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Classroom comfort combo meal

Destination Dining

February 16, 2020

Story By: Elima Pangorang |

Here’s a little imagination game for all of you Dining Out readers: Think back to when you were a kid in grade school, and it was the day of your favorite lunch fixings. What comes to mind? Corn chowder and grilled cheese? Kalua pork and rice? How about roast turkey with gravy? Talk about bringing back some simple mouthwatering memories!

Well for kids in Lincoln, Nebraska their nostalgic comfort food during school lunches was chili and cinnamon roll — yes, you read that right. Because of its popularity, this Nebraskan combo meal eventually made its way off school grounds and into restaurants across the U.S. Midwest.

Now embedded into the hearts of many diners, the sweet, savory and spicy mix can be considered a Midwest staple — and here’s where to start off your adventure in Lincoln.

1. Runza
5310 S. 56th St., Lincoln (Plus 81 other locations statewide)
(402) 421-9117
runza.com

With a total of 85 locations in the U.S. (81 in Nebraska, two in Iowa, one in Kansas and two in Colorado), Runza is a top contender in the chili and cinnamon roll world. The eatery is a common go-to for the beloved duo for a quick fix thanks to its several locations and fast service. The combo meal is served with a hearty homemade chili full of welcomed chunks of ground beef, veggies and beans, and of course, paired with a warm and toasty cinnamon roll lightly drizzled with icing.

PHOTO COURTESY RUNZA

2. Tina’s Cafe and Catering
616 South St., Lincoln
(402) 435-9404
tinascafelincoln.com

There’s nothing like walking into a good-ol’ fashioned brick and mortar restaurant boasting feel-good eats and homey vibes, which is exactly what Tina’s Cafe and Catering offers to all who enter. The chili and cinnamon roll here is a favorite among locals and visitors and with one look at the dish, it’s no wonder why. This unique and irresistible presentation features a hollowed-out cinnamon roll filled with a generous portion of luxuriant chili, sure to warm the soul.

PHOTO COURTESY TINA’S CAFE AND CATERING

Ilima Awards 2018
Hawaii's Best 2018