ATLANTA -- With fall officially here, Souper Jenny is heading into its busy season.
15 years after opening her business, Jenny Levison, the proprietor of Souper Jenny is still serving her hearty soups, which she likes to describe as "peasant style."
Two and a half years ago, the 47-year-old restaurateur opened Cafe Jonah, named after her son. Healthy breakfasts and lunches are on the menu in a space that's designed to be as cozy as possible.
"I was trying to create an old school coffeehouse," Levison said.
Just last week, she opened Juicy Jenny, a brand new juice bar.
Over breakfast, we dished about her trifecta of restaurants in a popular pocket of Buckhead.
"All of this was within my vision," she said when talking about her three restaurants, two self-published cookbooks and 12 appearances on the 10 a.m. hour of the Today Show.
But obviously, with each restaurant, she's learned that she can't do it all.
"For many years I wanted to do everything myself -- and if you're at the stove cooking 13 hours a day, trying to still write the checks to people, repair everything, it's not possible," she explained. "If you're a true leader and entrepreneur, you have to take the leap and delegate. I'm learning, it's a process."
Back in 1999, her original inspiration came during an 18-month global adventure.
"I wanted to see the world and see how people cooked in other countries, and not just chefs in restaurants," she said.
What she took away from those home kitchens is how soup unites people all corners of the planet.
"Every country I went to that was a food that the family all sort of gathered around the table," she said.
Levison thought she could create a niche for herself back home in Atlanta. After all, it was quite the hit in New York City on the popular NBC program "Seinfeld."
"We had lots of people commenting on the Soup Nazi, because we were so opposite that," Levison said with a smile. She prefers to connect with another once-popular program.
"It's kind of like the 'Cheers' of the soup world," she said. "I want you to feel like you're in your home."
In fact, her dad's recipe has been on the menu from day one, while at the same time, her personal recipes are always evolving.
For those dreaming of taking something made at home, and making it for the masses, Levison has some advice.
"It's never too late. If you see something that you really think will work in the marketplace, find a mentor you can talk to, you're going to have to leap," she said. "I'm just a regular person like everyone else. It's possible."
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