Family in Focus: MacKenzie River

Recently, we asked friends in the Sioux Falls community “what businesses are the most family-friendly and why?”  We want to know what makes these places so special to their fans, so we're going out and talking with them.


Family in Focus: MacKenzie River

This week, Jesse Schanzenbach, the general manager at MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill, and Pub, sat down with me to visit about why families mean so much to them.

Me: When I asked about the places that are the most family-friendly in Sioux Falls, this place rose to the top of the list. Why do you think that is? 

Jesse: We really think about what works for kids and families. All of our menu items are $6 and they are all-inclusive. We rotate our menus from time to time, so kids have different things to color and do while they wait. Kids know they will get a jar of crayons and a little container of Goldfish crackers when they get here. We train our staff to walk around the waiting area and ask families if the kids can have a snack.

We add new things to the kids’ menu and take things off that aren’t popular; PB & Honey sandwiches, for example. Kids weren’t into it, so we replaced that with a turkey wrap that’s very popular. 

Me: So, about those Goldfish crackers. I heard you have an endless supply for kids. How does that work? 

Jesse: We hand out containers of Goldfish crackers to kids while they wait for a table because we know they might be ‘hangry.’ We don’t take reservations, so the wait on Friday and Saturday night can sometimes take a few minutes. We check with the families, but all kids who walk in can have as many as they want. We will also hand out Goldfish crackers to adults if they’re ‘hangry’ too-just ask! 

Me: The bar in this place is pretty central to the layout. How does that mix with the rest of the space while families are eating? 

Jesse: One thing I want to make clear is that we are a restaurant with a bar, not a bar that serves food. That makes a big difference in the atmosphere we create. We make all of our own food.  We don’t microwave things. We source our own produce. We even bought pub height high chairs, so families can enjoy our high-top tables and not feel isolated.. 

Me: What do you want people to know about MacKenzie River? 

Jesse: The staff here understands that everything is everybody’s job. I live that philosophy and will do anything that needs to be done.  Not only do we want you to know that you and your family are always welcome, every hour of every day, we want you to feel that every time you visit us. 

Want to learn more about MacKenzie River? Like them on Facebook or visit their web site for more info.

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