Ten different types of grapes sprawl across 12 acres that sit along banks of Spring Creek, soaking up the ample Nebraskan sunlight. Mac's Creek Winery & Vineyards—a joint venture of the McFarland family, whose roots run deep in central Nebraska—handpick these grapes to produce a collection of red and white artisanal wines, including their award-winning 2009 Mac's Lantern.
Guests can savor the cherry flavor of the Frontenac grapes found in the above-mentioned Mac's Lantern or sip on other varieties—such as the light-bodied 2010 Spring Mist—in the spacious tasting room or on the sun-drenched lawn. On weekends, they can enjoy a prairie bistro lunch from 12-4p.m., and on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., they can toast to live entertainment or dramatic readings of the wine list.
Winery owners Randy, Kelly, and Nate Meyer are so passionate about winemaking that they've designed their entire vineyard to symbolize it—each phase of the buildings' architecture reflects a different step in the winemaking process. A planter crafted from locally harvested limestone marks the entrance to the winery and supports arbors symbolizing trellised grape bushes in the vineyards. The arbors extend through the earth-toned Chancellor Hall, where a towering cathedral ceiling laced with heavy beams can shelter more than 200 guests at once. Inside, light streams in through towering windows overlooking the vineyard, as well as through heavy double doors leading out to a patio and courtyard, where the same arbor continues to form a roof and shield wines from straw-wielding helicopter pilots. Outside, 16 acres of vineyards house rows of Midwest varietals such as Vignoles, St. Vincent, Frontenac, and Catawba. Staffers pluck vines entwined on trellised rows and carry their bushels into a processing building, where they unload pounds of fruit into imported presses and custom-made fermentation tanks. These grapes age into wines in a room designed in the shape of a barrel, which represents the winemaking and fermentation process as well as the winemakers' fear of being trapped inside a barrel. The Meyers also use the wines in these barrels to reflect their love for the region; they've named many of the dry and semidry wines for weather phenomena associated with Tornado Alley.
Staff Size: 11?25 people
Most popular offering: Steak-grilling kit
Pro Tip: For tender steaks, sear both sides first, locking in the natural flavors.
Madison Taylor Entrees' butchers collect meats from throughout the Midwest and seafood from both coasts. They put their knives to work, paring each delivery down into individual portions, which they then age to the peak of flavor. Then, they flash freeze and vacuum seal each portion, packing the serving-sized cuts for delivery. Customers can always recognize the delivery truck coming, thanks it's bright yellow paint job, commercial sub-zero freezer bed, and rows of people lining the streets, slow-clapping as it drives by.