Iconic Bob’s Cafe Sign Removed

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-Back in the day, neon signs used to light up the stores on 12th street in Sioux Falls. Now very few are left. One local man is working to preserve these signs, including an iconic one that was removed Thursday morning. 

The Bob’s Cafe sign was a staple in Sioux Falls. As people drove down 12th street, they’d see the waitress holding the burger and shake. Now the scenery is going to look different on that side of town as the iconic Bob’s Cafe signs was removed.

The sign tells a story.

“I’ve been coming here since I was really little, eating chicken and stuff and years ago back when it was a drive-in, my mom did a short time as a carhop here. So I’ve been coming here my whole life,” said Shane Sutherland. 

To Sutherland the sign is a piece of Sioux Falls history that he believes should be preserved in Sioux Falls. 

“Everyone talks about it. Everyone thought it should have been on the historic registry, but being a chicken sign, it’s hard to pull that,” said Sutherland.

When Sutherland heard the sign was going to be sold out-of-state, he couldn’t let that happen. He saves and repurposes items for a living. With the help of his partner Doug Tinklenberg, they bought the sign. 

“It’s great, it’s really, you don’t know how big this thing is until you’re standing next to it down here, but it’s a great piece. We got it down with minimal damage,” said Sutherland.

Now that the sign is down, crews are making crates to put the pieces on, so they can be transported to storage.

“It’s not just reclaiming the pieces of history, it’s rehoming them with the right people,” said Sutherland. 

They are looking for someone who appreciates the signs history and the stories it tells. If you’re interested in buying the signs you can contact Shane Sutherland at 605-728-6368 or hillbillypaintworks@yahoo.com. Him and Doug are hoping to keep the signs together if possible.

The money from the sale will go toward improving safety around the building. Last month we told you about concerned neighbors living behind the Bob’s Café building. If alcohol is sold in the building, they are worried that a car could accidentally drive over the 30-foot drop at the edge of the parking lot and fall into their yard. The building owner says he’ll use the money from the signs to build a retention wall at the end of the parking lot.


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