Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Runza Classic -- Jim's View

[Edited slightly now, from JIM'S LITTLE BLOG of January 24, 2006 (link)]

A dilemma of sorts

We are headed to the Midwest and expect to be in Center Point, Iowa, this Friday. That is 16 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids.

That isn't the dilemma. Our situation coming up this time is that we won't be able to get Runzas on the way. There is one Runza Hut at Lawrence, Kansas. That is six hours from Center Point. We may hang around there until it opens as Lawrence is on I-35 before Kansas City.

The 1st Runza® Drive Inn opened in Lincoln, Nebraska, in about 1949. [Founded by Sally Everett and her brother, Alex Brening.] During the first three of the eleven years that I was a college dropout I got to know Lincoln pretty good. I discovered the Runza Hut near Pioneer Park in the early fifties. It was one of those little drive-up, not drive-in, restaurants with a window in front for to go orders. Or a person could go inside to eat. There were some picnic benches for eating the to go orders outside. We got ours to go, I ate inside only once, on a rainy day.

My favorite is the Runza, or Runza sandwich as they are now called. According to the menu, "Runza® Sandwiches are made by hand and baked fresh, everyday. A Runza® Sandwich is a delicious blend of fresh ground beef, onions and special spices all baked inside homemade bread." Mrs. Jim has a recipe Mom gave her for these from the Omaha World Herald , it uses some cooked cabbage. I had always thought the store model did too until I just read this menu.

On the way home, we will load up with Runzas for the all the kids in the Houston area. They only eat Runzas when I go to a Runza Restaurant and bring some back. I have never had enough Runzas to allow me to try their hamburgers or other. Their fries are good, we have had clam chowder and it was really good. But always a Runza also.

Of course they give a senior discount of ten percent. Be sure to ask. The place in Wahoo, Nebraska, won't give their discount for take-outs. Go to Blair, Nebraska, if you can. They are also located in many other Nebraska towns, with a lot being in Omaha and Lincoln.

I consider Runzas to be the Nebraska State Food.

Do you have
a Runza story?

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15 Comments - Show Original Post
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Jim said...

Omitted by Jim

Tue Jan 24, 01:18:00 AM CST

Karen said...
Hi dad- I love Runza's. In fact, I was terribly surprised that Billy would like it! He doesn't eat anything that would be inside of the Runza and we have to fight over them when you bring us back frozen Runza's!!!

I put in my request now for a Runza!

Tue Jan 24, 06:50:00 AM CST

poopie said...
I've never heard of Runza's but the sandwich sounds fabulous! Bring me one too ;)

Tue Jan 24, 09:13:00 AM CST

Mitch said...
Dad, Carmen has me on a diet so don't reserve any for us (even though I did like them the last time I ate them in Nebraska, some 35 years ago).

Have a good time with Gramps. Tell him Carmen and I said "hello".

Tue Jan 24, 09:28:00 AM CST

Cliff Morrow said...
Actuallly the Runza Huts have the best hamburgers money can buy. They would remind you of the old Kings Drive-in hamburgers.
Well Happy Birthday to your Dad. He is easily one of the classiest guys on this earth. I've spent a lot of time with him over the years (meetings in church and lodge)and nothing ever came out of his mouth that couldn't have been broadcast from a church pulpit. He deserves the best God has to offer. A real country gentleman.

Tue Jan 24, 09:46:00 AM CST

Clance' McClannahan said...
Your Dad sounds like quite a guy. His birthday is the day before mine. Big 48 for me. He is exactly twice my age. Hope your trip goessafe and pleasent.
Thanks for the shout-out on my blogs except it's pronounced
CLAN-see and I am a woman.

Tue Jan 24, 10:40:00 AM CST

Billy said...

Tue Jan 24, 11:06:00 AM CST

Amanda said...
After seeing the picture, I wish I had a Runza story.

Tue Jan 24, 11:07:00 AM CST

Sister, Lois said...
We got some Runzas while were in Blair last week. They are frozen and waiting for you.
It was to be a surprise but we are telling you because we didn't want you to have to stop and wait for them to open in Lawrence.

Tue Jan 24, 06:52:00 PM CST

Curious Servant said...
No Runza out here.

WE have our own local traditions.

I'm not sure if many are exported to other areas.

I know that Burgerville is strictly northwest, featuring food grown/raised here. They have seasonal foods, strawberry shakes, Walla Walla sweet onion rings, that sort of thing.

A bib attraction for readers is Powell's City of books, the country's largest book store.

One local export is Hollywood video. Started right here in Portland (in the Hollywood district of course).

Tue Jan 24, 08:36:00 PM CST

Amanda said...
We have Rosa's and Taco Villa. HA! Actually they both started in Midland/Odessa.

Wed Jan 25, 07:58:00 AM CST

Radical One said...
no runza down here in the south that i know of, but it sounds and looks great!

hope you have a wonderful and safe trip. and happy birthday to your dad!


Wed Jan 25, 09:27:00 AM CST

Rachel said...
No runza's here either. Say Happy Birthday to your Dad for me! I'll send him a card. Hope it gets there in time!!

Are you going to visit Cliff??

Wed Jan 25, 11:34:00 AM CST

Anonymous said...
Trying to find runza hut history on the internet, your brief note is the best I've found yet. I first had one in 1950 and it was love at first taste. I guess the franchise bought the recipie, but those mass-produced ones aren't quite the same. Sure was sorry to find on one of my visits to Lincoln that the original hut was gone.

Thu Aug 24, 08:50:00 PM CDT

Jim said...
Thanks, "Anonymous," for checking my blog out on the Runzas.
I got the founder names from the Runza site.
Like you, I'm saddened that the original place is gone. And I really don't know when it left.
My ex was from Lincoln, but even way back then I didn't go out there but once in the 50s.
If you return here, you can tell me your Runza story and what else you found, or e-mail me,at

Thu Aug 24, 10:00:00 PM CDT
I made runza's by scratch (Mrs. Jim gave me her recipe). But I sure made'em different from the picture there.

I make thin little crusts. For my ethnic husband, I put LOTSA garlic.

I tried them with soy meat, too, and my husband liked 'em.
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