My Favorite Places To Eat In Lincoln Nebraska
One of my favorite places for lunch in Lincoln Nebraska is Panera Bread. They have three Lincoln locations. The 66th and O street location is where I eat lunch at least three times a week. There is plenty of parking, so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot. Their menu offers full meals, half meals, or a pick two option. I choose the pick two. I pick two items off the menu and they come in half sizes. Each meal whether it’s the full, half or pick two comes with your choice of apple, chips or a baguette. When you order your meal you have a choice to add a fresh pastry for only .99 cents. I have tried many items on the menu and I’ve enjoyed them all.
My favorite items are the green goddess salad, the turkey avocado BLT, and the broccoli cheddar soup. The green goddess salad as a half bowl is a healthy portion of food, the full salad is a large bowl that will fill you up. It comes with greens, chicken, tomatoes, avocados, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and their own special dressing. The turkey avocado BLT is a large sandwich. They are very generous with the bacon and turkey which is unusual. Just a half sandwich can fill you up.
I am not big on soups, but at Panera, I will order a side of soup. I’ve tried all of the soups and have enjoyed every one. The soups are all thick and creamy, not watered down. They offer a typical soda machine with Pepsi products, as well as a variety of juices and tea. My favorite item is the Passion Papaya Green Tea. Some of the other drinks include coffee, tea, Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca, and Agave Lemonade. Refills are free.
When ordering food, you have the choice to go to the counter and order from a staff member or they offer six individual kiosk pads to place your order. If you use the kiosk pads you have to pay with a card. After you have placed your order you are given a number pad and your choice of seating. When you are finished eating, however, you are responsible for scraping your plates and bowls and separating them into the bins they provide for the dirty dishes.
The pricing of the meals is about an ave
rage price of a sit-down restaurant. I believe that you get what you pay for at Panera Bread. The only thing I do not like about the pricing is when you order the pick two and it cuts both orders in half, only about $1.50 is taken off each item instead of cutting the price of each in half. The restaurant area is always clean. As soon as people leave a staff member cleans the table. The bathrooms are always very clean as well.
I give Panera Bread a 5-star rating. I’ve been having lunch there for several years now and have never found a reason to complain. The staff is always nice and friendly as well.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
You’ve probably heard of Cheddar’s, a restaurant chain that originated in Texas. The Lincoln Cheddar’s is exceptionally good. Located on O Street between 52nd Street and 56th Street, it has a very large parking lot that wraps around the block.
I am always amazed that they serve such high-quality food in generous portions at such low prices. They offer a full menu with lots of variety including several styles of sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pasta, and salads. Lunch and dinner combo meals cost just a few bucks more. The menu also offers steaks and seafood. I still can’t decide if I like the Sirloin or the Salmon more. They both come with two sides. Picking a side dish is difficult here because I love every one of them. My favorite side dish though is hands down the broccoli cheese casserole.
I’ve learned that the casserole is the most popular side item on the menu. If you order the salmon don’t make the same mistake I did the first time I ordered it. I ordered the rice as one of my side items not
realizing that the salmon already comes on a bed of rice. Cheddars has a great selection of appetizers on the menu. If I thought I could eat it all I would order them all. My favorites are the Santa Fe spinach dip and the cheese fries. Now let’s get to the desserts. If you order the hot fudge cake sundae, prepare for a feast. On the menu, it says a slice. When I ordered it, I received a big plate filled to the brim with hot fudge cake sundae. It took me and my two children to eat the whole thing. The same thing goes for the monster cookie.
If you are in the mood for an adult beverage, I would suggest one of their signature margaritas, preferably the Texas margarita. I have never had a single complaint any time I’ve eaten here. The service and the food are impeccable. If you are looking for great food at a low cost in Lincoln, Cheddars is the place to go.
Cooks Café is located at 1300 North 66th Street. It is a small café with tables close to each other. Cooks Café is busy every day of the week. They are also only open until 1 pm Monday through Friday and until 2 pm Saturday and Sunday. They have a good home-style breakfast and lunch menu. I usually order the chicken fried steak with hash browns and a cup of fruit. They cook the hash brown exactly as you order them.
For example, I prefer my hash browns extra crispy, and they have no problem browning mine for me. My daughter doesn’t like her hash browns cooked crunchy, so she gets hers light brown and soft. The cup of fruit comes with pineapple chunks, grapes, melon, and cantaloupe. The waffles are probably half an inch thick. The pancakes cover the plate. The prices are quite low considering the amount of food you get with your order. They are not at all stingy with the food portions. There is always a line on the weekends, but it moves fast. The service is quick and efficient. Cook’s Café shares a parking lot in a small plaza so there is almost always nearby parking.
See my favorite Lincoln Nebraska Parks here.