April Henke earned college degrees in teaching, but discovered her passion was in food service.
After working several years at two different bars in New Orleans, she has returned home to run her own restaurant. In August, she bought the Red Fox Steakhouse at 1339 West O St. from Don Arena, who opened the restaurant in 1989.
“I remembered going there in college with friends,” Henke said. “I had good memories of it while I was here. When I got back, I asked a lot of people their impression of it. I received very positive input.”
Arena, who also owns the Fox Neighborhood Grill at 1245 Libra Drive, No. 110, near Lincoln Southwest High School, said he sold the Red Fox to free up time for himself.
“I’m at that point where I want to enjoy life,” said Arena, whose been in the bar/food service business since 1976. “In this business, you have to be dedicated. You have to be there everyday, and at some point you say to yourself ‘I’m not going to be here forever.’”
Henke grew up in Beaver Crossing and graduated from Centennial High School in Utica and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2006, she moved to New Orleans where she began teaching elementary education and earned a master’s degree.
While she taught, she also worked part time at a bar. Then, about a year ago, she started working full time at a bar and taught part time.
“I really, really liked management of the bars,” she said. “I liked being able to market them and see the trends.”
She said she liked it so much, she wanted to own her own place, but had trouble finding anything that suited her in the Big Easy. Her mother in Beaver Crossing suggested she take a look in Lincoln. That’s where she found the Red Fox, with an owner ready to sell.
Henke's made a few changes, most notably allowing her kitchen manager, Becky Conrad, freedom to experiment with the lunch specials. Last week, for instance, Conrad made chicken cream enchiladas as the lunch special.
“They were gone before noon,” Henke said.
But for the most part, she’s hasn’t messed with what’s worked since 1989 -- that’s serving affordable steaks, burgers, salads and comfort food at affordable prices. She’s also kept Sunday’s “Burger Madness,” which features a plain hamburger and potato chips for $2.99.
“There were two things I knew I couldn’t change,” she said. “The food and atmosphere.”
The Red Fox opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight, later if there’s still a bar crowd. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, go to theredfoxsteakhouse.com or call 402-438-3300.
Source. Eat Fit. opens third store
Brother and sister Matt Zimmerman and Dawn Steffen on Sunday opened their third Source. Eat Fit.
The new store, which specializes in chef-made, healthy to-go meals, is at 5020 N. 26th St. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Phone is 531-500-5764.
The original Source opened November 2014 at 1701 Pine Lake Road. Zimmerman and Steffen opened a second store, at 4400 S. 70th St., Suite 110, in March 2016.
For more information, go to sourceeatfit.com.
Brewsky’s rolls out new menu
Brewsky’s Food & Spirits has added 11 new items -- its biggest menu-item increase it its 28-year history.
The new menu includes a Philly section, featuring spinach artichoke, garlic parmesan, habanero and gyro Phillys as a sandwich or a wrap. Brewsky’s brought back the tuna melt and added four new gourmet burgers, two sandwiches and an appetizer.
Brewsky’s has four locations in Lincoln: 201 N. Eighth St., 2662 Cornhusker Highway, 1602 South St. and 2840 S. 70th St. For more information, go to brewskys.com.
Graduate presents holiday lights tour
On Dec. 21, Graduate Lincoln, 141 N. Ninth St., will serve wine and appetizers followed by a two-hour tour of local holiday lights in a limousine bus. The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and available at eventbrite.com. All proceeds benefit CEDARS Home for Children.