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Knowing dollars are tight, especially for eating out, Fireworks has become more progressive with its menu.

The south Lincoln restaurant introduced "lighter lunches" last fall, and a lot of diners still may not know about them.

The menu includes half sandwiches with soup, salad (house or Caesar) or side dish, half salads with soup or side and personal-sized pizzas. The specials, which run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m daily, range from $6 to $8.

Fireworks also has added several medium-priced entrees to the regular menu, including chicken enchiladas ($10.99) and chicken and biscuits ($10.99).

"We know everything is tight right now for everybody," said Fireworks co-owner Jay Jarvis. "We thought we would reduce prices on our great, from-scratch products."

That's not all. Fireworks also has resurrected some menu items from JaBriSco, the eatery it replaced in 2002.

Back are the pepperoni (Midnight Special) and barbecue chicken (Bird, BBQ & Beyond) pizzas as well as the pinto beans as a side dish. Fireworks also is rotating JaBriSco pasta dishes on a weekly basis. This week it's the Philly Cheesesteak pasta.

The idea behind Fireworks' menu changes is twofold. The restaurant is providing more affordable options, but it also hopes to increase its traffic.

Weekends are busy, but the eatery's out-of-the-way location at 86th Street and Old Cheney Road often makes it an afterthought on weekdays, especially for lunch - even after two years.

Parent company Telesis, Inc., opened Fireworks in February 2007 in a 7,500 square-foot building, moving it from downtown where it had been since 2002 when it replaced JaBriSco.

Fireworks is one of Lincoln's top locally owned restaurants, specializing in woodfire cooking and Telesis' Empyrean Ales. It's also one of the most attractive, though noise can be an issue on busy nights.

The "lighter lunches" and menu additions make Fireworks a viable alternative anytime. My co-worker and I stopped in earlier this week and came away quite pleased.

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She had half a Greek Vegetarian Sandwich ($5.99) with a rich cup of cauliflower and gorgonzola soup. The sandwich featured a hickory grilled portabella mushroom cap with pepperoncinis, roasted red peppers and feta cheese on toasted ciabatta.

I enjoyed a prime rib pizza ($7.79), which also included onions, mushrooms, sweet peppers, cream cheese, horseradish and Jack, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Had we stayed away from the $2.19 sodas, we could have gotten out of there for less than $15 total. That's very reasonable.

When it comes lunchtime, you may not think about Fireworks, but I suggest you consider it the next time around.

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

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