Pacific Rim Cafe: Big Vietnamese Flavor in a Small Midwestern City

Near the less “touristy” part of town, an unpretentious restaurant sits at the corner of a Strip Mall. From the outside, it’s hard to spot it beyond the two vape shops and a sketchy casino next door, but Pacific Rim Cafe is a welcome and needed fixture in Rapid City.

If you’re imagining a Walmart nearby, then you’d be correct.

Pacific Rim Cafe is a Vietnamese-based eatery offering a variety of sandwiches, noodle plates, appetizers and most excitingly–Pho.

Rare Beef Pho
One of the most popular incarnations of Pho calls for thin, raw slices of beef that cook in the bowl.

I first encountered Pho about six years ago, when a friend screamed the praises of this amazingly large bowl of magic. A decent priced meal. In a bowl. With meat, noodles, and veggies too.

Okay, dude. Not sure I’m sold on your soup–but I’ll go.

I could go on all night and day about the history of Pho–a traditional street food that has rapidly placed Vietnamese cuisine on the map in recent years. It isn’t just a soup. It isn’t just a noodle bowl, either. But most importantly, Good Pho, is really good Pho.

Pacific Rim’s Pho comes with all of the finest garnishes–Lime, Bean Sprouts, and Basil. Because “things happen” in the Midwest, don’t be surprised to spot an occasional lemon instead of lime. If you’re bold, Jalapeno slices and Sriracha can be added for spiciness. Hoisin Sauce is also available–it adds a pungent but somewhat sweet character to the Pho that I personally can’t live without.

Bean Sprouts, Thai Basil, Jalapeno and a small slice of lime add to this dish.

*Note.* I recommend removing the Jalapeno at some point and don’t go overboard on Sriracha. I’ve learned the hard way that the broth will become increasingly spicy over time if you do not remove the jalapeno.

I must admit I have not ventured very far on the menu, but other standouts include their Vietnamese Chicken Wings. These bad boys always come out hot and crispy with a sweet and spicy chili sauce that you can’t find anywhere else.


Popular Mention:  Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Now, are spring rolls the most exciting thing in the world? No. But these rolls offer a unique combination of ingredients paired with one of the best peanut dipping sauces in town.


A Military Discount. Pricing is very reasonable, regardless.

-Nice Vibe, spacious seating. Despite the deceptive location, there is ample seating that rarely feels squished. Pacific Rim also boasts a someone simplistic, but very large 100 Gallon Aquarium with massive, 6-10 inch fish that I haven’t quite identified yet.

The owner of this space can be seen working hard amongst the kitchen and the wait staff. While it’s nice to watch the nice folks at Culver’s force a smile at every interaction, the authenticity of small business owners in Rapid City is always a sight to behold.

A kid’s menu, for the picky little one in your life. The dishes are actually of decent quality and made with as much love as one could put into a grilled cheese.

All of the “Pho” in Minot was terrible and left me disappointed after trips to the Twin Cities. Take my word for it–we are lucky to have a place that offers authentic and tasty Pho here in the Black Hills.

Pacific Rim Cafe is not officially on Facebook and does not have their own website. Their address is 1375 N Lacrosse St #1, Rapid City, SD 57701 (across from the Walmart and Pirate’s Cove Mini-Golf). To my knowledge, their Google Business information (business hours and phone number) appear to be correct and up to date.