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Dining: Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar-East

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Game day at Big Red East

Husker game day at Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar-East.

It takes a little bit for Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar-East to roll off the tip of the tongue.

But the name is important.

Located on the eastern fringe of Lincoln, the establishment is one that reflects values to each element – dining and sports enjoyment – merging the two into a comfortable and inviting atmosphere that accommodates both.

Opened in June 2017, Big Red East is one of the components of the Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bars with locations in Fremont, Norfolk and Omaha, as well as the Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar-West in Lincoln.

The East location is helmed by General Manager Troy Olson, who has had an almost 20-year relationship with the Big Red establishments. The Big Red Restaurants & Sports Bars are part of the EHPV Management Group headquartered in Omaha.

GM Troy Olson

General Manager Troy Olson is happy to pull a draft for Big Red East customers.

The decision to add a Big Red East to Lincoln’s restaurant and sports venues was based on the expansion and growth of businesses and neighborhoods in the area.

Olson said that Big Red East offers great food and service with activities for patrons of all preferences and ages. “We have a diverse menu and appeal to different demographics,” he said.

An abundant menu of dishes plus daily specials fulfill the restaurant claim, while 50-some television screens are tuned to sports action – including individual booth screens – and Keno wagering is available for those who wish to add to the sporting element.

Big Red East outdoor entrance

Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar-East opened in June 2017 at 8933 Andermatt Drive.

Olson said the Keno options are low-key and not anything that interferes with the family atmosphere.

Big Red East’s noontime crowd is generally composed of retirees, construction workers, business professionals and families, with families making up most of the dinner customers. Weekends tend to attract more college and professional sports fans.

“It is a balance between sports and family dining,” Olson said. Families and group gatherings are invited to reserve space for large parties, he added.

The quality and quantity of Big Red East’s menu is a robust one, featuring plenty of options for diners.

Thirteen different appetizers are offered, including Famous Fries, Bavarian Pretzels & Craft Beer Cheese, Meatball & Marinara, Hand Breaded Boneless Chicken Wings, Big Red’s Famous Wings, Pickle Fries, Mozzarella Sticks, Macho Nachos, Onion Rings, Truffle Fries, Chips & Salsa, Potato Skins and Chicken Quesadilla. Costs range from $6.99 for the Chips & Salsa to $23.99 for 18 of Big Red’s Famous Wings.

Macho Nachos

Macho Nachos are among 13 appetizers offered on the menu.

Salad choices include Taco, Traditional Salad, Dinner Salad, Buffalo Blue, Chef, Southwest Chicken and Chicken Caesar ($9.99-$14.99). Soup of the Day is $3.99/cup or $4.99/bowl. Soup and salad is $6,98.

Popular sports bar picks are burgers, and Big Red East has 11 choices for diners – Deluxe Cheeseburger and Patty Melt (each $10.99); Bacon Cheeseburger, Mushroom or Bacon Blue ($11.99); Western or Spicy Jalapeno ($12.99); Bacon Me Crazy or Anytime ($13.99); Bacon Double ($15.99); and for the brave of heart, the Big Red Challenge (three half-pound burgers, six slices of bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, $19.99).

Under Sandwiches, a dozen offerings are wedged between the Grilled Cheese ($7.99) and Hand Breaded Chicken ($12.99). Other options include Hot Beef, French Dip, BLT, Club, Turkey Bacon Club, Grilled Chicken, Buffalo Blue Chicken, Elephant Ear, Philly and Reuben.

Big Red Challenge

The Big Red Challenge is among 11 burger choices at Big Red East.

Six choices are listed under Big Red Favorites – Big Red Wrap or Spicy Jalapeno Wrap ($10.99), Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders or Beer Battered Fish ($13.99), Bacon Macaroni & Cheese ($14.99) and Golden Fried Shrimp ($15.99).

Dinners – including choices of two sides and a dinner roll – include Hand Breaded Chicken (boneless chicken breast, pan fried and smothered in gravy) or Chicken Fried Steak (8 oz. breaded beef smothered in gravy) at $15.99, and 10 oz. hand-cut, charbroiled New York Strip Steak at $22.99.

According to Olson, customer favorites include either one of Big Red East’s deluxe burgers, its Philly sandwich or any of the restaurant’s hand-breaded chicken dishes.

Big Red East's Philly sandwich

Big Red East's Philly sandwich.

Olson also said that the restaurant’s daily lunch, dinner and drink specials are popular with customers. The specials often include dishes that are not regularly on the menu.

Melodi Szymczak, director of marketing for EHPV, said that Big Red East has received several dining awards including the Lincoln Journal Star’s Lincoln’s Choice Award for Best Bar Food in 2020, 2021 and 2022. It also received the Best Sports Bar award for 2021 in the Best of Lincoln competition (KFOR FM 103.3, 1240 AM, KX 96.9, 106.3 KFRX, 92.9 The Eagle, 104-1 THE Blaze and ESPN 1480).

The popularity of Big Red East, according to Olson, is that it is simply a quality family restaurant with flavorful and appealing dishes and quality sports action coverage.

“That is why there is ‘Restaurant’ and ‘Sports’ in the name,” Szymczak added.

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