Here we go, tempting you with roadtrips and food that you just can’t resist. Oops.
Seriously though, whoever said you can only find stellar food in establishments with linen table cloths or in big cities? Well, my friend, they were wrong, but you knew that, right? Check out these 10 incredible restaurants in 9 small Nebraska villages and cities. And prepare…to get very hungry. (For more awesome restaurants in small towns, check out our
first list here.)
1. Ord - population estimate 2,084.
Over in Valley County in central Nebraska, the city of Ord boasts about 1,000 househoulds. It also has an EPIC restaurant. Read on...
Check this Ord restaurant: Epic Grill - 140 S 15th St, Ord, NE 68862
The Epic Grill serves up Mexican food with American flair. And we hear they can make a burrito as big as your thigh, if you want it. Just check out this loaded Mexican baked potato to see how amazing Epic is.
2. Minden - population estimate 3,000.
Nebraska's "Christmas City" may be small but it has some great restaurant action. Check this one out...
Check this Minden restaurant: The Restaurant at Burchell's Whitehill Farmhouse Inn - 1578 30 Rd, Minden, NE 68959
The restaurant at Burchells Farmhouse Inn features fresh-smoked meats like brisket, chicken, pork ribs and mild sausage. Call ahead before heading over, and...maybe don't eat for 2-3 days before you go. They're only open on (most) Fridays and Saturdays.
3. Cedar Bluffs - population estimate 594.
Named for the stand of Cedar trees that lined a nearby river bluff, this small town is big in charm and good nature. Oh, and great food. (See below.)
Check this Cedar Bluffs restaurant: Todd's Tavern and Cafe - 102 W Main St, Cedar Bluffs, NE 68015
Easy to find and hard to leave. Todd's is right in the heart of town on Main Street. Worth the drive...your tastebuds will thank you.
More info, including hours, here.
4. Fairbury - population estimate about 4,000.
Fairbury grew to fame (and fortune) in the early 1900s as a hub for the Rock Island Railroad. The highest population count for the city proper was 6,395 in the 1950 census. In spite of the gradual decline in population, people still keep coming to enjoy the charm of Fairbury's brick-lined town square and for great food. Take a look at some fabulous eateries in Fairbury:
Check this Fairbury restaurant: Stagecoach Mall Antiques & Tasting Room - 510 E St, Fairbury, NE 68352
You've hit the trifecta when you head over to Fairbury. Shopping, antiques and a great restaurant - all in one place! Spend the morning or afternoon combing through the reclaimed treasures, and then fill your tummy.
..and check this Fairbury restaurant too: Rowdy's Steakhouse - 321 F St, Fairbury, NE 68352
One thing for sure is that folks who come to Rowdy's again and again don't need linen tablecloths to feel like they're eating high on the hog. Prime rib cooked to perfection is one of the things that keeps 'em coming back again and again.
5. Harrison, NE - population estimate 250.
Harrison came into being in 1886 under the name of "Bowen." A year later it was renamed to Harrison and soon after incorporated in 1889. This picturesque old prarie-type town has it going on. Laid back, great people and a very cool landmark in the middle of town. (Read on...)
Check this restaurant in Harrison: Jory Bob's Longhorn Saloon - 168 Main St, Harrison, NE 69346
Rough around the edges but chock full of charm and loaded with the best food in town. Jory Bob's is not just a restaurant, it's a destination.
6. Chadron, NE - population estimate 5.850.
Historic Chadron sits on the state's northern-most border and has a special place in Nebraska history. In the late 1800's this town was built about six miles away because that's where the railroad was supposed to cut through the area. But when the railroad came through in a different place, the town folk picked up everything, including the buildings, and moved the town to the present day location. According to U.S. Census figures that would have been more than 1,800 people moving everything they had, including their homes. That's something!
Check this Chadron restaurant: Bean Broker Coffee House - 202 W 2nd St, Chadron, NE 69337
Trendy food in a trendy place for such a small town. This plate looks so good I can almost taste it.
7. Sidney, NE - population estimate 6,914.
Located about halfway between Cheyene and North Platte, it's easy to see why Sidney is such a hub for stopovers. Afterall, all those execs from Cabella need great places for down time, right? Check out the great eats here:
Check this Sidney restaurant: Della's Cafe - 1000 Illinois St, Sidney, NE 69162
Don't let this photo fool you into thinking this Mediterranean restaurant only has salads. Nope. They have great pannini's and delicious daily specials sometimes served on ciabatta rolls. I'm licking my lips right now just thinking about it.
8. McCook, NE - population estimate 7,650.
Down in Red Willow County there's a great small town named after a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War. The population of McCook steadily grew until around 1970 until it started to decline. At a comfortable figure nearing 8,000 this is a perfect little community to put down roots...or at least go check out.
Check this restaurant in McCook: Mac's Drive In - 809 W B St, McCook, NE 69001
Hands down: Home of the best homegrown burgers in the midwest. You just
to get over to McCook and sink your teeth into one of these.
9. Gering, NE - population estimate 8,375.
Founded 12 whole years before the city of Scott's Bluff, and at the base of what's now the Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering is a bustling little metropolis aross the river from the even bigger city of - you guessed it - Scotts Bluff. But folks here..well, they figure the "other guys" can have the traffic and the city density. Because, well..
Gering is endearing Check out this great restaurant in the small city of Gering:
The Log Cabin Restaurant & Lounge - 1205 M St, Gering, NE 69341
So near the base of the Scott's Bluff Monument you'll be able to smell the burgers cooking as you pull through the entrance. And by "burgers," we mean a burger so big and mean you'll consider giving it it's own zipcode before you dissect it with your chompers.
How many have of these have you been to? With so many small towns in Nebraska it’s a great possibility that we just couldn’t possible list all of the incredible restaurants in small towns in the state. Feel free to add to this list in our comments.