The Lincoln Tour: Regional Sustenance

In this era of mass marketing, Nebraska, in many ways, has taken an isolationist stance when it comes to food and drink.  It may not be artisanal/Alice Waters local, but at least it's something to call their own (and to share slightly with Iowa and a couple other midwestern states).  As mentioned previously, there's the love of Red Beers (cheap American beer and tomato juice).  We loved ours at Lee's Chicken, this great old road house featuring live organ music every night (we requested "Home on the Range" as an homage to Gramps).

And then there's Runza, the fast food chain that serves up these German-Russian beef pockets.  In a move of great local pride, they've added the classic Miller & Paine cinnamon roll to the menu. Miller & Paine was one of Lincoln's main family owned department stores that served these sugary confections (they taste like cinnamon toast due to the heavy quantity of white sugar) at its lunch counter.  Dillards bought them out years ago and that '50s legacy sort of died out, though the cinnamon rolls lived on through Braeda bakery.  (Interestingly, my mom craved the Runza cheeseburgers when she was pregnant with me, so I gravitate to those, while Port loves the old standard - with cheese). 

Other stops on the path to Type II Diabetes: The Tastee In and Out and Valentino's.


  1. I'm still dreaming of the beer cheese sauce. YUMMY IN THE TUMMY!!

  2. katiedid says:

    YUM! I have loved looking throguh your childhood haunts over your last few posts. There is something to be said for remembering and re-appreciating those who have gone before. I hope your trip was as sweet as your Grandpa seems to have been.

  3. The town I went to HS in had a Runza, we would hang out there after school as one of my friends worked there LOL. I had forgotten all about that place! I've never heard of red beer though.... We only lived there 3 years, we never became fully engrained I suppose.

  4. tintin says:

    Used to drink V8 and beer (50-50) with Tabasco and a slice of orange in college for a hangover. A girl who looked like Kate Hepburn taught me this when we were dating. Thanks for that memory.

  5. hmmm, i have never had beer with tomato juice. I am from California and we don't have anything special like that to share.
    I will have to try to see how it tastes.
    okay, and the beer cheese sauce in Porter's comment sound good!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of Nebraska.........a bit off subject, but a bit on:
    Just finished Willa Cather's My Antonia.......

  7. Anonymous says:

    It's sweet what you sisters are doing. Your grandfather's taste and quirks will live on through you and those you are sharing these stories with. That's no small thing!

  8. Oh Runza. The smell of a runza is like nothing else in the world. GREAT memories in NE of those.

  9. It's so fun that so many of you know Runza! Go Big Red/Huskers!

  10. Kim says:

    My pledge sister is now the President of Runza. It was started by her grandparents and she took over for her dad not long ago.

    You forgot about King's Cheese Frenchie. There's a King's in the same building as Amigo's across from the Runza on Hwy. 2 and you can get all your treats in one fell swoop (as DOTR did when we went back for Homecoming last year).

    I'm so ancient that when I was in college, you had to go to Lee's Chicken to get beer on Sunday. And that was only in the 1980's.

  11. Kim says:

    I forgot to add that DOTR just got back from Lincoln/Omaha on Sunday. He said he forgot that people in Nebraska 1)eat so much; 2)cuss so much; 3)smoke so much.

    He ate steak every night he was there (and Runzas for lunch everyday).