An Amerindian food truck expands to become an “express” restaurant

A local food truck is expanding to become a showcase in the center-west of Sioux Falls.

Watecha Bowl, a food truck serving a variation of traditional Lakota cuisine, moved to the former Studio 1491 space at 2305 W. Madison St. Lawrence West, owner of Watecha Bowl and Studio 1491, wanted to make the full transition to serving food industry.

“I love people and I love the energy,” West said. “Food creates such a happy environment. “

He expects the permanent kitchen and display, with more regular hours than his food truck, to be operational by this spring. The restaurant will have no seats and will be an express place for take out and delivery orders only.

West opened Studio 1491 in 2018 as an evolution of his original home custom t-shirt design company, Fade Productions. Studio 1491 provided a “much needed service to Native Americans in the community,” West said.

“It was a store that focused on them – our culture, our sizes, our language,” West said. “It was a place where the natives could come and relax, unwind, tell stories and joke. It (Studio 1491) will return when the time is right.”

Following: Food Truck serves Indian tacos and Native American cuisine

The complete transition to the restaurant industry gives him more time to focus on supporting his family and new creations on his menu, which changed from Indian tacos when he opened the food truck in spring 2020.

Now, West offers traditional Lakota soup, wojapi, and fried bread every day in the truck. It also offers classic Lakota flavors, including fried fingers of bread, loaded Indian fries, and the Big Indian Dog Combo, a beef hot dog wrapped in fried bread.

West’s goal continues to be not only to revive the Sioux Falls Native American knowledge of Lakota language and culture, but also to engage non-Native Americans.

“People took the initiative themselves before even approaching my facility to search for Lakota words or strike up a conversation,” West said. “What I hope is the key is that people continue to educate themselves and appreciate the culture and the food.”

The Watecha Bowl food truck is still in operation until the storefront opens. West said he’s kicking off the food truck season early with his next appearance on “Food Truck Tuesday” at Liberty Hall on January 19.

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