- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
By Rosemary McCoy
Jenna Aukerman is crafting her ideal job.
Sioux Falls Food Tours combines her loves of great food and drink, being a tour guide and supporting local businesses.
“I really want people to be aware of what’s available in Sioux Falls,” she said. “If you know where to go, you can get really awesome food, and the money stays here.”
Aukerman has created three downtown walking tours and is working on others.
Insider’s Guide to Good Eats is a two-hour tour that visits several restaurants and includes two tastings for $15. Taste of Downtown is a more extensive 3 ½-hour tour with four to six stops for $55. Brewer’s Row is a 2 1/2 –hour tour of at least four breweries, with half-size pours at each stop for $25.
Participants are welcome to make additional purchases at the restaurants, but on the longer tour, “you don’t leave hungry on that one.”
She started the tours in June. An outing one Saturday started with coffee at Coffea Roasterie and croissants at CH Patisserie. The group shared brunch dishes at M.B. Haskett, sampled the buffet at Sanaa’s 8th Street Gourmet and finished with ice cream sandwiches at Queen City Bakery. She plans to rotate the restaurants on the tours because “I want to try to support as many as I can.”
While eating great food is the highlight, “the stops offer a more in-depth look than if they went on their own,” Aukerman said. The owner of Monks House of Ale Repute, for example, talked to one tour group about craft beer for a half-hour. She’s doing research on the buildings and the history of downtown Sioux Falls, so she can share those stories, too.
She wants the tours to appeal to both visitors and locals, and she’s willing to put together private outings for groups. Aukerman will keep the groups to fewer than 15 people.
Her love for travel started when her grandmother took her and a cousin on a trip to Italy when she was 16. She graduated with a business degree from Augustana College in 2007 and is a co-founder of Coffea, which is how she discovered her passion for supporting local chefs and businesses. After stepping away from the day-to-day operation of Coffea and moving to Montana, she started working as a certified tour director, leading people on tips through the Grand Canyon and other national parks.
She and her husband eventually moved back to Sioux Falls, and last summer she started writing a blog about her favorite food spots. That led to the idea of helping people discover what’s going on in the city’s exploding culinary scene.
“I want to open people’s eyes to that whether that’s through the writing or the tours.”
Aukerman is working on several other tours, including a morning stroll of cafes and bakeries, adventure into global flavors and one that features wine, cheese and chocolate.
She knows she’ll need to keep finessing the tours when winter comes and walking downtown becomes less inviting.
Find the dates of upcoming tours and her blog on her website, siouxfallsfoodtours.com.
Sioux Falls Food Tours combines Jenna Aukerman’s loves of great food and drink, being a tour guide and supporting local businesses.