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Kelly and Elizabeth Kemnitz greet guests to the MoRest Motel. Photo taken by Bernie Hunhoff in 2009.
Kelly and Elizabeth Kemnitz greet guests to the MoRest Motel. Photo taken by Bernie Hunhoff in 2009.

MoRest in Mobridge

Editor’s Note: This story is revised from the March/April 2009 issue of South Dakota Magazine. To order a copy or to subscribe, call 800-456-5117.

A few years ago, Kelly Kemnitz and her husband, Brent, moved back to their hometown of Mobridge to run the MoRest Motel. The 27-room, 1950s vintage motel was more than a piece of property to Kelly. Her parents, Denny and Glenda Palmer, owned the motel for over 25 years; Kelly and her brother were raised there. “People who stay at the motel remember me as a little kid,” she says.

The Kemnitz family, which includes four children, Michael, Jeffrey, Kathryn and Elizabeth, live in a three bedroom house attached to the motel. Brent has a degree in landscape design and managed a garden center before the Mobridge move. During the spring and summer months the family didn’t see much of him. Now he and Kelly work together every day. “It’s a mixture of running a motel and caring for family,” says Kelly.

They open the office each day at 8 a.m. Most of the motel cleaning is done by employees, but the Kemnitzes wash all the linens themselves except for the sheets, which are sent out. “Every day is different,” Kelly says. “If there’s been a group who’s been here for a while with all the bedspreads, blankets and towels I’ll be washing all day.” Brent also operates MoPro Walleye Guide Service. That’s no chore for him since he loves to fish. He’s out fishing as soon as the ice starts breaking up,” Kelly says. Brent doesn’t have to go far. They can see Lake Oahe from the kitchen window.

Their customers come from South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska to fish. Many have been coming for years. “We usually know most of the people who stay at the motel,” Kelly says. Some evenings the Kemnitzes and their guests gather to talk about the ones that got away and cook the ones that didn’t. Here is Kelly’s recipe.

Kelly’s Pan Fried Walleye

Walleye filets
Eggs, beaten
Boxed potato buds
Seasoned salt
Vegetable oil

Rinse walleye filets in water. Dip fish into flour, then eggs, then potato buds. Fry in oil until golden brown. Season generously with seasoned salt. Serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or both.


08:04 am - Tue, June 19 2012
I stayed with Denny and Glenda a number of nights....I think of them often...I'm so glad their daughter is now "in charge"...Denny...I think of you often and sure miss our "on air" visits...RIP my friend....
Oh...and Bernie....I think one time Denny and Glenda had sent some Walleye's back with you for me....You were to drop them off for me when you went through Brookings. I NEVER got them !!!!!! Are they still in YOUR freezer? Man would they have tasted good with this recipe.
08:08 am - Fri, September 28 2018
Peter Newcomb said:
I have been visiting First with Denny and Glenda then with Brent and Kelly and family for close to 25years. I have not only watched as the family has grown but also how Brent and family have have transitioned so smoothly into the tremendous hosts that they are. I look forward to my trips to Mobridge as I think of the Family as my own. One day I even hope to beat the girls in a game of HORSE, but I don't know if that is possible!! The fantastic fishing takes a back seat to the Fantastic family ! I also miss my hour plus BS sessions with Denny on the phone but Brent has filled in well. I will always remember how Den would reluctantly take his 1st piece of freshly fried fish saying he had just had supper. A dozen or so pieces and a few beverages later he was still at it. Brent has carried that tradition on as well! You will be hard pressed to find a better place to stay and run by such a fine family.
06:34 pm - Mon, December 3 2018
Heather Clapsaddle Carlson said:
Great memories! My Grandparents owned the motel back in the 60’s. Mobridge memories are sweet. 😁

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