Kumeo Komazaki, known to friends as "Koma", relocated to New York City from Japan 30 years ago, bringing with him the culinary skills he learned as a chef for Japan's Imperial Palace Hotel. While working as a chef in New York, Komazaki happened to read the address on a box of beef shipped from Wichita, then seized the opportunity to establish his own restaurant there. At the Wichita location and its sister restaurants in St. Louis and Omaha, chefs entertain diners as they prepare steaks, seafood, and chicken at teppanyaki tables, flipping sizzling victuals through the air and searing meat to perfection. Sushi chefs roll and slice fresh seafood into bite-size pieces, which can be brought to mouths with chopsticks or hunger-induced telekinesis.
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.
Polish immigrant Frank Kawa founded Johnny’s Cafe in 1922, improving upon an existing saloon with an expansion, the addition of electricity, and a rule that forbade ketchup fights. However, despite its renovations, the restaurant still surrounds guests with old-fashioned saloon decor, including moose heads and slick leather chairs, and sates guests with hearty steakhouse fare. Hewn from corn-fed, USDA-choice beef, hand-cut and aged steaks include options such as porterhouses, rib eyes, and prime rib, served with salads, freshly baked rolls, and potatoes. Broiled lobster tails and half chickens round out the menu paired with wines and classic cocktails such as the old-fashioned, the Manhattan, and the martini.
The chefs of Shevy's Sports and Steaks simmer slow-roasted prime rib in the kitchen, and the restaurant's five dining areas steep patrons in sports nostalgia. In the Heisman Lounge, photos of all the Heisman Trophy winners smile upon servers as they Hail Mary menu items, such as chicken-fried steak, onto diners' tables. Classic baseball memorabilia crowds the walls of a rustic-style dining room, and outside on a 750-square-foot paved patio, guests sit beside a bustling downtown street as they decide what toppings to draft for their custom Black Angus burgers. Throughout the restaurant, high-definition televisions broadcast games available through NFL and MLB packages, as well as all Nebraska pay-per-view football games and checkers matches.
The steak savants at Tobey Jacks Mineola Steakhouse grill, fry, and flip a menu's worth of choice beef cuts, sandwiches, and classic steak house sides. After coating homemade, sweet onion rings in light breading, chefs fry them to a golden brown, which is the onion’s second-favorite color ($6.99). The hand-cut top sirloin of Tobey Jack's Special boasts a label of USDA Choice ($11.99 for 8 ounces; $13.99 for 10 ounces), and the heat from the double cheeseburger melts american cheese over a full pound of beef ($7.99). Tobey Jack’s also cooks up chicken in its many modalities, from chicken strips ($6.99) to chicken fried chicken ($9.99). Friday and Saturday evenings simmer with slow-roasted, hand-seasoned helpings of prime rib ($13.99–$24.99). Patrons can sip bubbly brews from a full bar within the confines of a newly remodeled dining room or dine outside beneath sunshine and the occasional shower of au jus.
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.