Life is Sweet in Custer, SD

I have a confession to make. I’m a cheater. Today, I cheated big time, and I don’t even care. Was it worth it? Definitely.  I think I even fell in love it little. That’s right. I cheated on my diet and I liked it.

As I pulled into a parking space in front of Rosestrudel in downtown Custer, I had just one thing on my mind. Dessert. So what if it was only 11am and I hadn’t eaten lunch – I was going straight for the good stuff. I walked through the door of the quaintly decorated shop, and Rose Marie greeted me with her usual, cheerful smile.rosestrudel dessert parlor

Rose Marie Koehler spent sixteen years in the restaurant business in Custer before opening her Dessert Parlor on Mt. Rushmore Road last April. In fact, she’s spent most of her life in the hospitality industry – which is evident. Her knack for providing top-notch customer service shines through every time someone enters her business. She confesses that she’s had a sweet tooth since she was a kid, so going into the dessert business seemed like a perfect fit.

Not only did Rose spend sixteen years in the restaurant biz, she spent those years perfecting and serving a popular dessert that has found fame throughout the Black Hills. Her apple strudel has been savored by thousands of visitors and locals in Custer over the years. In addition, Vertex (atop the Alex Johnson in Rapid City) and the Lodge at Deadwood have served this delicious pastry.

There’s nothing ordinary about this strudel. Once you’ve tried it, it’s likely that you’ll vow to never eat boring apple pie again. The outside is crisp, sweet and flaky and the hearty filling is bursting with yummy apples and cinnamon.

Aside from strudel,  there are a number of decadent sweets to choose from at Rosestrudel. But if you’re one of those people who have a hard time making decisions, plan on giving yourself an extra few minutes. The dessert case is loaded with homemade treats, including lemon bars, cake, cookies, tarts, pinwheels, and truffles. And don’t overlook some of Rose Marie’s more unique items, such as mango cake, banana-coconut pie and watermelon candy. Did I mention that it’s homemade? Yeah – all of it.

RoseStrudel Collage



I scanned the cookies in the dessert case and decided on gingersnaps. Keeping with the cookie theme, Rose Marie suggested that I try an Oreo truffle. I’m not one to turn down good advice, so in addition to the cookies (and a lemon bar – and some strudel) I took home a truffle (or two). You’ve probably guessed by now, I have no self-control.

I left Rosestrudel knowing full well that those cookies would not survive the trip home. As I
shifted my car into drive, I reached into the bag of treats in search of a gingersnap. I munched happily as I drove and found myself smiling at a memory from my childhood. Gingersnaps dunked in lemonade. What? It was a picnic. Nobody takes milk to a picnic.

At home, I stashed my other goodies in the refrigerator and told myself they were for another day. Thirty minutes later, I was standing in my kitchen, holding a truffle, wondering if it was it the peanut butter or the Oreo? I don’t believe it’s healthy to have too much suspense in your life, so I took a bite. (This is the part where I fell in love a little). OMG and YUM! Oreos for grownups!

A couple hours ago, my husband came home from work and opened the refrigerator, where he discovered the half-eaten, peach strudel and the lemon bar with a bite out of it. “Hey, what’s this? You bought treats without me?”

Uh-oh. Busted. “Oh, those are from Rosestrudel. I had a little bite of each, but didn’t want to ruin my diet; you can have them if you want.”

He didn’t hesitate to grab a fork and dig in. “This is really good. You should go there more often.”

Oh, I will. I thought to myself. But next time, I’ll do a better job of hiding my leftovers.

PS: He still doesn’t know about the cookies and truffles … don’t tell!

 -Ann Morrow June 2016
Rosestrudel is in Downtown Custer, South Dakota between
1881 Courthouse Museum and Black Hills Burger & Bun.
Summer hours are 11am to 8pm, Tuesday thru Sunday.
Yes! She’s open year-round

Be sure to check out the Lunch Specials