Dakota Diners: Dempsey's builds on Watertown legacy

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One of our favorite features is back this week on KSFY News at 6.

Our Dakota Diners series takes a look at locally owned, hometown South Dakota eateries that you told us we needed to check out.

And we listened!

Our first stop tonight: Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant in Watertown.

From the outside, Dempsey's just looks like an interesting place.
Its' home base is this 115 year old building on the city's north side.
The driving force behind Dempsey's is its' energetic, enthusiastic owner Sean Dempsey. "If you don't have passion for what you do....you're never going to succeed. Its just going to become a job that becomes a chore."

Dempsey's folks operated this place for about 16 years.
Sean took over last fall.
Dempsey's definitely has an Irish feel to it, from the hand painted mural on the back wall to the furniture to the flags which hang from the ceiling. "We've got a flag probably 30 that are from different countries. But then we also have all these Army unit flags that were donated by people who served and would bring their flag back and we'd hang It up here."

But the food.....well....there sure are options.
There's the traditional Wienerschnitzel.....the Prime Rib and a variety of sandwiches.
But lately...."Lately it's been pizza."

Boy has it been about the pizza!
At the end of March, Dempsey's Pizza was ranked the #1 pizza in the northwest division at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas.
And nationally at the same competition, it came in #10.
Meaning pizza made at this family owned Watertown eatery is some of the best in the entire United States! "I live in the back kitchen so I get to play with ingredients. I get to come up with new taste profiles and you know with this entire place I get to design it how I want."

In fact, the success of Dempsey's pizza is having such an impact on this operation that Sean says it may allow him to begin expanding to areas outside of Watertown. "I'd like to look at opening a few more smaller places like pizza shops and that's something we are going to explore in 2018...maybe fall of 2019."

All this attention, Sean admits, it a little overwhelming....becoming an overnight success after 17 years.
But while what's being done here is winning national awards and other accolades, Sean says it is the people of Watertown who have made all of it possible. "We have great community support and we do a lot with the community. The support they have given us has been massive over the years."

While we were there Sean made us a Cheese pizza and a Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza. They could not have been better.
Sean tinkers with his pizza recipe all the time to work to improve it.
We told him we thought it was good just the way it was.