The aroma of fresh-baked bread and muffins draws diners into the cozy Rumor Mill Cafe and Coffee for breakfast and lunch. Deli sandwiches, paninis, and wraps form the backbone of the menu, crafted with slow roasted meats and seasonal produce. Diners can eat alfresco or snuggle up on microsuede armchairs to catch up on work with free WiFi and a cup of coffee. The café's 42-inch flat-screen television communicates the latest news, sports scores, and values of Beanie Babies.
One part coffee shop, one part deli, and one part bar, Toast offers something to satisfy almost every craving. Inaugurate the a.m. with a fresh cup of coffee or an espresso drink made with freshly roasted beans from The Mill ($1.55 for a classic single shot, $3.65 for a decadent mocha). The deli dishes out a hefty variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides; the pastrami on rye is a house specialty, composed of layers of thinly sliced pastrami, sautéed onions, swiss, and stone-ground mustard ($7.95). Top off taste buds with a scoop of hard-packed UNL Dairy Store ice cream ($1.85 for a single), featuring fun flavors such as cappuccino chocolate chip and scarlet and cream (vanilla with a berry swirl).
Mr. Goodcents Subs and Pastas champions customization, spreading build-your-own sandwich and pasta creations throughout the Great Plains and beyond. At each location, including their new downtown location at 201 N. 14th Avenue opening on October 25, sandwich-stackers pile fresh-baked white or wheat bread with sliced-to-order meats such as pepperoni, salami, capicola, and roast beef. American, provolone, and pepper jack cheeses tuck in the fillings, keeping them warm and providing a blanket to hide under if the boogeyman comes. Then, more than 20 deli toppings, including pickles, peppers, spicy mustard, and vinegar, finish off the creation. Customers can also decide between pasta entrees, each tossed with meatballs or chicken and tomato marinara or cheese-based alfredo sauce.
Beacon Hills is Lincoln's aptly named beacon of inventive, homemade, new American cuisine, spread across a variety of menus. Dinner centerpieces are varied and eclectic; nibble herb-coated Nebraska prime rib ($9.99 for an 8-ounce, $13.99 for a 12-ounce), or nosh on red jammin' chicken breast ($12.99). BH crab cake platter, a crowd favorite prepared according to an old Maryland cookbook recipe, boasts lightly grilled crab cakes served alongside veggies and potatoes ($13.99). Cocktails and an abbreviated yet thorough lunch menu are also available to aid emoticon designers who need a noontime break from trying to depict impolite courage. Elizabeth's decadent devil cake ($3.99) brings hot-poker-fueled closure to a fiendishly delicious meal.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the "International House of Pancakes." Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
John and Holly McManus preside over three Heidelberg locations, which fill with the jangle of silverware, the snap of ricocheting billiards balls, and the click of toasting glasses. Chefs craft more than 90 items, ranging from traditional fish and chips and rib-eye steaks, to half-pound beef, elk, or bison burgers. They toss dough, which they roll into crusts for specialty pizzas or wrap around a signature burger. The dough forms a crisp shell around the burger, allowing the flavors of bacon and barbecue sauce to bake into the bun and patty. Heidelberg's also promotes revelry with pool tables, video games, and big-screen TVs broadcasting sports or showing the popular show Friends in its original Gaelic.