After 140 years, a legendary South Dakota butcher shop is still in business.
It was 1883 when Carl Look, an apprenticed German butcher, and his brother, August, opened their butcher shop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Some of the meats they sold included spring chickens, lamb and veal cutlets. Pork sausage was their specialty, but they also carried staples like ketchup, beans and sauerkraut. In 1891, Carl and his brother parted ways and he started his own butcher shop in town.
Carl’s son, Charles LeRoy “Roy,” apprenticed with his father after school and recalled not only learning butchering, but also acting as his dad’s bill collector. He eventually became an integral part of the daily operations of the meat market. When Carl died in 1941, he left the business to his children, and Roy took charge.
By the 1950s, Look’s moved away from the butchering business and focused on selling groceries and some meats. Roy recalled they made the move when people started eating better, so they added more grocery items. Despite changes over the years, Roy said they offered high quality products like in-house cured bacon, bologna and liver and pork sausage, which were the same items that his father offered. He credited their sausage quality to Robert Reitz, who was with the business for 50 years, starting in 1909. They used Carl’s same recipes, but the seasoning was different. Roy noted that back in the day they had to grind their own black pepper and coriander seeds and mix that with salt in 100-pound paper bags. In the 1950s, they found a Chicago company to do it for them. When Carl owned the business, they did their own slaughtering, but when John Morrell & Co. opened in 1909, Look’s had them do it for them.
When Roy took time off, one of his pastimes was fishing. He and his wife headed to Battle Lake, Minnesota, in the late 1940s, and she caught a six-pound Northern. He caught a walleye and claimed it was also six pounds. She didn’t agree, so she weighed it and it turned out that his fish was only four pounds. The newspaper reported, “Mr. Look is still trying.”
Roy retired in the 1960s, and D.C. “Bud” Doer, who started with them as a driver in 1938, purchased the business. Doer was a favorite among the customers and ran Look’s for decades. He continued to offer all the traditional Look’s products they had become known for, including bologna, homemade sausages and beefsteaks. Today, Look’s still offers prime cuts of meat and house-made sausages, smokes their own bacon, and has a bakery, deli and restaurant.
Bacon and Eggs
6 2-inch pieces of bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut bacon into 2-inch squares and fry over medium heat until tender, but not crispy.
Remove the pieces and leave some of the bacon fat. Drain bacon on paper towels.
Return pan to the heat and add 2 or 3 squares back into the pan (as many as you want to cook) and gently drop an egg onto each bacon square. Repeat as you like. Cook the eggs until desired. You can splash some bacon fat over the top of the eggs to cook the top if you like.
Recipe adapted from Big Stone City,
Dakota Territory’s, The Herald, April 2, 1886.