Issue 30

Burgers or Bust: 5 Omaha Favorites Reviewed

Burgers or Bust: 5 Omaha Favorites Reviewed

I am a man who loves a good burger. I’m here to give you a tour of five locations in Omaha that have those delicious beef patties with all the good stuff on top. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me a Big Mac at 2:30 in the morning just like everyone else. However, here, I’m talking about grabbing the family or a group of friends, heading off to a burger joint or bar and having a good time with some good eats.

We’re going to use a four ‘fork’ system (surprisingly similar to a four ‘star’ system) to grade the burgers with four forks being the highest score. I will be judging on taste, toppings, presentation, atmosphere and the staff or each place I visit in the course of just one day. That’s right; I will devour five whole, entire burgers in just one day. To be honest, the prospect was a bit frightening and intimidating but I soldiered on for the sake, of you, the readers. Let’s do it.

My first stop was B&G Tasty Foods (7900 Dodge St.). This is the home of the fabled loose meat sandwich; an art form I thought was lost. Not at B&G’s. They’ve been around since 1953 and I can see why. This place was great! I ordered the classic loose meat burger with cheese and it was delicious. The beef was well-seasoned and so was the staff. They were very friendly but I was told, in no uncertain terms, that they would NOT tell me the secret recipe (I had to try though). The atmosphere at B&G is very cool with a retro 1950’s style. The burger itself was a lot of fun to eat too – there was so much meat, it was spilling out of the burger. Overall, I was pleased with the outcome – a very quick and tasty burger treat. The price is right as well with nothing over four bucks. 3 out of 4 forks.

The next stop was Stella’s Hamburgers (106 S. Galvin Rd.) in Bellevue. Stella’s began on Friday the 13th, 1949 and was named after Estelle Francois Sullivan Tobler. No bad luck here though because the burger is awesome. After the very nice waitress finished my history lesson, she recommended me a big time burger. This 6.5 ounce burger was topped with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, fried onions, bacon, cheese and, oh yeah, a fried egg. Holy burger Batman! I almost called 911, but made it to the end. Nice! Stella’s get 3.5 forks.

Next up was Dinker’s (2368 S. 29th St.) which has been an Omaha landmark since 1965 when it was opened by Frank ‘Dinker” Synowlecki. The sign out front says ‘Omaha’s Best Burger’ and I’ve heard the same from various people. Given those qualifications, I knew I ad to check it out. Dinker’s has a great atmosphere – when I walked in, I felt immediately like the staff were downright, hard-working people who are not messing around. They serve ice-cold beer and one heck of a burger. This USDA Choice, all-beef patty was excellent. In just the first bite, I got the sensations of juicy, well-seasoned beef, melty, creamy cheese, mayo and a hint of butter on the toasty bun. It was incredible! Nice and greasy – just a complete classic burger. Dinker’s gets 4 out of 4 forks from me. Looks like the sign wasn’t lying.

My next stop was Goldberg’s. I’ve been to Goldberg’s a million times in my younger days. So, after a long absence, I decided to check them out again. There are two locations for Goldberg’s, but since I was in the Dundee neighborhood, I headed to the 5008 Dodge St. location. They’ve always had a good reputation, but I had it in mind that they would be unable to match my great experiences from the first three burger joints. Boy, was I wrong! It was a nice environment with a wonderful staff in a, more or less, restaurant vibe. I ordered the trusty old Goldburger with cheese. I was amazed! This eight ounce beef patty was seasoned to perfection with all the toppings on a very tasty ciabatta bun. Perhaps it was my low expectations, but this one blew me away – it is one excellent burger. Goldberg’s gets 3.5 forks.

Last, but certainly not least is Danny’s Bar & Grill (2007 N. 72nd St.). I’ve eaten here many, many times and let me tell you, this place has some of the best bar food ever – including the outstanding double Husker burger. Had there been a ruler in my pocket, I would have taken it out and measured this beast. Were talking two 1/3 pound patties topped with gooey cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and onions. Absolutely divine. Danny’s opened in November of 1982 and the menu hasn’t changed since. They offer a solid selection of bar eats, all made fresh daily. Danny himself filled me in on one of his secrets – his staff. Some of them have been here over 15 years and his number one guy, Tim, has been at Danny’s for over 20 years. These guys sling over 160 burgers every day! So, although this is my fifth burger today, I’m still loving it. Even though I had to take this beautiful creation home with me, it knocked me off my feet. Wow! Four out of four forks!

After all that, my belly was full enough that I appeared to be pregnant. I have no idea how many calories, or anything else, I consumed during my burger exodus, but it was worth it damnit – it was a day packed full of fun and beef. The burger joints listed here are just a few of my many favorites – I’m sure there must be a ton out there that I have yet to discover. So, send in your suggestions and check out all the places here – there wasn’t a bad burger in the bunch.

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