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  • Lincoln, Nebraska

    Post #1 - May 19th, 2008, 11:51 am
    Post #1 - May 19th, 2008, 11:51 am Post #1 - May 19th, 2008, 11:51 am
    Took a short trip to Lincoln Nebraska over the weekend. No runzas, but did have a couple of nice meals.

    Dinner was at Venue. It's a beautiful space (in a strip mall, of course), and they offer wine flights. I ordered the chop chop entree salad -- a lot of salad with 3 3-inch crab cakes. The salad was flavorful, with a spicy dressing, and it included corn relish, avocado, and cheese. The crab cakes were good, but not great -- not much in the way of lump crab meat. More like shredded crab meat. People who ordered steaks said they were good, and especially liked the side order of scalloped potatoes. The double-baked potatoes were unusual: instead of the typical boat shape, there were 3 much smaller white potatoes, sitting on end, in the portion. Blackened tilapia was well executed with tasty cheddar mashed potatoes. The pecan bleu salad was also pretty good: it was full of chunks of grilled chicken, sweetened pecans, dried cranberries, apples and bleu cheese. Prices ranged widely -- entree salads were about $10, while the steaks and halibut were $30 or more.

    On Saturday morning we had brunch at Green Gateau. We sat outside, which would have been nicer had it not been on a pretty busy street with loud traffic noise. Nonetheless, the brunch was enjoyable. Two of the group had strawberry stuffed french toast -- a LOT of food with really good strawberry foam in between two pieces of thick brioche toast. The bacon served was extra thick. I had a good bacon and asparagus quiche. The quiche was pretty firm -- not the silky smooth quiche that I prefer.

    The home town favorite pizza apparently is Valentino's. Meh.

    On a disappointing note, we stopped at the Landmark Restaurant in Williamsburg Iowa (across from the outlet mall). I remembered them having a really good pork tenderloin sandwich from about 12 years ago. Now it's a pretty commercial offering -- certainly nothing to write home about.
  • Post #2 - October 26th, 2011, 9:27 am
    Post #2 - October 26th, 2011, 9:27 am Post #2 - October 26th, 2011, 9:27 am
    Some college buddies and I are going to the NU/NE game on 11/5/11. We are staying in Omaha Friday and then Lincoln on Saturday. We are coming back Sunday.

    I have searched the board and found some recommendations, but they all seem to be from 2008. I was wondering if anybody had any current thoughts.

    I also did a review using the web and came up with:

    Farmer’s Kitchen – Atlantic, IA – looks like a good breakfast stop on the way

    Big Mama’s Kitchen – Omaha, NE – was on DDD

    Joe Tess’ Place – Omaha, NE – DDD and

    Johnny’s Café – Omaha, NE

    We figure that Saturday night in Lincoln after a football game would be crazy to even try to schedule something in advance. NU is having a pre-game tail gate, so we are not sure how hungry we will be. Probably find a bar (I have a list) and go for a burger and brew. I imagine the bars will be pretty busy so we will just have to see how things are when we get there.

    Any thoughts?
  • Post #3 - October 26th, 2011, 12:53 pm
    Post #3 - October 26th, 2011, 12:53 pm Post #3 - October 26th, 2011, 12:53 pm
    The area between Des Moines and Council Bluffs is sparsely populated with cafes and bars that are open for SHORT HOURS. They are not convenient for the traveler who doesn't call ahead.

    Rusty Duck in Dexter won an award for Best Burger in Iowa from the Iowa Cattlemen in 2010. The award winning burger is made from steak trimmings and premium cuts. It sells out soon after they open the kitchen at five. The tenderloin was an honorable mention from the IPPA in 2011, there is an online review where some guy complains it is too thick and juicy. I have never been i Dexter after five, but made some outside pics for a future visit:

    Menlo Cafe in Menlo: specialty is the butterscotch pie, closes at two in the afternoon from tuesday to saturday.

    Susie's Kitchen in Stanton has been featured in Roadfood and The Splendid Table radio show, as well as The Iowan Magazine. It also closes at two from tuesday to saturday:
    Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Jam:
    Tenderloin Breaded, then grilled for white exterior:

    Rusty Duck
    723 Marshall Street
    Dexter, IA 50070-1031
    (515) 789-4142

    Menlo Cafe
    502 Sherman Street
    Menlo, IA 50164-1027
    (641) 524-2871

    Susie's Kitchen
    404 Broad Avenue
    Stanton, IA 51573
    (712) 829-2947
  • Post #4 - October 28th, 2011, 8:52 am
    Post #4 - October 28th, 2011, 8:52 am Post #4 - October 28th, 2011, 8:52 am
    I just *love* the Bohemian Cafe in Omaha.

    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #5 - October 29th, 2011, 12:24 am
    Post #5 - October 29th, 2011, 12:24 am Post #5 - October 29th, 2011, 12:24 am
    Geo wrote:I just *love* the Bohemian Cafe in Omaha.


    I have been there a couple of times. Good food. Very filling. Good service. Just don't drop the dumplings on your feet.
  • Post #6 - November 8th, 2011, 7:51 am
    Post #6 - November 8th, 2011, 7:51 am Post #6 - November 8th, 2011, 7:51 am

    Well we made the trip on 11/4, left about 5 AM and stopped at the Hamburg Inn in Iowa City for breakfast.

    This is a small restaurant and it was surprisingly full on a Friday morning at 9. A nice selection of breakfast offerings and cheap. I had biscuits and gravy. I got two decent size, home made biscuits and gravy for $1.99. I thought the biscuits were very good. The sausage gravy was good, not great. My friend had eggs, ham and toast. He said they were very good. I took a slice of homemade chocolate, bourbon, pecan pie to go. I had it later and it was excellent.

    We then went 2 blocks to John’s Grocery. Wow. If you are a beer guy/geek/snob as we are, well you got to check this place out. It is like beer nirvana. It looks like a small town grocery store, but the web site does not do it justice. We felt there should be harps and angels as we crossed the threshold into their beer room. I bought a Belgium quad and Polish mead. My friend bought a couple of rauchbiers and a selection of individual bottles.

    We stopped at the Menlo café for lunch. I had the pork tenderloin and he had the ham salad sandwich with cucumber salad. This was a big piece of meat with a real good breading, one of the best I have ever had. My friend said his definitely was homemade and fresh along with the salad. Even though this town looks like it has a population of 45 people, this was a very good stop.

    We had dinner at the Bohemian Café. This place serves traditional Czech food. Since it had got some recommendations, we were very disappointed. At the waiter’s recommendation I had chicken fried steak, Czech dumplings, and sauerkraut. My buddy had the roast beef with the same sides. The dinners came with a very nice rye bread basket and soup. The bread and the soup were the best part of the meal. We both agreed the dumplings were awful. I thought the chicken fried steak was mostly breading (a not very good breading) and not very much meat. The roast beef was rated as only OK by my friend.

    Bohemian café gets thumbs down.


    We had breakfast at the hotel and lunch at the Northwestern Tailgate. The Alumni association put on a good one. The seats were high up, but the football team pulled out the upset and we were happy. I couldn’t believe how friendly the Nebraska fans were.

    That night we were in the downtown area of Lincoln along with maybe 50,000 other fans. It was tough to get a drink and anything to eat. We didn’t want to use the car if we didn’t have to. This was a mistake. I read that Nebraska has sold out every home game since ’62. One would think the restaurants and bars around the stadium would have been better prepared. Everyone was crowded.

    We wound up at Buzzard Billy’s a Cajun place; it had what appeared to be a shorter wait. We waited about 25 minutes to get seated at about 6:30. The waitress took our order and then we sat there for 45 minutes. I am not sure but we both guessed it was about that long. I complained and they said the kitchen was backed up and everyone was waiting for their food. This looked to be true. I have been in crowded situations and restaurants before, but this place appeared to be unprepared.

    We were about to leave, I was actually out the door when the food came. I was so upset I don’t think I could be fair about the food. My buddy remarked that he thought the food was decent.

    We finished the night at Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill. It had a nice beer selection, and even with us wearing purple, we were treated well.


    For breakfast we had heard that Green Gatteau had a Sunday brunch and I remembered I had seen a recommendation on it, so we went there. We found out that our definition of a brunch was not what they thought. I guess we are both idiots. We were thinking a nice buffet; the Green Gatteau’s interpretation was we could order off of the breakfast or the lunch menu. We both thought it was a little pricy for what we wanted.

    We drove around and found the Hi-Way Diner. This was not like any diner I have seen. You stood in line and ordered off the board, paid and seated yourself. Then they bring you the food. My buddy had scrambled eggs with ham and toast. I had hash browns, covered in sausage gravy and 2 eggs on top. The prices were low. My buddy liked his food, but I thought my hash browns tasted like card board and the gravy was just awful. I threw it away.

    We lucked out for lunch. We stopped at Joe Tess’ Place. This is a fish restaurant attached to a fish market. It had been featured on DDD and Roadfood. We both had fried fish. I had cat and my buddy had carp. He had slaw and home fries, I had baked beans and slaw. We both agreed the cole slaw was ordinary, but good, he liked the fries and I liked the beans. Both main course items were cooked just right and the fish was moist, flavorful, nice size, with an excellent breading.

    We skipped dinner and got back to Chicago Sunday night. Oh, a nice stop for gas is off of exit 86 of I80. Go north to the gas station. We found this place by accident. They had VG hand packed ice cream. We each had a single cone for $1.73. An unexpected treat.


    Hamburg Inn
    214 North Linn Street Iowa City

    John’s Grocery
    401 E Market St Iowa City

    Menlo Cafe
    502 Sherman Street
    Menlo, IA

    Bohemian Cafe
    1406 S 13th St, Omaha

    Buzzard Billy's
    247 N 8th Street, Suite 101
    Lincoln, NE

    Lazlos Brewery & Grill
    710 P St, Lincoln

    Hi-Way Diner
    2105 Nebraska 2

    Joe Tess Place
    5424 South 24th Street
  • Post #7 - November 8th, 2011, 10:14 am
    Post #7 - November 8th, 2011, 10:14 am Post #7 - November 8th, 2011, 10:14 am
    The good guys won the game.

    My experience in Lincoln is that there is a Middle-Eastern immigrant neighborhood a little north and west of downtown along a busy street. The grocery stores and restaurants come and go, but there have been Iraqi cafes or felafel places at any given time.