Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Take Five: An Interview with Bernie Hunhoff

Bernie Hunhoff started the magazine in 1985 after working in the newspaper business in South Dakota. He has been stuck on gumbo trails in Lyman County, been hissed at by rattlers at Porcupine and forced to eat everything from lutefisk to roast goat. It's all part of the job of publishing South Dakota Magazine.

What do you like most about publishing South Dakota Magazine?
Working with a group of people who want to give South Dakota one of the best magazines in the world. We always think we can do better, but we share that goal and we believe we are always improving. And we consider all our 150,000 readers to be part of that team — the readers give us story ideas, feedback, etc., and of course their subscription support makes it all possible.

Where do you get inspiration?
Just about anywhere but the bottle. I like beer but it puts me to sleep. Every time I have an opportunity to explore our state I feel very fortunate to live in a place that has both diversity of land and cultures, but also where the people feel a close bond. We like to joke that East River is different than West River, but we're all proud of Crazy Horse, the Missouri River, pheasants and the Jackrabbit women's basketball team.

What is your favorite spring activity?
Spring's a great season. I look forward to getting a garden planted out behind the magazine office. Watching for the first pasque flowers on a hill on our farm that is still in native grass and wildflowers. Getting our sailboat out on Lewis and Clark Lake. Or just driving across South Dakota and seeing the baby calves, the ponds full of ducks and geese, and the way farm country comes alive.

If you could interview any South Dakota character from the past, who would that be?
Anyone who knows our state's history would surely rank Peter Norbeck as our most interesting and impressive character. He was a very progressive Republican governor and U.S. senator who did more to shape our history than all the rest of our governors combined. He was a rough-talking, burly well-driller by profession and he probably wouldn't have been able to win a county commission seat in today's political world but he was an amazing leader.

What is your favorite eatery, restaurant or pub in South Dakota?
Now you're really putting me on the spot. I just had a tasty bison-loaf sandwich at Buffaloberries on Phillips in downtown Sioux Falls — a great little place with healthy South Dakota foods. It's run by three generations of the Johnson family. But I'm not fussy. I like the hot beef sandwiches at the Fort Pierre Livestock Auction Barn cafe. Mad Mary's in Pierre is a great little steakhouse. Emily's in Beresford has the best omelets, plus Emily sells a lot of magazines to her customers so I'm a little partial perhaps. The best fish fries are served in a little Czech country bar and cafe known as Joe's Substation, midway between Utica and Lesterville in Yankton County.

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