

That is Crystal Colvin who has done a lot at the restaurant since 2012.

“I’m hoping it still has the homey feeling when it is done,” Colvin said.

Some parts of the kitchen are going to be taken out and a brand new kitchen is going to be built. Colvin said a lot of the equipment will be kept the same, but some of it will be new.

The kitchen area will also be 10 ft. back from the dining area. Restrooms are going to be where the current kitchen is and behind the restrooms there will be more seating.

People having to wait to use the restroom has been a problem that is going to be solved with the renovation.

“One restroom is not enough,” Houska said.

Outside seating will also be available in the sidewalk area out in front of the restaurant. Seating outside will be about 10 ft. outside in the summer and then five ft. in the winter and fall. Additional seating will be available on the outside of the kitchen.

One goal for the seating is to have a space large enough for banquets and social gatherings.

Erin Donovan, waitress at the restaurant, thinks that the renovation will bring in a lot more people.

“People will love it in the summer when they come in and see that it is remodeled,” Donovan said.

Bill Adair, a cook at the restaurant, said that he’s looking forward to the renovation.

“It’s exciting. It’s a whole new place to cook in,” Adair said.

He wasn’t too concerned about the challenge of having to cook with the renovation going on. As far as everything is organized everything should be fine, Adair said.

Adair said the big thing with the renovation is that it is for the customers.

Hill City Café will be able to take in more customers. Plus, customers will be able to sit outside if they want.

The entire renovation will add about 1,000 more sq. ft.

Dallas Alexander Construction will be the doing the remodel.

Colvin said that Dallas is sually great and is there at the restaurant when he needs to be.

Houska said they drew the plans out by themselves for the remodel. There is an interest in expanding the restaurant in the future too.

Last time the renovations were done in-house. That was in 2013.

“What I tell people is that we went all the way to the ground and all the way to the sky,” Clovin said.

The entire front of the restaurant was re-built. There was a false beam on top that needed to be replaced. All of the walls were redone and reinsulated too.

The plan is to keep the restaurant open during the renovation.

Houska is hoping that everything will be done by the end of April. At the time of completion there will be a celebration with a 1965 and 1976 menu being used. This includes pricing and everything.

A customer actually had the 1976 menu and gave it to Hill City Café.  It was used when the restaurant was called Powder Horn Restaurant. Colvin said a switch between that menu and the 1965 menu took place and both are used for special occasions. It is also a way to honor Patty’s late husband, Mike.


  1. My first job was at the Hill City Cafe as a waitress. I was 13 years old. My Dad, John E. Loberg, Rushmore State Bank, and his good friend, “Blind Bill,” would often take a coffee break at the
    Hill City Cafe. The cafe was owned then by Don and Lucille Myers. The place was famous because
    of the wonderful pies that Lucille made. Fond memories for my Mom, four brothers and myself.
    Congratulations on your remodeling the Hill City Cafe of many years.