Whimsical and cozy, the Junction invites its guests to stay.
Owner Mary Bonen is constantly moving, cooking, and prepping, but still never misses the chance to greet everyone who comes through her doors. Free samples and comfy couches contribute to the friendly, at-home atmosphere, but it’s really the food that keeps customers coming back. With every-day regulars at places like Avera and Sanford, car dealerships and hotels around town, the Junction has slowly but surely made a name for itself in Aberdeen.
The food company began as a daycare catering service over a year ago and quickly gained speed. “It’s always been really important to me what my kids eat,” Bonen explains. “We were delivering to fourteen different daycares and then adults started asking for lunch, too.” The Junction progressed to a food truck and then eventually moved into the location they now call home, on North Main Street. Bonen has been cooking for about seven years, but it was her background in nutrition that moved her to develop the company. “I wanted to give people a healthy option without the higher price tag,” she says. This combination of health and convenience inspired the name “Junction” and the unique variety of food they offer.
In addition to using only fresh ingredients, the Junction works closely with essential oils to create their wholesome menu. Ninety percent of the food served at the Junction is infused with essential oils from the Oil Room. Not only is this a natural and healthy way to spice up dishes, but it also allows consumers to benefit from all of the healing qualities associated with oils. According to Bonen, the mutual support between the two companies has been essential to the success of each.
An average menu at the Junction could include anything from street tacos to pork enchiladas to a hamburger combo. Their best seller, spicy crab rolls, are made every day, though they usually sell out before 10:oo AM. if they aren’t the feature menu item. Though the menu changes weekly, the quality of the food remains constant. “The only thing we don’t make homemade is ketchup and mustard,” Bonen laughs. “The shells, the sauce, the cheese… it’s all homemade.” As winter rolls in, the Junction will offer seasonal soups, stews, and desserts, including pheasant and knoepfla soup.
Free delivery is an essential part of the Junction’s business plan because they do want to get their food to as many people as possible. Much of their delivery business is to those who cannot leave their homes but still want a healthy option, like the elderly or sick, for example. The Junction goes a step further by giving out free meals to low-income families on Thanksgiving and Christmas. “We just want to make people happy with our food,” Bonen says. “We don’t want anyone excluded from that.”
With an adjustment to hours in late September, the Junction is now open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Monday through Saturday. This, along with more tables inside, encourages guests to sit down and eat their meals inside, something that was not possible before. Other changes in the future include additional seating in front of the store once the snow melts, and hopefully, a “cold prep bar”, in which customers can prepare their own freezer meals at the store to take home and eat later. Bonen would also love to work with schools someday in order to provide healthier lunch options for students in the area.
Right now, Bonen is focused on providing healthy food to as many people as possible. “I want to show people that good food isn’t gross and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be good and cheap.” For more information and to view a current menu, visit their Facebook page or stop by their store. // – Erin Ballard