Can anyone vouch for Ole's Big Game & Steakhouse in Paxton, Nebraska? Whiskey Creek in N. Platte, NE?
Came up in a couple of google searches for "Steakhouses" and "Nebraska" -- Los Angeles kid suffering from red-meat withdrawl and CaliforniaCuisine O.D. is doing a roadtrip through the midwest...determined to eat 24 oz. of red meat per day. If you have any other suggestions outside of Omaha and Lincoln (I'm covered there with more referrals than I can hit), would love to hear your thoughts...Thanks!
As a native of Paxton, Ole's is a favorite, but you must be picky about what you order from the menu. The steaks and hamburgers are top notch - the meat is from the local butcher/grocery store owner. However, sometimes the kitchen staff gets it wrong, the food can be too salty and not cooked to order. Overall, I've been satisfied with either one about 90% of the time. The ribs, don't order! The menu states they've been smokin' outback in the bbq. The only thing out back smoking is the staff. The ribs are pre-packaged and microwaved as is most everything in that kitchen, the soups, everything that is deep fried, chicken fried steaks, pies and etc. Stick with the steaks and hamburgers and you'll be ok.
The bar across the street Windy Gap, has better priced food and it tastes more home made.
Can't vouch for the food but Ole's was one of my finest memories from my cross country hitchhiking trip to California the summer after I graduated high school in 1971. My friend Tiger and I got a ride in a VW microvan that got off the interstate and pulled into a sleepy one light town of Paxton in the heat of late August. In what I remember as a dusty one street, we stepped into Ole's for lunch and I was faced with a huge glass case with a Polar Bear in it. Other lion's and tigers heads were around, and I think I even remember elephant tusks and zebra skins. The town elders who sat at the bar explained that Ole had been to Africa a few times and brought these back to his 100 person hometown. We had a cold beer and I think I had a tasty sausage sandwich. I'll never forgot that detour, and have recommended it multiple times, to hitchhikers and drivers alike over the years.
I live in North Platte and so I can offer some insight here... Whiskey Creek is a chain restaurant and while the food is good, it can be found in other places as well. I would recommend The Depot instead for your North Platte steak. It is locally owned and the meat is Nebraska beef. A little off the beaten path (20 miles south of I-80) is the turnoff to Curtis and they have Curtis Cattle Company. And while it has been alittle while since I've eaten there - they pride themselves on hands down the best prime rib you have ever tasted!!!
Ole's is good. All of the stuffed animal heads are enough to make you a vegetarian, though.
We've had sandwiches there - burgers, steak sandwich, etc. All very well prepared but a little on the salty side. The cinnamon rolls are excellent, too.
Chances R in York, Nebraska, is another good stopping point. They are a full-range restaurant and have actual good salads. Pork tenderloin sandwich is excellent. Breakfast is good. Hard to beat the Chances R!
There used to be a place in Lexington where you could get imaginative breakfasts, like a Polish and kraut omelet. The Leprechaun. Don't know if it's still there. They also had very good pie.
Ole's is a local favorite in western Nebraska. My Grandparents used to ranch north of Paxton. I have not been to Ole's in several years. I remember it as Ole's Big Game Bar (not Steakhouse).
I don't know much about the food currently, as I think it has changed ownership over the years. As I recall, most people go there for the atmosphere. Ole was a serious hunter and his "prizes" are stuffed and on display around the place.
It seems likely that you could get a good steak there, however. It is located in the heart of Nebraska ranching country.
As for other suggestions, I grew up in central Nebraska and still have family there. I have not eaten at most of these places in many years, but can suggest a few places I know my family members frequent...
Whiskey Creek in North Platte is a chain and I don't know much about it. Try Merrick's Ranch House for a more local flavor in North Platte. In Kearney I have had a pleasant dinner at the Cellar Bar and Grill and Grandpa's Steakhouse also has a good reputation. Dreisbach's in Grand Island seems to get mixed reviews on this board, but it is a local favorite for prime rib. In Hastings, the Barrel Bar has a good following for steaks and burgers, while Bernardos Steak House is the "fine" dining establishment. Taylor's is also a decent place for a steak in Hastings. Near Hastings, the Plainsman Steakhouse in Juniata is also a local favorite. When I lived in the area, many people recommended Chances "R" in York. People would stop there on their way to or from Lincoln.
Have a great trip and we will look forward to reading about your Midwest food adventures when you return.
I've made it a point to stop at Ole's Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge every year on my annual trek from Kansas City to Idaho. Sometimes I hit it going out and again coming home (unless I route through Colorado on the return trip). The last times I was there was in August and again in late November last year.
I usually have gizzards because I love them so and it's hard to find good ones, but on the last few visits, I've tried some other things and then gotten gizzards to go for a late night snack. Thus far, I've had the Rocky Mountain Oysters, the Chicken Fried Steak and a Rib Eye Steak. All were quite tasty.
And I always take some in a doggy bag so I have room for that Apple-Cinnamon Dumpling. Nearly as good as my grandmother used to make! But I always have to ask them to not drown it in softserv "ice cream." Just a little dollop of the stuff is fine, but they tend to drench it.
Be sure to walk around and see all the mounted animals. It's really a museum.
Ole's is just a mile north of I-80, and it's the first exit into the Mountain Time Zone. They close some nights at 10 and other nights at 9 so I always have to make sure I leave enough time to get there. It's nice to get that "extra hour" traveling from Central Time into Mountain Time.
Na, don't bother with Ole's. I've been there twice in two years, and the food has been pretty lousy both times. Think of it as a Hard Rock Cafe of Dead Animals. You get to see lots of formerly furry critters while you choke down a grossly overpriced piece of recently defrosted meat.
You might want to just stop in one of the little towns along the way and look for the tavern with the most cars parked around it. That's where you want to eat. Tubb's Pub in Sumner was good the last time I was there, as was the Muddy Creek Saloon in Arapahoe.