Uncovering hole-in-the-wall eateries in this Midwestern hub

By buy it Baker-Hansen

If there’s one thing you can say around Omaha, it’s a town that loves to eat. As the food writer for the Omaha World-Herald, world ask me every the time, “Where must I walk to eat?” It’s a fair question. Due to the fact that I spend many evenings dining the end to create reviews and it’s my project to find the city’s ideal food, hot brand-new spots and also hidden gems, I constantly have far too numerous recommendations come give.

You are watching: Diners drive ins and dives omaha nebraska

While my recommendations constantly depend top top what a diner is feather for, one thing is true: several of the city’s best-loved spots room funky, hole-in-the-wall, divey joints that serve up a heaping next of atmosphere in addition to the main course. And also it’s not just people I don’t recognize that ns send to experience them. Over time, I’ve presented my husband, Matthew, to several of my hometown’s classics—here’s why us love them.

Give you something come taco ’bout

California tacos and an ext fits firmly in all of those divey, standard Omaha categories. It’s a long-time community gem that leapt to fame after a clues on male Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. (If you missed the episode, the restaurant plays the on a consistent loop via a gritty old television collection hanging in one corner of the dining room, and also has for years.)

Cali Taco, as it's well-known locally, specialization in “Americanized” tacos. I always order the classic beef version through its airy, just-greasy-enough fried puffy shell stuffed with seasoned soil beef—yes, this is quiet Nebraska—lettuce, shredded yellow cheese and also tomato. The flaky crunch the the fried shell is at as soon as indulgent and also satisfying.

“The flaky crunch of the fried shell is at when indulgent and also satisfying.”

The “Americanized” taco at Cali Taco space loaded with toppings.

Dining room through a view

The other large reason come drive into the north Hills likewise has to do with chicken, yet this variation is served right on the sheet of the Missouri River, at the Surfside Club. My friend Robynn is actually to give thanks to for presenting Matthew come it, together she recently said that the three of us shot biking come the Surfside top top trails the led us straight there from downtown Omaha.

“It will certainly really be precious it as soon as we get there,” she said, an interpretation both because that the views and the calories we’d shortly take down.

Whether girlfriend bike or journey there, the Surfside’s menu is best enjoyed outdoors. We found a spot at one of the numerous picnic tables the line the river overlook and also ordered indigenous the straightforward menu. Matthew and also I stuck to the classic chicken, and Robynn obtained a one-of-a-kind breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. (We were on the banks of Iowa, residence of the pork tenderloin, after ~ all.)

“The chicken, fried come a super crisp finish, is juicy and satisfying, especially with a cold beer from the the end bar.”

The hush puppies have constantly been my favorite part of Surfside, and also they still are. Rich with the odor of cornmeal and fried come a deep hue of golden brown, they taste like summer. The chicken, fried come a super crisp finish, is juicy and satisfying, specifically with a cold beer native the out bar. Robynn’s pork tenderloin, generously spanned in pickles and also a healthy and balanced squirt that mustard, also satisfied.

“I’m glad us biked here,” ns said. “It’s the only method to justify eat this much fried food in spandex.”

A Midwestern tradition

For Nebraskans favor Matthew and me, Runza is a childhood staple and a welcome favorite, even if it is it be in ~ a Nebraska Cornhuskers football game in the dead that winter, along an I-80 roadway trip across the state or simply on a random Tuesday. The appeal has helped grow the restaurants to cover the whole state and then some, a substantial leap from the little 1940s beginnings as a mom-and-pop shop in Lincoln.

“Frings are where it’s at!” Matthew claims every time I indicate we take a bite at a Runza.

“Frings,” which we order every single time we’re at Runza, space a mix of the restaurant’s terrific crisp-on-the-outside, mealy-on-the-inside crinkle-cut fries, through a few onion ring tucked in the exact same bag.

“Frings space where it’s at!” Matthew says every time I suggest we grab a bite at a Runza.

“Why every restaurant hasn’t believed of this already, ns don't know,” ns said. I constantly order the standard Runza—it additionally comes v cheese and in a couple of other varieties—but the standard is what I prefer best. A soft, bready exterior comes filled with a mix of peppery ground beef, soft cabbage and savory onions. I choose it ideal dipped in ketchup.

Though Matthew likes the Runza, he regularly goes because that the restaurant’s wonderful cheeseburger, a huge patty that beef served on a soft bun v a part of melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup and mustard.

See more: The Greatest Weakness Of The South During The Civil War Was Its

Runza restaurants space located everywhere the city, therefore you’re never too much from this neighborhood treat. And, when you tuck right into a yellow-and-green booth and unwrap her Midwestern delicacy, to trust me, you’ll understand why the locals love this place.