New restaurant brings soul food to Lennox



Rural South Dakota is probably the last place many would expect to find a soul food restaurant, but Lennox is now the home of just such a restaurant — Auntie J’s American Soul Food. The menu is one full of different items residents likely haven’t tried, with the number one item not tried yet being collard greens. Owner Joni Williamson happened to stumble across this opportunity, even though she wasn’t looking to start a restaurant with two small children at home whom she homeschools.

Williamson has been married 20 years and has five children ranging in age from 26 to 4. The mother of five has always dreamed of running her own restaurant one day and over the years has written down her ideas in a journal of what she would do if the opportunity ever presented itself. And it has!

So with that Williamson has taken off with her dream. She has a rotating menu, with different options that will come back around at some point. There are different options each day including different meat and pasta options.

One special item that is a must try are Williamson’s homemade rolls. Williamson said, “I have been making the same recipe since I was little from a cookbook my dad gave me.”

She had created many different variations of that same recipe, but it is always the same base recipe.

If you visit the restaurant, you are sure to find a cure for your sweet tooth as well. Williamson is known for creating different sweet cakes and treats. She enjoys making cakes with different alcohols baked in. Most recently she made a Genius chocolate cake that was a huge hit. She also provides other non-alcoholic deserts as well.

You are sure to find an option that is worth trying at Auntie J’s American Soul Food when you stop in.

Soul food might be the business and reason we all get to know Joni Williamson to start with, but it is surely not the only reason Lennox, South Dakota residents will remember her. Williamson has big plans as she continues to run her restaurant and provide a new type of food for local patrons. She is looking to help local residents by providing a space for them to come and enjoy themselves. Williamson would like to offer those who would like to have activities like bingo and coffee the space. Williamson also hosts homeschooling events for her two younger children and other homeschooled children. The last event was held for St. Patrick’s Day in which they learned all about the holiday.


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