Here’s a guide to fine dining in Grand Island, complete with observations and recommendations.
Tommy’s and Pam’s Pub and Grub both claim to have the best chicken in town. Some people don’t even know we have a Krispy Krunchy Chicken, which is at the Bosselman Travel Center.
Some things about the local food scene are unique.
Central Nebraska isn’t known for surfing. But you can have a Boogie Board pizza at Wave Pizza.
Even though the place is called Pizza Ranch, customers seem most fond of the chicken.
The Chicken Coop has a big following. Among its lesser known menu items are gizzards and kielbasa.
Runza gets into the holiday spirit. Recently, the sign outside the restaurant said, “Deck your halls with beef and cabbage.”
At the State Fair, people love jumbo smoked turkey legs and pineapple whip. You can even have a lobster corn dog and deep-fried watermelon.
At Husker Harvest Days, you can dine at Central Catholic’s food booths or Grand Island Senior High’s Hula Hut.
Many people love the fry sauce at Freddy’s. Other popular condiments are Coney sauce at Coney Island Lunch Room and the Bronco berry sauce at Arby’s.
Some Grand Island restaurants offer multiple cuisines. At BYPI and ChuckWagon BBQ, you can have pizza and barbecue. Mia’s Food Truck serves Mexican, Italian and American.
On selected days, people flock to corn dog specials at Sonic. The best thing about winter is Temperature Tuesday at Runza.
The only time you’ll ever hear the word “frings” is at Runza.
Some Grand Island churches, such as Third City Christian, have a coffeehouse inside.
If the Husker defense cooperates, we can buy a Big Mac and get one free on Mondays.
A local car wash confuses me. Pumpkin spice and Candy Kane Tri-Foam sound delicious. But their real purpose is to make your car shine.
In Grand Island, you can enjoy foods from around the world.
Eateries proudly serve chorizo, pupusas, sticky rice and menudo.
Don’t forget German fare. Co-worker Carissa Soukup says her favorite meal is sauerkraut.
You can buy a Polish dog at the State Fair.
Looking for Southern comfort? Tommy’s serves grits.
You can even find interesting food at convenience stores. Pump and Pantry offers something called a Pump-A-Rito, made with steak, sausage or chorizo.
Central Nebraska gave birth to food royalty. Dorothy Lynch’s daughter just passed away in November.
Other Nebraskans have made contributions to the food business. Ranch dressing was invented by a Nebraskan. Two of the earliest Russell Stover stores were in Lincoln and Omaha. The TV dinner was created in Omaha.
In addition, the library director in Central City is named Sara Lee.
Other takes on the local dining scene:
Riverside Golf Club has the greatest Easter buffet I’ve ever seen.
My wife loves the onion rings at Whitey’s and the patty melt at Tommy’s.
Co-worker Terri Hahn likes the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden. I’d never heard of Zuppa Toscana. You can tell some of my colleagues had a privileged upbringing.
In Grand Island, we are blessed in many ways. Some Pump and Pantry locations house a Cinnabon.
These views are not comprehensive, since I haven’t been everywhere in town.
I have yet to partake of the delights of Fat Dogs. I also haven’t been to the Cow Palace.
I’m curious to sample other area establishments. Hordville, for instance, has a place called Banana Rams. What’s that about?
Many Nebraskans are hooked on fried pickles and pickle juice.
When a Kansas City Chief was spotted drinking pickle juice on the sideline recently, I assumed he was a former Husker.
But he isn’t.
Looking into the background of the player, Tyreek Hill, I found he spent some time at Garden City Community College.
The love of pickle juice must have drifted across the border into Kansas.
Jeff Bahr is a reporter for The Independent. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.