There Are Only Two

By: Mr. Wilson on January 28, 2008
Building off of yesterday's post about Famous Dave's, I've also been thinking about how it's amazing that there are only two "real" Valentino's locations in Lincoln these days. It wasn't long ago there were four locations in town, and they all stayed very busy. Today, I rarely hear Lincolnites talk about going to Valentino's. Instead, if people say they went to one of the restaurants, it tends to be because "Uncle Bob" from out of town wanted to go there because he only gets to go once every three years. Come to think of it, I haven't been to a Val's restaurant in three years -- not since we went with our friends the Lutfiyas from St. Louis who, as former Lincolnites, feel it's their duty to go to Val's and Runza whenever they get back in town. Are former Lincolnites doing more to keep the Val's restaurants open than are current Lincolnites?


See what your friends and neighbors have to say about this.

Jeff Rapp
January 28, 2008 at 4:28PM

Are there really two of them?  I ask because I really don’t like to consider the 70th & Van Dorn location a real Val’s.  It’s more like an Old Country Buffet that happens to have pizza.  Haven’t been to either one in at least a year, but if I had to choose, I’d go to the one by East Campus - it just seems more authentic.

January 28, 2008 at 5:17PM

I’m with Jeff, although I don’t think that anything at Valentino’s is all that authentic. They charge something like $12, which I think is pretty pricey considering the quality and flavor of the food.

Jeff Rapp
January 28, 2008 at 5:57PM

Right on.  I think Val’s is a highly regional style of pizza.  Take a slice of it to, say Chicago to New York, and you’d be laughed at.  So really, the authenticity of pizza is relative to the situation.  I guess what I should have said was that the East Campus location is authentic for a Val’s experience. 

Regardless, I totally agree with you on the price/quality of Val’s in regards to other options. 

Also, does anyone know of anyplace around here that a guy could score some decent Chicago style deep dish?  Now that’d be awesome…(drool)

Mr. Wilson
January 28, 2008 at 6:05PM

I’ve never seen anything even remotely close to “real” Chicago-style pizza in Lincoln. But I’ll add two caveats to that: First, I haven’t hit all of Lincoln’s pizza places yet. Second, judging by the different approaches to “Chicago-style” I’ve had in Chicago, not even Chicagoans agree on what “Chicago-style” means.

January 28, 2008 at 6:54PM

Unfortunately, I think making your own is the closest one can come to Chicago-style deep dish.

January 28, 2008 at 7:43PM

Negative Nancy here:

Val’s buffet could double for a Peggler Sysco product showcase and nobody would notice.

I crave variety, but will eat Val’s when I have too.

January 28, 2008 at 8:32PM

That would be true about 10 years ago.  However in the mid 90s they moved to Lincoln Poultry or whatever that is over near Lincoln High.  Unless they have gone back, which I doubt because the quality has not changed

January 28, 2008 at 9:09PM

I thought the Val’s at 70th and Van Dorn was awesome when it re-opened with a wider array of foods. Great food bar, great salad bar, plenty of drinks and desserts to choose from.

However, I could go there today (many years later) and it just hasn’t changed. I would like to see some more variety in their offerings. They have an abundance of offerings, but the abundance needs to shift from time to time.

I agree on the price thing. My wife and I took a couple there 2-3 years ago and for 4 adults with drinks it was near $50. I could have done a lot of other options for that money.

They’ve also hurt themselves (IMHO) to some degree by saturating the market with the to-go and carry out and delivery. Going there just isn’t as special as it once was. I can do carry out, and feed 5-6 adults for about $25. Why pay that for 2 adults and a kid to go eat there?

January 29, 2008 at 1:47AM

We go whenever my husband’s mom is in town- and that’s about it. So I think your thesis may be correct. I do like the Sicilian pasta sauce, though.

Dave K
January 29, 2008 at 3:17AM

I guess if you want a decent imitator of ‘Chicago style’, Old Chicago’s stuffed pizza would be a good candidate. It’s absolutely not Giordano’s or Pizzeria Uno, but it’ll do.  Believe it or not, Papa Murphy’s also makes a decent stuffed pizza.

Dave K
January 29, 2008 at 3:18AM


January 29, 2008 at 3:22AM

I have never been a huge fan of Vals in the first place (never liked their pizza) so its never my first choice.

Diane Kaye
January 29, 2008 at 2:15PM

I’ve always preferred Godfather’s to Vals.

January 29, 2008 at 2:46PM

Agreed.  There are many pizzas I’d eat before Vals.

College and living in the dorms really soured my taste for vals.  Whey they continually serve heated up vals, you don’t acquire a good taste for something.

January 29, 2008 at 4:17PM

It’s still Lincoln Poultry.  The delivery truck blocks 35th street (at the Holdrege location) at exactly noon every weekday.

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