LECOMPTON, Kan. (WIBW) The birthplace of the Civil War and the home of Kansas’ first Territorial Capital.
While the history in this small town is certainly rich, so are the desserts at Aunt Netter's Cafe.
There are a lot of things that make this little cafe in Lecompton unique. Located about a block away from the historic Constitution Hall, their clientele is certainly one of them.
“To see a table full of people dressed in 1800’s garb is pretty normal,” said Jamin Nally.
The Nallys, Jamin and Annette own Aunt Netter's Cafe.
What might not be so normal is the emphasis they put on their sweet treats -- it's something Jamin says runs in the family.
“She loved her popcorn and she loved her ice cream, so every day she ate dessert first.”
Nally says the words, and actions of his grandmother are behind the diner’s “Life is short, eat dessert first” motto, and there’s always plenty of homemade cupcakes, pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls to go around for whoever wants to keep that tradition going.
Aunt Netter’s Cafe has been a staple in Lecompton for nearly four years, but the story of how this all started goes back even farther...and with one special little girl.
“We always called her a choco-holic. She’d be out here all the time wanting to eat the cupcakes,” said Erica Souter.
Long before the Aunt Netter's sign was up along Elmont Street, a young lady by the name of Jayden Souter loved nothing more than to visit her Uncle Jamin and Aunt Annette on days cupcakes and other sweet treats were being made.
Unfortunately, in 2009, trips to the Nally’s were replaced with trips to a place no parent wants to have to take their child.
“They thought it was a hernia, so they scheduled to remove the hernia, and then we found out it was actually a tumor,” according to Jayden's mother Erica.
It was a rare Wilms Tumor and the beginning of more than a two year battle that "Baby Jay" would not win. She passed away in 2011, just days after her 5th birthday.
“I know she’s always watching down over Annette, she loved Annette very much,” said Erica, who is also Annette's sister.
Baby Jay’s affectionate use of “Aunt Net” gave the Nally’s a name for their budding pastry business, they just didn’t know it at the time.
Aunt Netter’s was up and running about a year after Jayden passed away. Jamin and Annette started cranking out cupcakes from their home kitchen as a way to raise money for the then newly formed “Baby Jays Legacy of Hope” foundation.
What started out as a couple batches turned into a list of orders the Nally’s just couldn’t keep up, giving way to Aunt Netter’s *Cafe* in June 2014.
“Everyone that knows me knows that I’m not the baker,” said Jamin.
That’s Annette’s job, who also happens to be a full-time teacher. Meaning she has to get creative in the school year when it comes to finding time to bake.
She bakes in the "afternoons, evenings, weekends, early mornings, whatever it takes and whenever we have free time,” says Jamin.
While Aunt Netter’s is known for their sweets, Jamin says their breakfast and lunch offerings are far from what you might expect from a small town cafe.
“Like our Philly bowl. It’s steak, peppers, onions, artisan beer cheese on top of fried potatoes and an egg. Pretty much what you’d want to have for breakfast all at once.”
And a few selections that will get your attention in other ways.
“Lately, we do a lot of spicy stuff. Ghost pepper cheese, Carolina reaper sauce on things, and people have been embracing that very much.”
Aunt Netter's is open from 6am to 2pm every day except Friday, when they are open from 6am to 7pm. They are located at 336 Elmore St, Lecompton, KS 66050.