Blogger's Note: "Chew on This" is a series of stories highlighting the vibrant restaurant scene in Sioux Falls. We concentrate on dining establishments that are local, non-national chain restaurants. Read about all of the restaurants we've visited.

If you're not patronizing local restaurants you're missing out on some of the best food and atmosphere Sioux Falls has to offer. I've recently become a fan of Kaladi's Bistro at 26th and Minnesota. A couple of friends and I were going to get together for the first time in several years and wanted to be able to talk and catch up. My friend Micky suggested Kaladi's. It was the perfect place. We were seated in a booth where we could talk to each other without having to shout and we never felt rushed. If you go to bigger chain restaurants, they want to turn that table over as fast as possible. Had there been a line out the door at Kaladi's, we would've made our meeting shorter, but since we got there later in the evening on a weeknight, it wasn't super busy.

The place screams local. From the local musical acts they hire to play weekly to the local art hanging on the wall, they are completely engaged in their community. There's a cozy fireplace, plenty of tables for bigger parties, and comfortable booths for a little more privacy. I'm not one to go to a restaurant by myself, but this is a place I would feel comfortable sitting in a booth by myself and catching up on some e-mails while enjoying breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Yes, I said dinner. Remember when Kaladi's wasn't open for dinner? That was when it was Kaladi's Coffee Legend and Bistro. About five years ago new owners reinvented Kaladi's but stayed true to the coffee and pastries. They also added dinner hours plus wine and beer.

My favorite meal at Kaladi's is the Kaladi's Cordon Bleu. It's a hand-pounded chicken breast topped with havarti cheese, ham, sauteed mushrooms and honey mustard cheese sauce. The breading on the chicken is perfectly seasoned and crispy. The melted havarti adds a little tang and the saltiness of the ham brings your bite full circle. I'm not a mushroom or mustard fan, and they are more than happy to cater to my special requests. The mashed potatoes are homemade, creamy perfection topped with a deep, rich beef gravy.

Karla Brown/Townsquare Media

The Hot Beef isn't a regular menu feature, but appears on a special seasonal menu. Tender roast beef is layered between two generous pieces of white bread, accompanied by a liberal scoop of homemade mashed potatoes and slathered in beef gravy.

Karla Brown/Townsquare Media

The Kaladi's menu also includes a good selection of burgers. My friend had the Easy Like Sunday Morning burger. With a name like that, you know there's going to be an egg on it. The burger is a combination of beef and sausage and topped with sliced ham, American cheese, bacon and an egg. This is one of the juiciest burgers you'll ever wrap your mouth around. You might want to bring a bib.

Karla Brown/Townsquare Media

Kaladi's also serves a variety of fresh salads, plenty of seafood dishes, paninis, sandwiches, steaks, and more.

I might be saving the best for last. The breakfast! Mornings are busy at Kaladi's, especially Saturday and Sunday mornings. People come for the apple-cinnamon stuffed French toast, Belgian waffles served with honey butter, biscuits and gravy and more.  Maybe you'd prefer a lighter way to start your day and just grab a muffin and a cappuccino or mocha. Breakfast is served Monday through Saturday until 11:00 AM and all day on Sunday.

Don't forget the homemade desserts. Ask your server what is available, but some of the favorites include cheesecake, pie and bread pudding.

Kaladi's is located at 1716 S. Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls. Hours are 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM Monday, 7:00 AM - 9:00 PM Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM Saturday and 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM Sunday.

Hungry? Try something new. Explore the wide variety of local, non-national chain restaurants for a change of pace and treat your taste buds.

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