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.
Traditions, formerly known as Indigo Joe's, maintains a devotion to large frosty brews, colossal dishes, and the art of displaying gentlemanly brutes on multiple screens. Their 49 high-definition TVs show all the popular sports, and Traditions provides a radio at every table in case you need to hear your event's play-by-play or Coach Roosevelt's halftime fireside chats. The comfortable cushioned chairs pamper posteriors during marathon clashes, and there’s a bulked-up bar-food menu. Hulking specimens may wish to try the onion rings with barbecue sauce ($7) or the juicy bacon cheeseburger ($9), which comes in a half-pound slab of certified Angus beef. Wash it down with the monolithic 34-ounce beer, served from an extensive bar that features 20 beers to wet all frequencies of whistle.
The imbibing buccaneers of Rum Runner Lounge & Eatery slake their guests' hunger with a menu of pub favorites and a menagerie of mixed drinks. Half-pound cheeseburgers ($7.25) roll from the grill and onto waiting plates, and nautical noshers stab at whale-size Prime Choice rib-eye steaks big enough to fill all three of the human body's stomachs ($17.75). Four pieces of the Captain's Favorite Broasted Chicken ($9.25) rest upon similarly broasted potatoes and expertly uncooked coleslaw. A brick-walled hearth surrounded by leather chairs warms visitors as they sip on the bar's signature Rum Runner ($6), a cocktail mixed with Bacardi Select rum from a secret recipe that only one easily hypnotizable bartender knows.
Lit Lounge beefs up traditional tapas with muscular spices and sauces that sedate even the most rapacious appetites. The candied coconut jumbo shrimp ($17) offers a laconic discourse on sweet versus savory, with sweet mango chutney set against a deep-fried crust and cashew vinaigrette. Specialty libations ($9–$11) longing to cleanse palates with tiny, delicious towels include carb-conscious skinny margaritas and the X Pop Rock, whose trio of strange liquors tangos with a smattering of Sprite. Small plated portions of chicken spring rolls ($8) satiate groups with highlights of chili sauce and curry aioli. Party-ready ranks can take advantage of Lit Lounge’s socially stimulating atmosphere, in which mood lighting casts seductive shadows on couples nestling in intimate booths or playing aggressive games of footsie to determine who pays for dinner.
The extensive menu at Clancy’s offers filling pub fare for lunch and dinner. Start with an order of chicken wings ($7.99 for 10), available in five levels of spiciness, or opt for a basket of breaded cauliflower ($5.99) and dunk the crispy-fried treat into a creamy cheese sauce. Entrees at the eatery include a bountiful selection of hearty hand-held burgers ($7.49 and up), pizzas (starting at $4.50 for a six-inch individual pizza), and specialty sandwiches. Try the jumbo tenderloin sandwich ($7.99), with a deep-fried pork loin slumbering in a bun bed, or Clancy’s classic corned-beef sandwich ($6.99), sure to evoke memories of long days in the kiting fields of Kilkenny. Plated portions of the beer-battered fish and chips ($9.49) or the classic chicken-fried steak ($7.99) promise to please even the most discerning diner, while a meal-concluding slice of Clancy’s Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake ($4.99) offers a stomach-warming conclusion to the meal.
"No cookbooks. No measuring cups. No measuring spoons. No scales. I know from experience," Be Lam—the executive chef of Saigon Surface—responded when Jane Palmer of the Omaha World-Herald asked if she uses a cookbook. Lam, who runs the restaurant with the help of her daughter and son, Ngoc and Tu Nguyen, told Palmer that she learned her culinary and artistic techniques from a group of elders in her native Saigon. She creates her signature grilled pork dish, for example, not from a written-down formula but from a memorized marinade that developed over years of practice and bestows flavor to the meat over several days.
Though steeped in the food wisdom of several generations, the restaurant's overall vibe is decidedly modern. The Omaha World-Herald, which had already named it one of the Top 8 restaurants in 2011, said that it "mixes the traditional with the technological to great effect. It's a welcome addition to the downtown dining scene." There's an iPad at every table, which guests can use to order a lychee martini from the lime-green-backlit bar or fiddle with when their dates decide to show their ventriloquism skills. The walls, meanwhile, are covered with dark wood paneling, which provides a pleasingly stark contrast to the sleek white booths and tables.