Sioux Falls Restaurant Takes ‘Guests’ Back In Time For 50th Anniversary

A well-known restaurant is celebrating its Golden Anniversary. The Royal Fork Buffet opened their first location in Idaho in 1967. To honor the milestone, the Sioux Falls location took their customers back in time Thursday.

“We were here Mother’s Day and it was lined clear up around, so we figured we would be here early,” said Evelyn Utley of Sioux Falls.

Some say they got here as early as 3 a.m. The next in line just before 10 o’clock.

Matthew Wallum of Harrisburg said, “After I got here, it instantly went and wrapped around the parking lot.”

All had Aug. 17, 2017 marked on their calendars with a buffet calling their name.

Wallum said, “I like the waffles. Their homemade syrup is awesome and I love how they have real whipped cream for it.”

Wallum started coming to the Royal Fork when he was just a few years old.

“… with my grandparents and parents, they would come from the farm in Bridgewater and come here and have dinner,” Wallum said.

Utley had first eaten at the restaurant in the 80’s before it moved to the Empire Mall. She’s been a regular ever since.

Utley said, “It’s cooking like grandma does, like grandma does. It’s nothing fancy, it’s cooking like grandma does.”

They’re all here to celebrate not just the restaurant, but its long standing employees and owners.

“We decided that with our 50th, we’d take us back to our roots and we’d do something special,” said Royal Fork Buffet Co-Owner Merlyn Knight.

They rolled back their prices 50 years when a lunch buffet was $1.35 and dinner $1.95.

Knight said, “There’s so many memories of people and today around here, there’s like 40 people who begged to come in, they’re wearing grey t-shirts, and ‘we just want to come and get to be a part of this here and be a part of the celebration’.”

1967 prices are exactly what the customers got. Except at Royal Fork, they’re referred to as guests; one of the reasons they’ve been in business all these years.

“Fifty years, pretty special,” said Knight.

Around 65 employees are working for the big event. They estimate that anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 people will have come through the door.

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