Sioux Falls Dive Bar Tour: Jono’s
Another week, another dive bar. My friends Christy, Dusti and I have the self-assigned task of finding the best dive bars in Sioux Falls. Our first stop was the Top Hat Bar in downtown Sioux Falls. You can read about that adventure here. Our second dive bar experience was at Jono's at 1700 West Burnside in Sioux Falls.
The current Jono’s location was once the popular Lee's Café. Jon Bot bought the restaurant in 1990 and sold it to Joe and Renee Sefrna in 2007. Jon Bot is somewhat of a legend in Sioux Falls. He’s a well-known restaurateur and has been involved with several bars and restaurants in the Sioux Falls area including his most recent, Botski’s on South Sycamore.
In 1992, Jono Fest, an outdoor celebration with live music from several local bands, was started to raise money for various causes. After a long hiatus, the event was resurrected last month and held at the American Legion, Jono’s neighbor, to raise money for the guy who started the event. Jon Bot is battling a rare form of blood cancer and is currently receiving treatment. Our thoughts are with Jon and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.
So, that's the story behind this dive bar. Now, on to the tour of Jono's. It's exactly what you think a dive bar will look like. Several regulars were sitting at the bar having their usual. Many of the tables were full with people enjoying a cold one after work. We joined a table that included regulars Merri, Yvonne, Marilyn, Amy, Chris, Lurch, Jeff, Lynn, Loren, Nettie and Ashlea. Christy and I were probably the only two in the place who had never been there before (except for a brief stop on the patio one night). It's definitely a locals bar. But, that doesn't mean they don't welcome everyone. If you're in the area for an event at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, I would encourage you to stop in for a drink or some food.
Boomer was our bartender and although it's hard to get the guy to smile, he got the drink orders right and enjoys his job. He's been at Jono's for 8 year. Jared was the cook and can make a mean cheeseburger. As a matter of fact, the burgers are 1/2 pound burgers and are cheap. Jono's has a big menu for a dive bar. There are several different sandwich choices, shrimp, chicken strips, chislic and a variety of deep fried appetizers. Every weekday there is a different daily lunch special from a roast beef dinner to tuna noodle casserole. We wanted to try the chislic because it was recently voted one of the best in Sioux Falls, but they were sold out.
Jared also did double duty as the bartender and helped out with drink orders. I asked him what the drink of choice was for Jono's regulars and it was a simple - Bud Light. Jono's doesn't serve liquor, but most of the regulars at this Sioux Falls dive bar are beer drinkers.
Aside from a few neon bar signs and other alcohol-related decor, the bar is pretty plain, nothing fancy - it doesn't need it. It's a bar with cheap beer, the reason most people choose Jono's. You can buy a $25 punch card and get 11 beers. Saturday and Sunday there is a two-fer special, plus they have other happy hour specials during the week.
Our next stop - the Silver Moon.
You can see all the dive bars we visit by clicking here.