Anthony Hensley and his wife, Rosie, have gone to great lengths to offer something for everybody at B&J's Family Restaurant and Lounge. As a result of working in bars and restaurants for more than 30 years, Hensley believes he knows what people like to eat when they dine out, which is why he offers such an eclectic menu of American comfort food. There’s pasta for those who like a little Italian, homemade strudel, battered cod, even puerto rican tacos made with picadillo––a latin american hash traditionally made from ground beef and tomatoes.
But no matter what people order, Anthony and Rosie have ensured that the food is as fresh as possible. "We cut our own lettuce for salads," he explained. "Mostly use Omaha beef. Order local bakeries. We try and shop local for everything."
Anthony describes B&J's dining room as having a "kind of a small town, hometown feel," complete with diner-style booths, pinball machines, video games, and antique parking meters that only accept gold doubloons. It’s the type of place where regulars frequently gather, shooting the breeze at the full-service bar or whacking balls around the pool table. "Some of the regulars," he said, snickering, "my son, Tony, beats them at pool. I taught him how to play when he was 7. The thing is, he's only 12 years old."
BBQ4U provides savory barbecue through an assortment of slow-cooked meats and far-reaching sauces. Eager hunger-havers can peruse BBQ4U's menu of hickory-smoked meats, such as the basket of brisket, consisting of a brisket sandwich and two of the joint's hearty side dishes, which include baked beans and corn bread ($7.75). Grab a heap of wet wipes and dig into a half-slab of ribs ($9.99), or shield hands from the delicious mess by placing them on the bread of a pulled-pork sandwich ($5.95). If you put barbecue sauce on everything from hamburgers to toothbrushes, try the house-made signature spicy-tomato barbecue sauce. Alternatively, intrepid flavor explorers can top their pork sandwich with one of BBQ4U's more than 70 different gourmet sauces, such as Knackies sweet fire sauce ($5.99) or the Texas Rib Rangers jalapeño range relish ($5.99).
Like the organizer of an eternal neighborhood picnic, 9 South Chargrill mixes together a bounty of Southern-style barbecue and comfort food with a homey ambiance created by red-painted brick walls and deep-navy tablecloths to draw friends together. This combination has worked on such devotees as Jeff Korbelik of the Lincoln Journal Star, prompting him to place the eatery atop his 2010 list of the Top 5 Neighborhood Restaurants, where he called it his "favorite out-of-the-way place." Although the chefs embrace homespun cooking by churning their signature barbecue sauce and chipotle aioli in-house, many of their entrees look beyond regional and national borders. Texas-size loaded potatoes, certified Angus steaks, and Memphis-style pulled-pork sandwiches feature a range of distinctively American flavors, but lighter continental alternatives, such as an Italian-inspired spinach fettuccine dish, spotlight the chopped tomatoes and fresh basil found in Old-World favorites and inventive toddlers' Easy Bake Ovens.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
Inside a red-painted building built with a rustic design, Skeeter Barnes serves up a truly Nebraska experience with smoked pork, chicken, and beef brisket and grilled, hand-cut filets of high-quality corn-fed Nebraska steak. Cooks pull and chop the meats to stuff into baked potatoes with sour cream and cheese, layer over nachos, or pile onto sandwiches. Patrons can round out meals with sides such as bourbon mashed sweet potatoes or mushrooms sautéed in white wine, or opt for a salad topped with Nebraska-made Dorothy Lynch dressings.
The air at 501 bar and grill pulses to the beats of live music and sports games, which are regularly toasted to with eight frigid draft beers that flow from tap lines integrated into a massive, illuminated ice block to ensure beer frigidity. Hearty homemade bratwursts prepared according to a secret recipe, towering burgers, and mounds of chicken wings top the plates of patrons mesmerized by a giant 8'x12' projection TV streaming big games or a live feed of another bar’s television set. Weekend evenings bring live bands, which perform from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.