Buckskin Restaurant Offers Rustic Atmosphere in Western North Dakota – InForum

KILLDEER, ND – After sitting vacant for two years, Nanette Edmondson brought The Buckskin back to life in May, serving food and drinks in a rustic atmosphere.

“We’re inspired by the ranchers of North Dakota,” Edmondson said. “My family grew up on a ranch here outside of Killdeer and they settled in the area in the early 20th century. My family raised cattle and helped build this community for generations. I want this restaurant to be a tribute to the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a successful rancher in North Dakota. All of our beef comes from local ranchers and during the summer we support all the local ladies’ home gardens. We love the German hearty food culture that has grown from the hard working people who have settled here. I’m not German, but I enjoy German food.”

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Brothers Anton, left, and Adolph Wetsch in their grocery store, now part of The Buckskin.

Contributed / The Buckskin

Many of their daily specials are inspired by local recipes.

“We actually invited some local ladies to do some of their own specials,” Edmondson said.

The restaurant’s chef, Bill Hocker, said he takes home cooking to the extreme.

“I cook the way I like to eat,” says Hocker. “I like doing different things from different cultures. So I’m not just sticking with steak and potatoes.”

He makes much of the food from scratch. This includes the dressings, sauces and the fettuccine he uses in dishes.

“They allowed me to come here and be creative and do what I do,” Hocker said. “You have your idea, your menu, and I make it happen; but I also have the freedom to express my cooking skills.”

He cuts and ages the steaks by hand, which he describes as “excellent quality beef.”

They offer two distinct experiences: fine dining and pub fare. The Chophouse’s family dining room offers fine dining menus including steaks and home-cooked specials. The walls are filled with photographs documenting Dunn County’s rugged cowboy heritage.

“So cattle and rodeo go hand-in-hand, and our dining room pays homage to Killdeer’s rich rodeo history,” said Edmondson. “The large framed rough stock images are all local and we want people to visit us to be inspired by our community as we are. Killdeer is a unique place with a strong sense of ancient western culture.”

Many of their signature drinks contain the names of Edmondson’s family. The pub, which dines halfway up the Buckskin, offers sandwiches and flatbreads. There is also a daily special such as smoked ribs or smoked wings.

Nanette Edmondson pours a draft beer at the Buckskin.

Ashley Koffler / The Dickinson Press

Edmondson said she was drawn to the Buckskin because she loves historic buildings. The Buckskin originally consisted of three separate buildings side by side that were combined to form a Bar & Grill. She recalled that when she was at school, there was a drug store, grocery store, and bar in its place.

Two vintage signs found in the basement of the former grocery store have been restored and now light up the drawing room. The Buckskin features a scale, crockery and other historical items from the old shops. A 1928 check found in the wall during the remodeling is also framed on the wall.

“It’s all of our history in one building,” said manager Lizzy Strommon.

Edmondson also owns The Pipe Bar in Killdeer and said they were bursting at the seams when the Buckskin closed in 2020.

“The pipe is just packed with people, like you can’t relax there,” Edmonson said.

She bought the Buckskin on May 1, 2022. Friends and family helped with the conversion in just over two weeks. They wallpapered, removed the existing bar and built a new one.

“They spent 19 hours with Sawzalls, hacking the plaster off the walls to reveal the original bricks,” Strommen said.