In the heart of the Black Hills, how could you go wrong with a bar featuring a large live pine tree?

That’s part of the ambience of the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant and Ponderosa Bar at 12730 Guest Ranch Loop in rustic Nemo, 21 miles northwest of Rapid City on Nemo Road.

The new managers of the restaurant and bar are Doug and Jill Schneider and Dan and Varaporn Danielson, couples who bring distinct culinary styles from the food truck circuit to the Brandin’ Iron’s revamped menu.

The Schneiders specialize in American-style barbecue, while the Danielson’s bring an Asian cuisine (a combination of oriental foods) to the mix. They took over on Oct. 15 and, so far, the Asian cuisine has been a big hit, said Doug.

They’ve also brought back the popular Friday Nite Fish Fry and Jam Session, featuring all-you-can-eat Alaskan Pollock and tunes from local musicians.

Doug is encouraged with the customer response, especially with the timing of the changeover in mid-October.

“When we started everybody said it was a horrible time of year to be doing it, being out here this far,” he said. “We thought it would be a good time to get adjusted to the place and to each other, because we hadn’t really worked together prior to this.”

Their winter hours are Friday through Monday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out their Facebook page or call 605-578-1638 for more information.

New home for Rice Polaris

Anyone traveling between Rapid City and Sturgis on Interstate 90 has noticed continuing progress on the new Stagebarn Middle School in Summerset and the full reopening of the rebuilt westbound lanes of I-90 between Piedmont and Tilford.

Also apparent is a lot of earthwork underway just to the east of I-90 Exit 48 in Summerset — the site of a new Rice Polaris of the Black Hills dealership.

Owner Wade Rice now leases a building near the construction site from next-door neighbor AMD Distribution Co. to house his Polaris line of all-terrain and utility vehicles and snowmobiles.

"Before we ever got this thing going we bought that land, all part of the big picture,” Rice said

Rice said the new building will be at least 18,240 square feet with adjacent ATV, UTV and motorcycle parking bays equipped with battery tenders along with a two-stall car wash.

Plans are to have the building done by around July 1, Rice said. And the new location for Rice Honda Suzuki on East Mall Drive, near Cabela’s and Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews, is nearing completion with an opening eyed for mid-March, he said.

New owners for Gold Diggers

Taking over ownership of Gold Diggers Black Hills Gold at 2017 Mount Rushmore Road is family-owned Wheeler Manufacturing, a jewelry manufacturing company based in Lemmon.

Principal owners are Lucas Wheeler, his uncle Brad Wheeler (president) and his father Rob Wheeler (vice president).

They bought all four locations of Gold Diggers (Hill City, Keystone, Wall and Rapid City) from Cindy Pushing, closing the deal in February.

Wheeler Manufacturing specializes in wholesale jewelry manufacturing sales but wanted to expand, Lucas Wheeler said.

“Our jewelry looks like gold, but it isn't," he said. "We were looking to get into the Black Hills gold manufacturing business and this opportunity just came about."

Wheeler joins other Rapid City business owners in celebrating the completion of the three-year Mount Rushmore Road reconstruction project.

“I’m glad it’s finally getting opened up,” he said.

  Contact Jim Holland at 605-394-8429 or at