The year in Lincoln dining revolved around beer, with several new tap rooms — some with kitchens — opening throughout the city.
Two of those — Green Flash and Local Beer, Patio & Kitchen — ended up on my top five list for 2018.
Top honors, however, went to Bourbon Street by Single Barrel, which brought a taste of New Orleans to Lincoln’s Railyard. Bourbon Street features fresh seafood boils in its location beneath the cube on Canopy Street. There’s nothing really like it anywhere else in Lincoln.
Ground Zero reviewed 22 restaurants in 2018. I ranked my top five based on food quality, service and atmosphere. Here’s a rundown of the favorites I reviewed this past year:
1. Bourbon Street by Single Barrel, 300 Canopy St.
The restaurant gives you a bib and gloves; you bring the appetite. Bourbon Street features boils of fresh mussels, shrimp, crab legs and more as well as some tasty gumbo and New Orleans-themed drinks such as hurricanes and sazeracs. It’s a welcome addition to Lincoln’s dining scene. (Reviewed June 1)
2. Cactus by Venue, 5500 S. 56th St., Suite 1
The restaurant offers unique twists on popular Mexican favorites such as enchiladas, tacos and more in one of Lincoln’s more attractive dining spaces (check out the murals in the main dining room). The new eatery also boasts a pretty darn good margarita, too. (Dec. 14)
3. Green Flash Brewhouse & Eatery, 1630 P St.
Food is often an afterthought for restaurants specializing in beer, but not at Green Flash. The menu is one of kind. I’ve encountered others, besides my wife and I, who rave about the pear toast, a crostini topped with Asian pear, garlic chive and lemon chevre, honey, bee pollen and crushed pistachios. It’s a must-try. (Sept. 14)
Enjoy dining? Get the latest reviews and food news sent to your inbox
4. Screamers, 803 Q St., Suite 150
This one makes the list for its novel musical concept, with its name coming from the nickname for Scarlet and Cream Singers, the former show choir at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While dining, patrons can enjoy staffers taking turns at the microphone singing showtunes, pop songs and American songbook standards. Ray Miller, the late Scarlet & Cream founder, would have been proud. (Feb. 23)
5. Local Beer, Patio & Kitchen, 5730 Hidcote Drive, Suite 2
The gastropub in southeast Lincoln not only has more than 100 craft beers to try, it also has fried bierocks — pastry-wrapped ground beef, cabbage and American cheese. They pair nicely with a pale ale. (June 29)