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Chicago to Denver (I80 gems? Iowa/Nebraska)

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Hello people,

My wife and I are heading west from Chicago to Denver. We may try and drive straight through or stop in Nebraska for a night, depending on how we're feeling. Anyway, as anyone who's ever driven this trip, there's not much to see along I80 other than that huge truck stop in Iowa with fast food. Is there anything in Lincoln, Omaha, or anywhere in Iowa that's right off of I80 that would be a "must stop" for lunch or dinner? We have no problem snacking and packing lunches for the car to hold us over, so it doesn't really matter how far the place is, we just have been talking about finding a great meal on the way out there. Considering it's Iowa and Nebraska, we're thinking that Thai food and the such wouldn't be the best bet, but maybe a hidden BBQ gem or something along those lines. Thanks in advance for any help!

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  1. Actually, if you really want Thai, there's a pretty Thai restaurant in Des Moines called Cool Basil that's just a couple miles off the interstate.

    I think we've had a couple of good threads on this recently, so I did a quick search on the Midwest board for I-80. This is what I turned up:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/490480
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/516303
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/507463
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/486175
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/512049
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/386690

    Too many excellent places in Des Moines, Omaha, Iowa City, and Lincoln. I'll leave the bustling metropoli for the folks that live there. For more hinterland choices, I would personally recommend the Green Apple Cafe in Cozad NE and Rogers in North Platte NE.

    1. I wouldn't call it a must-stop, but the Machine Shed restaurants are fun--there are a couple along that route. You will pork out, so this would be a fun choice if you're really hungry.

      http://www.machineshed.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jim M

        Ate my first meal in Iowa (before moving to Des Moines) at Machine Shed. My wife and I walked in, looked at each other and said in unison "this is Iowa". All comfort food done pretty well. When my wife was going through chemo in 2001 and wanted comfort food(meatloaf or turkey and dressing) this was where we'd go. Agree with Jim M.

        1. re: Iowaboy3

          They do some really good dishes with pork, especially the tenderloin. And the sides are really above average.

      2. While Omaha is no Chicago, there are a lot of places that serve excellent food. Unfortunately, I am always heading to Western Nebraska when I fly into Omaha.

        I would recommend the Bohemian Cafe which serves a good Czech menu. The food is well prepared and the staff provides great service.

        Bohemian Cafe
        1406 S. 13th St.
        Omaha, NE
        http://www.bohemiancafe.net/

        Further west is Ole's Big Game Steakhouse is also worth a stop both for teh food and the atmosphere. It is located in Paxson, NE.