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Dec 24, 2011 10:58 AM

Where would you stop along I-80? (Nebraska)

Hi all... spending the night by the Lincoln airport. Driving the next day to Rock Springs, Wyoming. Need a spot for a hearty early breakfast, or a can't-miss lunch somewhere along the way. Whatcha got?

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  1. Still in time for a reply, Groovin? Or did you already come and go?

    14 Replies
    1. re: Kitchen Imp

      Long gone, and our schedule got messed up by some unexpected delays. Nothing chow-worthy resulted...

      1. re: Kitchen Imp

        Well, I'm making the trip in about 5 months. Any suggestions for places to stop would be great! Breakfast somewhere 60-80 miles west of Omaha, thinking about Ole's in Paxton for lunch. Any suggestions for dinner somewhere west of there? Probably stopping somewhere like Sidney or Pine Bluffs for the night.

        1. re: CBJack

          For Breakfast, you could stop in LIncoln (60 miles east of Omaha) and try the Engine House cafe in Havelock. It's typical breakfast fare... very good benedicts and chicken fried steaks. For something more upscale, there's Green Gateau, which is a little fancier but has a great breakfast. If you want to drive a little further, you could try Chances 'R' in York. They're known for their huge and delicious breakfasts.

          For dinner, you might try It's Our Place in downtown Sidney... basically a small cafe but with a lot of different options, including burgers, steaks, salmon, etc.

          Let me know if you need any more suggestions. If you want some ideas on cool attractions, check out

          1. re: lfirebrand

            Any suggestions along the route below gratefully accepted, either restaurants, places to stay or attractions.

            Plan is to visit Yellowstone. Start from Council Bluffs early AM, drive an hour or so to breakfast, then to North Platte, visit Scout's Rest Ranch, probably lunch at Ole's Steakhouse, then west on 80 towards Laramie. Chances 'r' and Engine House both sound like good alternatives. Green Gateau is a little far into town for my money.

            Our Place in Sidney sounds interesting. Good chance we'll stop somewhere around there for the night. Either Sidney or Pine Bluffs, Wyo.

            Then to Laramie, NW thru Ft. Washakie to Yellowstone, back by Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, and Fort Rob. Undecided after that - maybe east thru Valentine and home or south to 80 and home.

            1. re: CBJack

              If you go east though valentine, the bar in Long Pine has my favorite burgers anywhere outside of a little town in ND. No exaggeration, I've had a hamburger at every bar in the sandhills. I recently ate at the peppermill....I forgot appleby's style food was fancy out in the sticks. It was still an awesome steak.

              One thing people don't think of with NE is good Mexican. I know the place in Lexington is good. This isn't on 80, but I was blown away this summer by a solid Mexican place in Bridgeport.

              1. re: ajb05854

                So true, ajb05854. There's excellent Mexican in Lincoln, and as a Californian transplant I was very, very pleasantly surprised to find it here!

                1. re: Kitchen Imp

                  There's been a serious Southwestern (Mexican/Spanish) influence in Nebraska ever since the early 18th Century, when some Indians attacked an expedition out of Santa Fe led by the Lt. Gov. of Spanish Nuevo Mexico. The only international treaty ever signed in Nebraska was signed between the Pawnee and the Spanish at Ft. Atkinson, in the 1820's. And the Mexican influence that Michner noted in Weld County, CO, in 'Centennial' is equally true of western Nebraska. The same people came, worked and settled on the NE side of the CO border as did on the CO side.

                2. re: ajb05854

                  The Lone Pine bar is a good hint for lunch on the way back, might be a good enough reason to choose that route.

                3. re: CBJack

                  Through Ft. Washakie????? Do you know people there?
                  This time of year? Going to Dubois? Are you planning on a snow coach or skiing in Yellowstone? or snowmobiles? (because the roads are closed right now)
                  Staying in Pine Bluffs? Why not Cheyenne?
                  Lander has some nice/interesting places to eat and drink. It's between Muddy Gap and Dubois.
                  Between Laramie and Dubois, there is really just Lander and Rawlins (yuck). The rest of the towns are really tiny. Really tiny. And that route is very unpredictable this time of year. Have a full tank, plenty of water, and a winter survival kit.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    Check out my earlier post. Our trip isn't on 'til summer. And Pine Bluffs is where my now wife was teaching before we got married, some 37 years ago. We're not set on staying there, could be anywhere between Sidney and Cheyenne. But not Egbert <G> Used to be a bar there, burned down years ago, that attracted cowboys and single female teachers from a good stretch of SE Wyo.

                      1. re: wyogal

                        And why Ft. Washakie? I'm a Lewis & Clark buff - want to see the putative burial site of Sacajawea, who's buried in the Wind River Shoshone cemetary there.

                        1. re: CBJack

                          Very cool. Have you been to Lander? The Lander Bar and the sandwich shop next to it are iconic. That's the first place my husband hits when he comes out of the Wind Rivers from backpacking. There are a couple of places in Dubois, hit and miss there, though. There is also a really cool bookstore along side the road between Jeffrey City (which is a ghost town, old uranium mining town) and Lander. I've never been, but am tempted to stop every time we drive by. That's a beautiful route. In the summer. When you will be there.
                          BTW, have you been up to ND, Ft. Union, Ft. Mandan? I'm originally from up north. Also, do you have the Lewis and Clark cookbook? There is also a companion one, Native American. Also, a great recording by friends of mine, "Lewis & Clark: Sounds of Discovery," recorded on location, sites and sounds taken from journals.

                          1. re: wyogal

                            Nope, haven't been to Ft Union or Mandan. Used to do L & C reenactment. Haven't got the cookbooks or recordings. I am just curious about the Wind River burial site. I kind of lean towards the burial in a plague pit at Ft. Union in the 1820's, rather than the "living to a ripe old age" on the rez version of the story.
                            Thanks for the tips. Still collecting them!

          2. You could try the best burger in Nebraska according to the Nebraska Beef is in Kearney, NE at The Cellar....

            Another option would be an Italian restaurant in Cozad. The chef moved there from NYC.

            Ole's in Paxton is a good place to go, just to say you have been there.

            There are several good mexican choices in Scottsbluff as well. Rosita's is very popular.

            Also, if you are in Nebraska for the first time, you should check out a local chain called Runza and try one of their Runza sandwiches.

            6 Replies
            1. re: stacywinters3

              I know each of us has our own taste, but I have to disagree with the Runza chain recommendation. It's like suggesting that someone who's never had a burger should go to Burger King. The runza (lower-case) is a wonderful thing, a Nebraska tradition. Runza, the chain, is a fastfood restaurant like any other, even if it is local.

              1. re: Kitchen Imp

                So where is your favorite spot for a runza (lower case) aka bieroc aka bierock? The chain Runza (upper case) actually does make everything fresh there. They don't get everything pre-made like a Burger King plus they are a Nebraska tradition. There is nothing better than a runza sandwich at Memorial Stadium on football Saturday.

                I suppose you don't go to In and Out burger when you go back to California either.

                I by no means am endorsing chain restaurants but this one actually is a little above par.

                1. re: stacywinters3

                  Okay, you two!
                  Lived in Omaha from 1970-86, in Council Bluffs ever since. There's Runza Huts in both places. The runza (name trademarked by Runza) is nothing more than an overgrown pierogi, or varanaky (my wife's grandmother was Ukranian), and it's a pretty good meal, if you like that kind of thing. Not terribly fond of them, myself. BTW, my half-Ukranian wife was introduced to them when she was teaching in Fort Morgan, CO, before she moved to Pine Bluffs, WY. You can get the same thing, called a bierock, I think, in Kansas, where the shape is more like a bun than rectangular.

                  1. re: stacywinters3

                    I'm not sure what In and Out has to do with this? I've never been to one. I tried a runza at Runza and was really, really disappointed -- it was flabby bread with a really soggy ground-beef filling. I've only had a runza/bierock homemade otherwise. I don't mean to be snobby at all or to be disrespectful of a beloved local chain - I just was really disappointed because it tasted like fast-food.

                    1. re: Kitchen Imp

                      Yeah, Runzas are kind of gross if you didn't grow up with them. I'm not saying they're awesome, but they are a part of NE food culture. Everyone has something gross from their childhood that they crave. I miss them from time to time, and get one whenever I'm around. The homemade ones are awesome though. A friend of mine went to college on the east coast. She met 4 other people from eastern NE that went to other schools in the area. There parents would take turns mailing uncooked frozen Runzas, Valentinos, Amigos, Taco Johns, Dorthy Lynch, ect. They would usually receive them on game days and they'd have a big party.

                      Last summer I took a friend on a road trip across NE. On our way through NE and Iowa, we decided to do a local fast food binge. (I felt like I had a hangover the next day.) Amigos in David City. Runza in Wahoo. Don and Millies in Omaha for cheese frenches. Taco Johns potato ole burrito somewhere else on the way, and tasty tacos in DSM.

                      I recently heard about that place in Cozad. That's definitely on my list of places to go. Also, the Ole's suggestion is a good one.

                      1. re: ajb05854

                        Unfortunately, I heard that the restaurant in Cozad closed this past summer. I have eaten there once before, and had an incredible shrimp arrabiatta, but unfortunately, it took 2 hours to come out of the kitchen.