Imagine waiting for that big call from a university football coach, calling you up to play for USD. Most of us would naturally think he was representing the University of South Dakota. But if you happen to be living in California, the University of San Diego might come to mind. And so begins the journey of today’s Across the Table Guest.

Ashley Thompson recently sat down with Augustana Universit’s Dean of Students, Mark Blackburn, at JJ’s Wine, Spirits and Cigars to find out exactly how a California coast guy ended up in the land-locked Midwest.

Ashley Thompson and Mark Blackburn at JJ's Wine, Spirits & Cigars
Ashley Thompson and Mark Blackburn at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars

At JJ’s they like to say they provide “an enhanced adult beverage experience” and we think that’s just perfect to sum up the great food and drink and the great people you’ll run into at JJ’s Wine, Spirits and Cigars.

They’re located at 3000 West 57th Street in Sioux Falls. You can find out more about their specials and events, but checking out their website at

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars is pleased to be hosting “Cocktails for A Cause” for the second year in a row. On Saturday, April 30th, at JJ’s Event Room, they will be guiding you through three craft cocktails. The event is designed to raise funds and awareness for Breathe Bravely and Cystic Fibrosis. Tickets are available online at

Get to know other interesting people from around KELOLAND by checking out some of our other Across the Table segments!

Across the Table with Seth Pearman

Across the Table with Beth Ormseth

Across the Table with Becka Burger

Across the Table with Nancy and Bruce Halverson

Across the table with Lindsay Harris

Across the Table with Jon Thum

Across the Table with Dr. Charles Chima

Across the Table with April Meyerink

Across the Table with Tom Slattery

Across the Table with Brad Palmer

Across the Table with Sue Aguilar

Across the Table with Darrin Smith

Across the Table with Sheila Hazard