What happens when a restaurant that has a 32-year relationship with customers closes and a new restaurant opens in its location?
That is the situation that Ben Boyer – general manager of Tanner’s Bar & Grill – had to address when the sports bar/restaurant remodeled and opened on the site of the former Grandmother’s at 70th and A streets last October.
Nothing to worry about, according to Boyer, relating that while the reaction of former Grandmother’s customers to the new restaurant was mixed, it was also respectful.
“Some were real excited to see us open,” he said. “Others were a bit disappointed that the menu was different.
“We were not trying to be Grandmother’s,” he explained. “We are a family-oriented sports bar and restaurant, where Mom and Dad and the kids and grandparents can all come in for a bite to eat, and stick around afterward to watch a game on one of the eatery’s 30-plus television monitors.”
In addition to the Tanner’s at 70th and A streets, Boyer is general manager for the Tanner’s located at 30th and Yankee Hill Road, which has been open since November 2013. The group that owns Tanner’s also has five Tanner’s in Omaha and a bar/restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin.
According to Boyer, ownership had planned on multiple Tanner’s locations in Lincoln, and when the opportunity presented itself after Grandmother’s had closed, they acted on it.
“There are not a large number of sports bars in this part of town, especially with such a good location next to a busy intersection and Seacrest Field so close,” he said.
Boyer is looking forward to football season, as Tanner’s hopes to take advantage of its prime location for before and after high school game patronage.
“We are located between Seacrest Field and Pius’ field with easy access for fans,” he said. “We will even reserve a section for coaches and their teams for pre- or post-game meals.”
Regular patronage consists of a lunch crowd of business professionals and senior citizens. Evening diners include families and kids, as well as some business people and seniors.
Both of the Lincoln Tanner’s share the same menu items, with the alcohol offerings at the 70th and A location a bit different because of a smaller bar space.
The restaurant touts its wings, burgers and chicken lips as its claim to fame. Boyer said that Tanner’s wings are prepared on the grill and tossed in sauce. “I’ll put them up against any in town,” he said.
Boyer added that the chicken lips (boneless chicken strips) are not just kid food. “They are delicious.” And the burgers – or Boogas as per the menu – are half-pound Angus beef and something special.
Nineteen items ranging from mini burritos and corndogs to cheese curds, popcorn shrimp, quesadillas and nachos from $3.99 to $10.99 populate the Tanner’s Teasers column. Nine salad options ($3.49 to $10.49) are available, plus chili and chicken tortilla soup at $2.99/cup or $4.49/bowl.
Jumbo wings are $10.99/12 or $19.99/24 with sauce choices including Charred, Teriyaki, Blair, Garlic Pepper, Buffalo BBQ, Buffalo, Lemon Pepper and Spicy Hawaiian – the latter being the customer favorite, Boyer said.
From Original Battered to Battered, Blaired & Charred; Grilled & Blackened; Battered, Garlic Peppered & Charred; and six other options, a helping of Chicken Lips will cost between $7.49 and $8.49.
Look for 11 different burger choices: Black & Bleu Booga, Blair Bleu Bacon Booga, Nic-O-Booga, Swishroom Booga, Bacon Cheese Booga, Tano Booga, Bare Booga, Bleu Bacon Booga, the Big K Booga, Mad Town Booga and the Maui-Waui Booga. The burger prices run from $7.99-$10.99.
A few examples of seven sandwiches include the Blue Ribbon Reuben ($8.99), Hot Lip Chicken ($8.99) and Steak sandwich ($11.99). A grilled 12 oz. K.C. Strip steak is $14.99.
Tanner’s baskets offer diners 15 different choices costing $4.49 to $9.99 and range from Melts du Jour to Orleans Club, Philly, Chicken Mesquite, Southwest Turkey, Grilled Cheese and more.
(Boyer said that corporate changes four or five menu items each year, which should occur about the time this L Magazine is distributed. While a few items might be different, he said the majority of the menu will remain the same.)
Boyer is optimistic about Tanner’s making its presence in Lincoln this fall as a quality sports bar/restaurant.
“Tanner’s offers great food that is consistent in its quality, nice cold beer, and one doesn’t have to move their head around to watch a game,” he concluded.