On our Spring Break trip home from Breckenridge, we once again opted to stay in Lincoln, NE. It's about halfway home, has several hotels that have one or two bedrooms (important to a family of 6), and we had really enjoyed the university vibe when we visited on our way to go skiing.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which boasts an indoor pool (unfortunately not heated), a manager's evening reception (amazing, lots of food, drink, and energy), and a made-to-order breakfast along with the typical breakfast buffet. It's also centrally located, so easy to get on and off the Interstate. Besides the cold pool, the only other negative is that one must pay for parking, as the hotel does not have parking facilities.
I really wanted Chinese food, but oddly enough there is no Chinese restaurant within walking distance of the hotel, at least that we were aware of. On foot we headed for the Haymarket district, hoping to find something that would work for everyone, from our nearly 2 year old to this part-time vegan. Wandering around, we happened upon Brix and Stone Gastropub, which had an attractive outside seating area (marred by a huge banner announcing their Easter buffet).
Inside the decor was somewhat commonplace and avantgarde simultaneously. Soothing colors, neon, multiple television sets, a rear seating area and lots of art all added up to an interesting place to sit and look around. My one true criticism is that the paintings hanging behind each table are not securely affixed to the walls and we nearly knocked a few off the wall several times.
A really yummy sunflower bread started us off, quickly devoured. We opted to skip the appetizers and ordered entrees, quickly delivered. I had the Brocollini Pasta (cavatappi, brocollini, mushrooms, parmesan cream, parmesan), my wife the Whiskey Steak (grilled flat iron, whiskey sauce, green and red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, smashed baby red potatoes, stuffed poblano pepper), while our oldest son impulsively ordered the Chicken N' Waffle (house fried chicken, egg nog waffle, strawberry butter, maple syrup). The pasta was one of the best noodle dishes I've had in recent memory, the steak dinner was really good, and the only thing wrong with the fried chicken was that it had bones in it (this from an 11-year old).
A great surprise was that, even though they didn't have kids' menus, they offered quite a selection of items, really inexpensively priced. Our two sons enjoyed their macaroni and cheese (no elbow mac here!), while my daughter's pizza was one of the best I've ever had, bar none - pretty amazing for something off the children's menu!
Service was decent but definitely not great - our server was obviously quite new, while the table next to us had a plate dropped on and near them. The manager (owner?) was prompt in responding to the problem, which is a good sign. One thing I've never understood is why it's difficult to pay in some restaurants, especially when they can see you have multiple young children.
I was really surprised by the high quality of food, along with the inventiveness of the cooking. Definitely a place worth seeking out when visiting or eating out in Lincoln - just make sure you bring a child so you can sample the pizza!
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