Angie Lewis never considered herself an artist. When she first began dabbling with paint, she found herself overwhelmed by choices. After fretting over what paintbrush to use and what brand of paint to buy, she eventually gave up and stuffed her art supplies—and her creativity—in the back of her closet.
They remained there until one day, while visiting friends in Denver, Angie attended an "entertainment-style" art class. It had music, wine, and a casual "it's OK to mess up" vibe, and Angie knew she just had to bring the concept home with her to Nebraska. And thus The Corky Canvas was born, a place where friends and artists of all skill levels gather with paintbrushes in one hand, and wine glasses in the other. At two Corky Canvas locations, Angie and her team of instructors lead groups through nightly featured painting, private parties, team buildings, and more. Painters are always welcome to change the colors of their class's suggested design, or to even paint something new entirely, following the whims of their creative spirits.
The owners of Brewsky’s Food & Spirits know that the best way to get friends and family together is to create a vibrant space filled with live music, all the best sporting events on TV, frosty brews, and a menu of comfort foods. While taking pride in being the spot to gather for Huskers games, as well as all other major sporting events, the owners also take immense satisfaction in serving a selection of juicy steaks, flame-broiled burgers, and wings that their chef concocted exclusively for the restaurant. The team also entertains patrons with trivia nights and shows such as dueling pianos or quarreling xylophones at the Haymarket location.
In the light cast by 10 big-screen televisions, diners tuck into hand-cut steaks, hearty sandwiches, and cold brews at Jasper's Bar and Grill, where Huskers fans often gather en masse during football season. In between bites of sweet-potato fries and boneless wings, the well-fed spectators sip on domestic beers or snap toes in time with the karaoke and live music events that abound on weekends.
John Benton can describe his approach to cuisine in a single sentence: "I believe in simple food cooked perfectly." That's a lofty goal, and one that Mr. Benton works tirelessly to achieve as executive chef at Venue Restaurant & Lounge. Of course, it helps that he can rely on local and organic ingredients, including those he grows as part of his own rooftop organic gardening feature.
While he may look close to home for his herbs and veggies, Benton reaches across oceans for his culinary inspirations. A typical lunch at Venue might start with a gluten-free salmon ciabatta featuring fresh, grilled salmon open-faced with lettuce, tomato, capers, and drizzled with house-made remoulade or an uncured New York strip pastrami Reuben with house-made pastrami and Russian dressing topped with sauerkraut and Swiss. At dinner, the chef's brick-oven pizzas are browned golden and topped with smoked Gouda, chicken, artichokes, and savory Alfredo shrimp. Other meals are a bit more spontaneous. Benton's dry-aged steak of the moment, for example, changes nightly.
The chef's creativity extends to the rest of Venue's team, which includes bar manager and resident mixologist Barrie Kuhn. In addition to assembling an international wine list, Kuhn has dreamed up several original house cocktails and also offers barrel-aged liquors. Try the James Dean, which features Wild Turkey, Budweiser syrup, and orange bitters garnished with an orange peel or the Snap Pea Gimlet, featuring sugar-snap-pea-infused gin, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and house ginger syrup.
The cuisine artists behind Henry’s On South whip up a seasonally updated menu that features modern European and American cuisine that makes use of the freshest produce and meats. They grab handfuls of the fresh herbs that hang in the kitchen while crafting white truffle macaroni and cheese, New Orleans–style Cajun shrimp, or flat iron steaks.
When Nate Kellison was brainstorming a unique idea for his restaurant, he consulted one of his most trusted culinary sources: his mom. She reminded him of reuben rolls, a treat she'd often made for him and his brother when they were young. The idea was simple enough: take the sandwich's ingredients and roll them all up in dough. To give them an even more unique look, Nate's wife suggested they make them as little pot pies. And just like that, Round-Abouts was born.
Today, Round-Abouts doesn't just serve "rounds" stuffed with reuben ingredients. There are also mini pies stuffed with pizza fixings, barbecued chicken, broccoli and cheese. All of these options share the menu with breakfast flavors and smaller dessert versions filled with chocolate or fruit. To maintain the homespun vibe, Nate invites local musicians and artists to share their work in his restaurant.