I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in North Platte, Nebraska.
Greetings from North Platte, Nebraska
N 41° 7.2431’ W 100° 45.7821’ Elev. 2,799 ft.
It was a hellacious trip to get here. The wind was blowing steadily at about 35 knots (40 mph) from the starboard (right) side and it was all I could do, with both hands glued and white-knuckled to the right side of the helm, to keep the yacht in the shipping lane. It’s amazing how tiring that is after a couple hundred miles. If I remember correctly the nautical term for such conditions is “ass-kicker.”
The next day I ate at Runza®, a Nebraska-based chain of fast food restaurants I’d not yet eaten at. Runza’s claim to fame is that it serves runzas “(also called a bierock, fleischkuche or Kraut Pirok) … a yeast dough bread pocket with a filling consisting of beef, pork, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions and seasonings,” according to the Wiki.
The company was founded in 1949 in Lincoln, Nebraska by German immigrants. The filling in Runza’s runza sandwiches consists of finely ground beef, cabbage, onion and seasonings. Since I’d never heard of them I figured I’d better get the Original Runza ($3.59).
About six inches long, the Runza roll was light and fluffy, very much like the bread sticks they serve at Fazoli’s and Olive Garden but without the salt, and contained about 1/4 lbs. of filling. Somewhat onion-y and cabbage-y, the filling had outstanding flavor. After having one and then reading about them on the InterTubes it was easy to see how people could grow addicted to them. They are very unique and, quite frankly, there is nothing else remotely like them out here on the asphalt seas.
Runzas come in a number of varieties, but they all start with the Original Runza. They then slice them open and add the other fillings (Cheese, Swiss Mushroom, BBQ Bacon, Cheeseburger, and BLT) to make the other versions. I was at first tempted to get a Swiss Mushroom ($4.19). I was kind of glad I didn’t. And after having the Original I’m not sure I could get one of the others because the Original is so good, so perfect just as it is.
Runza also makes homemade onion rings (Med. $1.99). They were very good for fast food onion rings. They were definitely fresh and not frozen. Of course, I’m pretty jaded about onions rings, especially after the mountain of them I had recently at Cheddar’s.
I asked if they had any Thousand Island dressing to dip the onion rings in and the young lady said they only had “Sally Everett dressing”; Sarah “Sally” Everett was one of the founders, along with her brother Alex Brening, of Runza. The Sally Everett dressing was great. It was sort of a like Russian dressing, sweet and slightly vinegar-y, and complimented the onion rings perfectly. In addition to onion rings, Runza also offers the obligatory French fries, as well as orders of half fries/half onion rings that they call Frings.
The Runza is a great little sandwich and a great little stop to know about, especially if you want fast food that’s different. But then again, people also rave about their cheeseburgers ($3.59). But hey, Runza offers the best of both worlds.
By the way, I was prepared to make an incredibly crude, scatological comment utilizing the name of the restaurant but I simply can’t. The food is just too good.
And so we roll.
Runza, 202 E. Leota St., North Platte, Nebraska
with locations throughout Nebraska, as well as Iowa, Colorado and Kansas.
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.