Lincoln’s Best Fast Food

April 23, 2010 at 1:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As part of the Journal Star’s ongoing quest to minimize content and maximize fluff, Jeff Korbelik has been giving us lists of various “Top Fives” every Friday this year. It could be a fun and interesting project, but it’s neutered by the fact that Korbelik is limited to a whopping two sentences per bullet point. At least the photo printed atop each week’s entry is huge.

Anyway, this week’s list caught my eye. Probably because I’ve been hungry lately thanks to an increase in the quantity and intensity of my workouts. Here’s his list, in order, along with my comments:

  1. D’Leon’s: D’Leon’s is hit and miss for me. Sometimes it’s brilliant (I generally love their chimichangas), other times it’s horrid (like the time they gave me a torta that I’m pretty sure somebody sat on). It definitely deserves to be on the list, but plenty of folks will disagree with its #1 ranking.
  2. Runza: Duh. It’s a Lincoln original. Runza, too, can be hit and miss, but most Lincolnites don’t seem to care. I haven’t had a Runza in ages—in part thanks to my quasi-vegetarian diet—but I still crave one now and then.
  3. Culver’s: I have tried Culver’s three times. Three times I’ve come away saying “Meh” while others seem to think it’s incredible. Culver’s doesn’t even make my top ten.
  4. King Kong: I’ve never eaten at King Kong so I can only base my opinion on what others say. They usually say one of two things: The burgers are huge! or Mmm, grease! I suppose if huge and greasy are your things, then King Kong is the place to go.
  5. Taco Inn: I have an irrational attraction to Taco Inn. Objectively, Taco Inn isn’t much different from Amigo’s, which I dislike. Yet I love Taco Inn. I don’t know why.

Jeff Korbelik defines fast food simply: If it has a drive-thru, it’s fast food. There’s certainly something to be said for a simple definition, however it feels odd to leave out places like Oso Burrito / Qdoba / Chipotle, Quiznos, and Mr. Goodcents. Surely they are all examples of fast food, aren’t they? The only difference between Subway and those places is a hole in the wall. That’s pretty arbitrary. Then again, I can’t come up with a counter definition that’s as simple as Korbelik’s while still including the above examples. Can you?

If I could add just one place to the list—removing Culver’s—it would be Don and Millie’s, hands down. They serve ranch dressing from a giant pump. I mean, come on people, that’s just awesome. Seriously though. They have good burgers, good salads, and it’s one of very few places in town to get a frenchee; they have shakes and margaritas; and they have televisions and a juke box. What’s not to love?

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The Comments

Gene April 23, 2010 at 2:18pm

I’m always ho hum about Culver’s as well. I do agree about Don and Millie’s though. They’re my fave burger in Lincoln.

Nikkidemas April 23, 2010 at 2:57pm

IMO: At either location, Mr. Goodcents has the best customer service of any fast food place in town.  But it doesn’t fit Korbelik’s “drive-thru” qualifier.

I haven’t had Culver’s food in quite a while, but it’s ok.  Their frozen custard, on the other hand - is AWESOME.  I sneak through the drive thru for it once in a while.

I went to Kong Burger a couple of times but they never took plastic, which is a drive-thru turnoff for me.

Nikkidemas April 23, 2010 at 3:02pm

Instead of using “has a drive-thru” as a fast-food definition, what about “uses plastic trays or baskets & is not a bar or buffet”?  Trying to think of exceptions…

Moses April 23, 2010 at 4:11pm

Two of them in Lincoln I can think of.

I agree with Don and Millie’s.  Their onion rings are the best in town.

Don’t forget Chinese places with drive thru.  I think the one in Edgefield is better than the Egg Roll Kings.

macappleteacher April 23, 2010 at 4:33pm

I’ll take his list and modify it.

  1. D

BFB April 23, 2010 at 5:20pm

Just some comments ...

- KING KONG now takes plastic ... although I don’t go there a lot, their burgers are very good imho.

- RUNZA ... I’m just not a big fan.  Nothing is that spectacular, and it’s all overpriced for what you get imho ... especially the burgers.

- TACO INN ... not my favorite but you can’t beat an order of deluxe nachos from there.

- CULVER’S ... I’m not the biggest fan overall, but you can’t go wrong with a Bacon Butter Burger Deluxe and the cheese balls/curds.  Hot fudge sundaes from there are spectacular.

- OSO BURRITO ... can’t beat their super nachos ... the white cheese sauce is to die for, great choices of salsa ... vegetarian friendly choices as well.

AMIGO’S / TACO BELL / TACO JOHN’S - I still get a hankering for each of these places at times.  Taco Bell’s service near me is horrible (27th & Cornhusker) so don’t go there very often.  You can’t beat some Ole’s with cheese from Taco John’s.  Amigo’s basic hardshell tacos are awesome w/spicy salsa imho.

Fortunately I don’t go to these places very often due to diet/exercise regimen, but talking about it makes me hungry! smile

Other thoughts:

—Burger King over McDonald’s every time, but probably WENDY’S over both?

—Never disappointed in ARBY’S, but of course tends to be more pricey than the others.

—Sub shop wise ... Blimpie and Mr Goodcent’s over all the others.

Mr. Wilson April 23, 2010 at 5:48pm

I didn’t mention Lina’s this go-round because I haven’t been to the 70th and O location since the 9th Street location closed. I miss having Lina’s nearby :-(

JT April 23, 2010 at 8:33pm

Fast food definition: places you order from the counter?

Mr. Tee April 25, 2010 at 3:38am

i think Amigos should have been on the list.  and if your talking about classic Lincoln fast food, you can’t leave out Tastee’s Inn and Out, on 48th.

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