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Lynnelle Johnson is fullfilling a lifelong dream of owning a restaurant, a smoker part of the kitchen equipment. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Sportsman's Café opens in Menahga

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Hungry hunters - and all with a craving for the homemade - have a new dining destination in Menahga.

Lynnelle Johnson and fiancé Jim Rittmiller have opened L&J Sportsman's Café on Main, satisfying appetites and Johnson's lifelong ambition.

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Johnson has had her "nose in the cookbook" since she was a child, frying bologna and cheese when she was 8.

When she and Rittmiller decided to make the move north, she strolled about Menahga looking for a possible venue for her ambitions.

"This is a nice size and the perfect location," she said. They opened the eatery in July, her choices having expanded since her original culinary escapades in the kitchen.

Recipes now serve as mere inspiration, for the "fresh and homemade" entrées in the restaurant - "the best food I can make."

That includes homemade soups, with mojakka served daily, burgers, sandwiches and sides. A smoker in the kitchen prepares ribs and chicken, beef brisket and turkey.

Hot sandwiches include pulled pork, BBQ beef brisket, the "not-for-the-faint-of-heart" Sportsman's Club and chicken ranch quesadilla.

Hamburgers, some named after the couple's kids, are earning customer kudos.

"It's a small menu, to keep it fresh and homemade," she said. Nutrition levels factor into her menu choices.

"I love hearing people say mmmmm," Johnson said.

The kitchen crew includes Brock MarJanen and Lisa Pettit.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday but will be opening at 5 a.m. to accommodate hunters Saturday through Monday, Nov. 5-7 and the next two weekends. A breakfast buffet will be served from 5 to 10 a.m. with sack lunches available for take-out.

The restaurant will also open before 11 a.m. to accommodate meetings.

Call ahead orders are welcome, 564-5590.

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