Yowie’s Lodge is a restaurant for everyone.
That wasn’t necessarily case with the sports bar’s predecessor, the “breastaurant” Twin Peaks that closed in December, less than two years after opening at 800 Q St.
“We believe the change opens us up to all of Lincoln,” operating partner and general manager Kevin Drought said. “Twin Peaks was geared toward guys. We want to be family-friendly. We want to appeal to everyone.”
Yowie’s opened in the Twins Peaks location more than two months ago. It’s named for the Australian equivalent to the North American Bigfoot.
The new restaurant retains Twins Peaks’ lodge-like feel and look, but gone are the scantily clad female servers. They've been replaced by women in jeans and nonrevealing polo shirts.
The menu is different, too. The concept is still American grill, but the offerings -- ranging from hamburgers and sandwiches to steaks and salmon -- are different.
Twin Peaks was the third “breastaurant” to fail in Lincoln, following on the heels of Hooters on O Street and the Tilted Kilt at Gateway Mall.
“My wife was one of those (who refused to go into Twin Peaks),” Drought said. “She told me, ‘I’m not going in and our kids aren’t going in there.’”
Drought and the bar's owners discovered many more people felt the same way.
“We’re seeing a lot of new faces,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on Facebook. Our goal is to put more butts in the seats.”
The menu is typical of a sports bar. What’s different are some of the choices. The burger lineup, for example, includes a bison burger and an elk burger ($12.50). I ordered the elk burger, which, in comparison to a hamburger, is denser. It also tasted great. Sticking with the wilderness theme, the menu also includes a venison chili.
Journal Star sports editor Clark Grell ordered the combo basket ($15), which included coconut shrimp, breaded chicken tenders and fried catfish that came with cocktail, tartar and spicy, mayonnaise-based dipping sauces. It was a lot of fried food, but he enjoyed it.
The best bet is to try Chef Kyle Fessler’s daily special. Past specials have included a blackened Mako shark, a kangaroo burger and a “mountain man” bratwurst with five kinds of meat in it.
Our sodas, by the way, were just $1 each with free refills. Grade: B.
Yowie’s is one of Lincoln’s finest-looking restaurants. It resembles a hunting lodge, with sturdy wooden tables and chairs, leather couches, a fireplace and lots of decor referencing moose and pine trees. Check out the bar, which sits in the middle the restaurant. The top is made from some kind of a tree and is just gorgeous.
Since it’s a sports bar, the restaurant features 60 TVs, including a handful on the outdoor patio. One of my previous complaints about Twin Peaks was the noise. The bar played its music too loud. That wasn’t so during our lunch visit. The music provided ambiance rather than a distraction. Grade: A
I was uncomfortable during my visit to Twin Peaks. I’m no prude, but I just kept thinking these servers in very little clothing were somebody’s daughters. I didn’t feel that way at Yowie’s.
We had a nice young woman who was good at her job. She answered our questions about the menu, checked on us regularly during our visit and refilled our sodas without asking. Grade: A.
The menu includes no vegetarian or designated gluten-free fare. The only vegetarian fare is a couple of appetizers (fried pickle basket, chipotle queso with chips and truffle fries) and a Caesar’s salad. The bar may want to consider another salad and a sandwich or two. Grade: D