Sugar Shack in Deadwood, South Dakota

Eric Faust / Heavy Table
Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The ceiling and walls are adorned with enough Dale Ernhardt Jr. paraphernalia to make you dizzy, and a Jiffy Pop container hangs on the wall with the words “Bubba’s Red Neck Fire Alarm” penned below it. This is a hole-in-the-wall eatery that celebrates NASCAR and burgers.

“You need anything else? A chainsaw maybe?” says Kathie Valdez at the Sugar Shack as she hands over a sugar burger ($6.79). Located on the border of Lawerence and Pennington counties, the Sugar Shack claims to have the best burgers in the Black Hills. Valdez says: ‚ÄúThere is no sugar in the meat — it’s named the ‘sugar burger’ for the sweet onions that are fried and put on top.”

Eric Faust / Heavy Table
Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The massive greasy burger is sweet, with cheese melted on top — it rivals the Paul Molitor burger at The Nook or a Juicy Blucy at the Blue Door. The patty is wide rather than thick; it sticks out over the edge of the bun all the way around so that you never have to take a bite of bread without the burger. Current owner Kerri “Bubba” Johnston has changed the recipe slightly since it first opened — all of the employees agree that the current recipe is the best it has ever been.

The Sugar Shack is open year round for the constant flow of regulars and tourists who are in the area to see Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse. Fries are available for $1 and the sugar burger can become a deluxe for $0.75 more, which adds pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

Sugar Shack
22495 US Highway 385
Deadwood, SD 57732
OWNER: Kerri “Bubba” Johnston
Summer: 7am-8pm daily
Winter: 7am-8pm Tue-Sun
BAR: Bottled beers


  1. Kerri (Bubba) Johnston

    Could you please change my name in your article. My name is spelled Kerri and my last name is Johnston. Thank you very much for putting us out there. Bubba Johnston

  2. Bubba Johnston

    Thank You for fixing my name. The only thing is that Kerri is still spelled wrong. Also, was this written up in a magazine. If it was could you please send me a copy. Thank You, Bubba Johnston

  3. Aaron Landry

    I just got the other error fixed. Please accept my apologies.

    I sent you an email to follow-up; if you did not receive it feel free to reply here.

  4. Shannon Britt

    We were recommended by a friend to stop here for “the best burgers in SD”. They were not kidding! Our food was FANTASTIC! I don’t think I ever had a better burger. My husband is still bragging (since Sept) about the Kraut burger he had!

  5. Robert Aske

    Sugar Shack is one of our favorite and must go to eating places. We really enjoy the great and friendly staff, the “decor”, and of course the great food. Our favorite is the “Bubba” Burger with fries. And don’t forget their all you can eat ribs on Friday night.

  6. Katherine

    Oh my good golly gosh. I went to SD a few years ago and this place was recommended to us so many times… we finally broke down and went, and it CHANGED MY LIFE. I tried to recreate the sugar burger at home, but it just wasn’t the same! So yummy!

  7. The Shields

    We were touring the Badlands a few years back and happened upon the Sugar Shack. We were hungry so stopped. Best meal the whole trip. I can’t wait to go back this summer.

  8. Buffy

    We have been to Deadwood about 20 times over the last 20 years and how in the heck did we miss this place??? Well….you can bet we won’t miss it next time! Mmmmmm..I am already looking forward to it! Bubba here we come!



  10. Amy

    I live in South Dakota, we ride here all summer long JUST for the burgers, they are the BEST ever. And great patio for eating and drinking a beer. I love this place.

  11. J Latimer

    I have visited the Sugar Shack once during a bike week trip, several years ago. I would like to go again this year as my wife and I really enjoyed our meal and the environment. Is it possible that you can provide directions from Sturgis SD to the Sugar Shack ? Will greatly appreciate your response as we plan this years trip to Sturgis Bike Week. Thanks, John

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