Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Searching for a Great Breakfast!

We are always looking for that elusive restaurant…the one that serves the best breakfast around!  We were in Omaha and our son and his wife suggested a couple of restaurants for a family breakfast.  I got on-line and did some research to see what I could find.  I shot down one idea that had been suggested because although the menu was creative, it was just too ‘fussy’ for my taste…

Then I found what looked like the ideal breakfast joint…at least from our viewpoint!


This is Vidlak’s Brookside Café…a family owned restaurant that has been in business for 18 years now.  The on-line reviews were generally favorable and I really liked what I saw on the menu.  It was “Breakfast 101” with enough variations to be interesting.


The interior of Vidlak’s was plain and simple, just what I would expect from a local family owned restaurant.  It’s all about the food at the right price…especially since I was buying for the 6 of us!  The restaurant was clean and the service prompt.  Coffee came promptly and it kept coming… 



This is the “Gut Buster”, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 large sausage patties and 2 German potato pancakes…served with either toast or a couple of silver dollar pancakes. ($8.49) It received high praise from David II!

The menu includes 6 different Egg and Potato Casseroles; 6 different scrambles (including roasted turkey breast and broccoli topped with hollandaise sauce); 9 old fashioned favorites; 4 ‘Benedicts’; 8 Pan Omelets and; a plethora of pancakes, French toast and other items.  There is also a kid’s menu.


Our grandson, David III, is a growing boy! (Almost 14 years old) He ordered the French Toast ($4.49), an order of Hash Browns ($1.99), and a couple of sausage patties ($2.49).  He was a happy camper!

His brother, Emmett Lee (soon to be 11), had cereal…


The table was awash in Biscuits and Gravy! (Half Order - $2.99/Full Order $4.99) The biscuits were good and the sausage gravy was loaded with pieces of sausage.  It was given a score of 4 out of a possible 5 by our table.  It wasn’t the best ever but it was pretty good…


I’ll bet you can guess whose breakfast this was?!  Yours truly went for the Hungry Man’s Breakfast. ($8.49) It consisted of 3 eggs over easy, 3 strips of bacon, 3 sausage links and some very nice hash browns… I chose the toast over the pancakes so I could make a sandwich and mop up the yokes!  This was a very good and satisfying breakfast…


My picture of our daughter-in-law’s breakfast didn’t come out well… She had a breakfast scramble.  This is Laurie’s breakfast…the basic!  Two eggs over easy (perfectly done), 4 nice slices of bacon and hash browns done medium crispy, just the way she likes them! Another winner for sure…



I think that Amy ordered this Cinnamon Roll on the side. ($2.99) It was as advertised…gooey, hot and delicious!  Looking back at the menu, I noticed Cinnamon Roll French Toast ($4.99).  Maybe the next time!

We all enjoyed our breakfasts!  The prices were reasonable too… This may not be the best breakfast ever, but it was superior to 90% of the places we’ve eaten at.  We will return to Vidlak’s during future visits to Omaha.

Vidlak’s Brookside Café is located at 156th and West Center in Omaha Nebraska.  Phone: 402-330-0914.  Website: http://www.vidlakscafe.com/.  Vidlak’s is on Facebook as well.  Go to https://www.facebook.com/VidlaksBrooksideCafe.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


Monday, October 20, 2014

History Along Nebraska's Highways (Part II)

Continuing with our brief visit to southern Nebraska… As we moved westward along the Lincoln Highway (US Hwy 30), we continued to search for places that are listed on the National Register of Historical Places.  Our efforts always ensure that we take a better look at the communities that we’re passing through…and we learn a little bit about history too!


As per its listing on the Nebraska National Historic Sites website, this is the IOOF Opera House.  It was built by James M. and Joshua Cox in Hampton Nebraska.  This two-story brick building originally housed retail businesses on the first level, with the opera house and Independent Order of the Odd Fellows meeting hall on the second floor.  The stage has a wooden proscenium arch and a vintage curtain, depicting a nude with flower garlands, fringes, and tassels.  

As the last frontier approached an end, nearly every town of any distinction on the Plains boasted an opera house. The term "opera house" was preferred over theater" since opera was considered a highly respected art form rather than mere popular amusement, even though grand opera itself was seldom actually performed.  What the management offered on its stage depended primarily on the town’s proximity to a railroad, which in the late nineteenth century served as the major link to the outside world.  Whether or not opera troupes ever sang for local audiences, an opera house was viewed as the crowning achievement…re: tangible proof that a town had come of age!  In addition to performances per se, these ‘opera’ houses provided a venue for community gatherings and activities.


There wasn’t much going on in Hampton…and yet there was obviously pride in the community with these colorful flower baskets hanging from the old fashioned looking light poles.  This building wasn’t listed on the National Register but I liked the look of it… It was the First National Bank and the dates on this building are 1884 and 1912.  It looks more like a 1912 structure to me…with modifications. 

Hampton, which was originally called Murray, was surveyed and platted in 1879.  Joshua Cox of Illinois was the driving force behind Hampton’s founding.  The town was incorporated in 1883.  Hampton quickly became a local shipping center for agricultural goods—in 1887 the Hampton railroad station shipped out 1,065 railroad cars of grain!  Today the population of Hampton has declined to just over 400 residents.

Hampton was the center of a celebrated legal case regarding the teaching of foreign languages. As per a 1919 Nebraska law, the ‘Siman Act’ imposed restrictions on both the use of a foreign language as a medium of instruction and on foreign languages as a subject of study.  With respect to the use of a foreign language while teaching, it provided that "No person, individually or as a teacher, shall, in any private, denominational, parochial or public school, teach any subject to any person in any language other than the English language."  The law was struck down by the Supreme Court.  To learn more, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meyer_v._Nebraska.


This is a view from the courthouse square in Aurora Nebraska.  Aurora is just 6 miles from Hampton and it’s the county seat for Hamilton County.  Note the brick streets.  Laurie and I saw more brick streets in Nebraska than we’ve seen in many, many years.  The good news is that people do not speed on brick pavement! 


This is the bandstand in Aurora’s very attractive courthouse square.  The bandstand dates back to the late 1800’s…very classic indeed!

The current population of Aurora is roughly 4,500.  The town was laid out in 1871 by David Stone…who named it after his home town of Aurora Illinois.  The Burlington and Missouri Railroad came to town in 1879 and that spurred a period of fast growth. 


This impressive structure is the Hamilton County Courthouse in Aurora Nebraska.  This massive red limestone building was built back in 1895 and its construction cost was $60,000!  In today’s dollars, that would come to roughly $1,720,000…


While in Aurora, we were also looking for this historic building…but all we found was a vacant lot on the corner.  It was originally called the Royal Highlanders Building.  Designed after the Balmoral Castle in Scotland, construction on the building began in 1904 for the Royal Highlander Insurance Company.  It was originally known as the Royal Highlander Douglas Castle No. 1.  The building, which sat on Aurora’s courthouse square, was destroyed by fire on July 10, 2008. 


While checking out what had happened to the Royal Highlanders Building, I ran across some information on the company that built it.  This photo is of the Royal Highlanders drill team from Ida Grove, Iowa.  The Royal Highlanders was originally a fraternal insurance organization.

There were two classes of membership, benefit and social.  The ritual of the Royal Highlanders was based on the story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in their struggle for Scottish independence, and was intended to teach “Prudence, Fidelity and Valor”.  Degree teams wearing kilts and glengarries and carrying shields and swords initiated new members into the Order.

In 1930, the Order numbered some 17,000 members, both men and women, with “extensive investments” in Nebraska farmland.  Seven years later, the Order reincorporated to become a mutual life insurance company, and it was renamed as Lincoln Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1946.


Many of the buildings surrounding Aurora’s courthouse square are over 100 years old.  Almost all of the structures were occupied…always a great sign in a rural community in this day and age.  These 3 buildings are dated 1908, 1904 and 1899.

Factoids:
·        Harold Eugene Edgerton was from Aurora.  He was the inventor of the strobe light and for strobe flash photography. 
·        In 2003, the largest hailstone recorded in US history fell near Aurora.  It measured over 7 inches across.  However, in 2010 a hailstone was recovered in Vivian South Dakota that set a new record for size and weight.  It was over 8 inches across and weighed almost 2 lbs.  Those dimensions were documented after some melting occurred when it was preserved in a freezer where the power had been out for a few hours! (FYI…a soccer ball is 8.6 inches across) 


Moving west we crossed the beautiful Platte River near Grand Island Nebraska.  The Platte River is a major river in the state of Nebraska.  Measured to its farthest source via its tributary, the North Platte River, this watershed flows for over 1,050 miles!  It is a tributary of the Missouri River.  Over most of its length, the Platte is a muddy, broad, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands—a braided stream.  These characteristics made it too difficult for canoe travel, and it was never used as a major navigation route by European-American trappers or explorers.

However, the Platte River Valley did play an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman trails.  The first Europeans to see the Platte were French explorers and fur trappers about 1714.  They first called it the Nebraskier, a transliteration of the name given to the river by the Otoe people, meaning "flat water".


Our next stop was Grand Island Nebraska.  Grand Island is the county seat for Hall County.  This imposing structure is the Liederkranz… In 1870, German settlers met to organize a German singing society or "Liederkranz" to provide musical and social entertainment and to cultivate the members' musical talents.  This large brick building, constructed in 1911-12, was designed by a Liederkranz member, and it demonstrates influences of the Neo-Classical Revival style.  The hall has long been a community meeting place, an auditorium for civic activities, and a polling place.

There will be more on Grand Island and its historic building in a forthcoming posting, but that’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit and a brief historical tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 17, 2014

You Win Some and You Lose Some!

So… We were in Omaha visiting our son, his wife and our grandsons and it was time for dinner.  David and Amy took us to a great looking semi-upscale restaurant that they hadn’t been to before. 

As the title of this blog indicates…you win some and you lose some!


This is Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill in Omaha Nebraska.  The exterior was interesting and promising but perhaps we should have heeded the storm clouds.  They were a harbinger of what was to come…

Note: My photos for this blog are mostly blurry...which is fitting given our overall dining experience.


The interior of Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill was a nice mix of warm wood and color offset by an industrial style ceiling and doors.  

Our first problem was encountered when we were waiting for a table for the 6 of us.  The hostess had failed to give Amy one of their vibrating units to let us know when our table was ready.  Fortunately, one of the staffers who were seating patrons found us and took us to our table.
 

One positive finding was unanimous…the drinks at Lazlo’s were very good!  David II and I liked the beer, the boys were happy plus Amy and Laurie enjoyed their mixed drinks.


Despite the fact that this photo is blurry, I liked David III’s successful effort to photo bomb this portrait I took of his parents!

Service was slow.  Our waiter was nice enough but he wasn’t very efficient.  As a matter of fact, I watched the staff and management from my vantage point near the grill and they seemed disorganized and perhaps a bit unhappy.  This wasn’t an effective team designed to provide great service to Lazlo’s customers… 


This appetizer was another positive in our experience at Lazlo’s.  This is Lazlo's Original Lahvosh – sweet cracker bread topped with melted Havarti cheese, baked with any three toppings of one’s choice: tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, bacon bits, turkey, ham, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, or jalapeños.  It was very good!

Note: The dark portion in the photo is just a shadow…


Amy ordered the Fresh Salmon entrée.  She’d requested butter sauce for the salmon…but our waiter forgot to bring it.  The salmon was a bit dry.  The green beans were a little too undercooked. They should be a firm but not almost raw. 
Both David II and Amy had Lazlo’s Beer Soup.  Neither of them liked it.  I tasted the soup and I felt that it had a strong and strange flavor. 
  

This is a terrible photo…but it is appropriate too.  Emmett Lee (10 years old) had this cheeseburger.  It’s one of the few foods he eats, but he didn’t really like it, giving it a score of 3 out of 10! 


Laurie and I both had Caesar Salads with our entrees.  Caesar would have been unhappy too!  These salads had no flavor at all…bland to the extreme…


For our entrees, we went with the Voodoo Chicken, boneless breasts blackened with Cajun spices then topped with a three-cheese sauce.  The chicken seemed to have been pre-frozen and it was saved only by the cheese sauce.  Our opinion of the coleslaw may be a matter of taste.  It seemed to have fennel mixed in with the cabbage and we didn’t like it.

The best news about this dinner on the town was that our son and his wife paid for it!  We were all disappointed with our dining experience to include the food and service.  There are no plans for our family to make a return visit to Lazlo’s…  However, I would welcome second opinions.  Maybe we just had an inefficient waiter, ordered the wrong items from the menu or the restaurant was having a bad night.  

If you would like to try Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill, they have 3 locations, 1 in Lincoln and 2 in Omaha.  They must be doing something right as the first restaurant opened in 1991.  The Lazlo’s we visited is located at 2425 South 192nd Street in Omaha Nebraska.  Phone: 402-289-5840.  The company’s website is at http://www.lazlosbreweryandgrill.com/about.html.

Just click on any of the blurry photos if you’d like to enlarge them and critique my photographic abilities!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nebraska Railway Stations…Plus!

Well, I’m back to my railroad related theme… As we traveled a small portion of east and central Nebraska, we tried to find additional old railway stations along our route…

You win some and you lose some…


During my research I found a note that there was an old railroad depot in the town of Seward Nebraska… No wonder Laurie and I didn’t spot it!  The tracks are long gone and it was converted to a home sometime in the not too recent past.  As per a photo on the interactive maps found at depotmaps.com this is Seward’s former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railway station.
    
Note: The depotmaps.com site lists the remaining railroad depots in all of the states and it features many photos.  Check it out at http://www.depotmaps.com.


We had better luck in York Nebraska… The former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy depot here is still next to some very active railroad tracks and it was fairly easy to find.  That green tin roof looks good on this nice brick building.  I don’t know when the depot was built but I did find a 1911 postcard online showing this depot.  The postcard was for sale…and it was ‘only’ $60.00! 

The railroad first reached York back in 1877, with the Burlington, Missouri River Railroad being the first to come to town.  Shortly afterwards, The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad followed suite.  York was founded in 1869 and incorporated in 1875.  The current population is roughly 7,800…


Burlington Northern/Santa Fe is using the York depot as a line office.  The BNSF Railway is the second-largest freight railroad network in North America, second only to the Union Pacific Railroad.  BNSF has three transcontinental routes that provide high-speed links between the western and eastern United States. BNSF trains traveled over 169 million miles in 2010, more than any other North American railroad.

In 2009, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (Omaha NE) bought announced it would acquire the remaining 77.4 percent of BNSF it did not already own for $100 per share in cash and stock.  The deal was valued at $44,000,000,000!


As we drove out of town, I decided to check out the local airport.  It’s not Chicago O’Hare or Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, that’s for sure!  Nevertheless, the York Municipal Airport does have a concrete runway that is 5,898 feet long and it handles 10,500 take offs and landings per year.  It always surprises me to learn just how much air traffic local airports around country handle on a regular basis. 


This old jet on static display at the entrance to the airport is what really drew me in… During this little trip we noted at least 3 other local airports with former military aircraft on display.  I believe that this is a Grumman F-9 Cougar, an early carrier-based fighter aircraft for the United States Navy.  This plane first flew in 1951 and the last of the 1,400 that were built was retired in 1974.


This is the former Union Pacific Railroad Depot in Cozad Nebraska.  It is well preserved and it now serves as the Human Services and United Way Center for the community.  I was unable to find the date that this handsome depot was built despite a serious on-line effort.

The town of Cozad was the dream of John J. Cozad from Ohio.  In 1872, when he was traveling through the Platte valley on the Union Pacific Railroad, he saw a sign on the right-of-way bearing the words “100th Meridian.”  This particular location impressed him as being a favorable site for a town.  He purchased 40,000 acres of land from the railroad and organized a campaign to encourage people to move to Cozad.  Fittingly, the first building in town was a railroad boxcar with the name “COZAD” painted on each end.


The Union Pacific company erected a depot at Cozad and Mr. Cozad built a hotel and several other buildings in order to improve the town.  By 1876, the new town boasted a population of five or six hundred, but by the time the colonists were settled, along came the grasshoppers and everything green was destroyed.  The colonists even told stories about the grasshoppers eating the pitchfork, hoe and shovel handles too.  However, Mr. Cozad and some of the settlers persisted and the town today has a population of about 4,000. 


This retired Union Pacific caboose is on display next to the old railroad depot…

John Cozad was both a real estate developer and a gambler.  Whenever he ran short of money, he’d head back east for a bit of gambling.  He’s reputed to have won as much a $50,000 in one card game!  However, he was also known to be haughty and aloof with a violent temper.   One day when Mr. Cozad returned to town from a business trip, he was confronted by a local citizen.  The argument ended with Cozad drawing his gun and shooting the unarmed man. 

Mr. Cozad left town immediately, leaving his wife to sell his property and other assets.  She sewed the money in her skirts and in the coat pockets of her son’s as well.  The family left town. Changing their names, they eventually moved to Atlantic City New Jersey.  Their son Robert changed his name to Robert Henri.  He became a famous artist and teacher of art in New York.  Henri was a leading figure of the “Ashcan School” of American Realism.  To learn more and to check out a couple of his paintings, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henri.


Cozad is known for one other fact…as proclaimed by this sign over US 30.  In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln threw down a challenge for a railroad to be built to a specific spot on the Nebraska map. He pointed at the 100th Meridian, the current location of Cozad.  The challenge was accepted, and the Union Pacific Railroad was being built with "the workers laying new rails at a rate of one and one-half miles per day."  On October 5, 1866, the railroad reached the 100th Meridian.  

It was determined that there should be "appropriate ceremonies enacted on this ground on October 26, 1866.  The Great Excursion from Wall Street to the 100th Meridian brought 250 notables: railroad and territorial officials, congressman, financiers and newspaper men, including such dignitaries as Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln; Rutherford B. Hayes, future President of the United States; and George M. Pullman, inventor of the Pullman car.  It was the first passenger train to roll in Nebraska Territory and included the car which the year before had borne President Lincoln's body from Washington to Springfield, Illinois."

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!


Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fast Food…Pasta?!

During our visit to Omaha Nebraska, Nana (aka Laurie) and I were hanging out with our grandson Emmett Lee.  It was time for lunch so we decided to drive around a couple of the local shopping areas to look for something a bit different than the usual chains…


That’s when we ran across Newman’s Pasta Café… We didn’t know what to expect especially since the restaurant didn’t use Italian in their name.  But what the heck, we decided to give it a shot!


Like most other fast food restaurants, customers place their order at the counter and, when they call your number, you go and pick up your order.  The menu is posted on the wall to the right of the counter.

Newman’s does offer Italian pasta dishes…9 of them in total.  They also offer 5 ‘American’ pasta entrees and 4 different Asian options.  In addition, there are 4 starters/appetizers, 3 different soups and 6 salads on the menu.


The interior of the restaurant is a bit industrial but it is softened by the shape of the ceiling and the wall treatments.  It was very clean and the staff was friendly and helpful. 


Laurie ordered the Margherita Pasta. (Full order $6.99/half $4.99)  It consisted of farfalle pasta tossed with tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine and extra virgin olive oil.  It was garnished with fresh basil and Asiago cheese.  All of the pasta orders came with a soft breadstick.


Emmett’s palate is still under development… For his lunch he ordered the Noodles from the Kid’s menu. ($4.99) This curly pasta was served with buttered noodles simply topped with asiago cheese.  He was a happy camper!  

Spaghetti, Mac ‘n Cheese, Alfredo and individual cheese pizzas are the other options on the Kid’s menu.  Everything on this portion of the menu is priced at $4.99 and Kid’s drinks are only 99 cents!


When it was time for yours truly to place his order, I put the emphasis on cheese!  This is the Three Cheese offering from the Italian portion of the menu. (Full order $5.79/half $4.79) My lunch was made with cavatappi pasta with a special blend of melted cheeses and fresh cream and finished with a heap of shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.  I don’t know how Italian this entrée was, but I had no complaints!

Most of the entrees can be ordered as a half order if that’s what you’d prefer.  The most expensive entrée was only $8.99 although if you added shrimp, beef or chicken to one of the entrees as listed, the price would increase.  FYI…Beer and wine is available. 


Here are Emmett Lee, (10…soon to be 11 years old), and his Nana after finishing our lunch at Newman’s.

Newman’s isn’t serving gourmet food but that’s not the goal here.  Laurie and I liked the concept.  The food was good and the price was right.  We can envision Newman’s as a franchise operation in the near future.  For a quick, satisfying and filling meal…especially for families…this could be a popular destination.
 
Newman’s Pasta Café is located at 2559 South 171st Court in Omaha Nebraska.  Phone: 402-884-2420.  Website: http://newmanspastacafe.com/.  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newmanspastacafe. It was interesting to note that all 22 reviews of Newman’s on Trip Advisor were average or higher…with only one being average.  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60885-d966638-Reviews-Newman_s_Pasta_Cafe-Omaha_Nebraska.html

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a new restaurant experience!


Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 10, 2014

History Along Nebraska’s Highways (Part I)

As many of you have noticed, railroad depots and related rolling stock are bits of American history and I do enjoy searching and exploring their background.  But there are many, many other locations, buildings and objects across the USA that are part of our history.  As we drove across a small portion of eastern and central Nebraska, we ‘discovered’ quite a few of these local focal points. 

Here is Part I of our ‘historical’ exploration…


Yes…this is a torpedo!  It has a place of honor in front of the Saunders County Courthouse in Wahoo Nebraska.  So what the heck is a torpedo doing in the middle of the country, far away from the Ocean?  Former members of the US Navy may have the best chance of answering that question. Wahoo was a name given to a famous submarine in the US Navy…

The first USS Wahoo (SS-238) was a Gato-class submarine.  It was first United States Navy ship to be named for the wahoo, a dark blue food fish found around Florida and the West Indies.  Construction started before the U.S entered World War II, she was assigned to the Pacific theatre. She gained fame as an aggressive and highly successful submarine after Lt. Commander Dudley Walker "Mush" Morton became her skipper.  Unfortunately, she was sunk by Japanese aircraft in October 1943 while returning home from a patrol in the Sea of Japan.

The Mark 14 torpedo and a granite marker are a memorial to the U.S.S. Wahoo and its crew of 65.  The submarine was credited with sinking 20 Japanese ships.  Each October a memorial service is held at the courthouse to honor those who gave their lives in submarine warfare.  In 2006, the wreckage of the U.S.S. Wahoo was discovered in Japan’s Soya Strait.


This is a photo of the U.S.S. Wahoo during World War II. (Photo ‘borrowed’ from Wikipedia) To learn more about this submarine and its valiant crew, you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wahoo_(SS-238).


The Saunders County Courthouse itself is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Ashland Nebraska was the first Saunders County seat but after some rumored records thefts from Ashland, voters chose Wahoo as the county seat in 1873.  Within a year the first courthouse was built in Wahoo.  However, by the beginning of the 20th century the county determined that there was a need of a new home for its offices and in 1904 the present courthouse was built.  Construction costs for this massive Romanesque Revival-style building were $87,000!  If it were built today, it would cost over $2,350,000.

The memorial marker on the right, combined with the Mark 14 torpedo as previously shown, is part of the U.S.S. Wahoo Memorial. 


This is the Seward County Courthouse in the city of Seward Nebraska.  Actually, the courthouse is the centerpiece of the Seward County Courthouse Square Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The square is one of the finest nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial districts in the state.  In addition to the courthouse, there are a plethora of other structures listed in this Historic District.  To view a complete listing of the many structures included in this historic district, including photos, you can go to this site: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/histpres/nebraska/seward/SW09-Seward_Co_Crthse_Sq_HD.pdf.
 
The 3-story, limestone courthouse was constructed from 1904 to 1906.  It was designed in the County Capitol form by architect George A. Berlinghof. (c. 1862 – 1944) He was a German-born architect who designed a number of important buildings in several cities and towns in Nebraska and adjoining states.  Berlinghof remained active as an architect until 1930.  Between 1911 and 1918, he partnered with Ellery L. Davis in the firm of Berlinghof and Davis.  This company survives today as the Davis Design firm, with offices in Lincoln NE and Vermillion, SD.


This beautiful home is listed in the National Register and it is also located in Seward… The 2 and a half story Harry T. Jones house was completed in 1890.  Mr. Jones was President of the Jones National Bank and he hired none other than the aforementioned George A. Berlinghof to design his home.  This house is considered the best example of the Queen Anne style in Seward.  The property also includes a ca. 1890 brick carriage house. In addition to this home, Mr. Jones was the largest landowner in the county…

To learn more about the design and this home’s detailed description, just go to http://www.nebraskahistory.org/histpres/nebraska/seward/SW09-074_Jones_Hse.pdf.  FYI…The Jones Bank Building ca. 1874 is also included in the Seward County Courthouse Square Historic District.  


I’ve included this photo of the National Guard Armory in Seward as it recently became the home of the Nebraska National Guard Museum.  Two tanks, including a 50-ton Patton M-60 Main Battle Tank and this vintage WWII/Korean War M-4 Sherman as well as 2 Armored Personnel Carriers are on display around the exterior of the armory/museum. The museum is a work in progress with a planned dedication of this project slated for July 4, 2016.

The city of Seward was founded in 1868.  It was named after Seward County which in turn was named after William H. Seward, the acting Secretary of State under President Lincoln. (Seward was behind the purchase of Alaska from Russia) The city has a population of about 7,000 and its best known for its July 4th celebrations.  The city has celebrated our Independence Day almost every year since 1868.  Before automobiles came into general use, special trains were operated to bring people to the event.  In 1979, a resolution in the U.S. Congress named Seward "America's Official Fourth of July City—Small Town USA".  Recent attendance at this gala event has been estimated at about 40,000!

That’s it for this first chapter of our historical tour of Nebraska’s byways and highways… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breakfast at a Village Inn Restaurant

We were in Omaha Nebraska visiting our son David II, his better half Amy and our 2 grandsons, Emmett Lee and David II.  Amy and David III were out of town at a soccer tournament, the air conditioning was kaput at their new home and it was time for breakfast…


When it comes to negative restaurant experiences, I have the memory of an elephant… It had been probably 25 years since I ate at a Village Inn.  My previous very negative exposure, if my memory serves me right, was in Hannibal Missouri. (If so, that location is long gone!)

In any case, based on David II’s recommendation, I agreed to give their local Village Inn a chance of redeeming this restaurant chain…


This is the interior of the Village Inn.  It was clean and moderately busy for a late morning breakfast.

Village Inn currently has about 200 company and franchisee operated locations in 20 states, with most of them in the center of the USA west of the Mississippi and into the Rocky Mountain region.  There are 3 restaurants in Anchorage Alaska, 1 in Virginia as well as 23 in Florida.  The company was founded in Denver back in 1958.


Emmett Lee has some limited and interesting dining habits…but then again he’s 10 years old!  For breakfast, he had a Blueberry Pancake with a bit of whipped cream, applesauce, fresh fruit and a couple of strips of bacon…accompanied by a glass of chocolate milk.


David II ordered the Chicken Fried Steak with Country Sausage Country Gravy accompanied by a couple of Scrambled Eggs and some Hash Browns. ($8.49) He had Rye Toast on the side.  This is one of his favorite breakfasts, and mine too!

Laurie went with her favorite basic breakfast… She had 2 Eggs Easy-Over with 3 Bacon Strips, Hash Browns and Sourdough Toast. ($8.29) Everything was prepared to her liking… The eggs were indeed easy-over, the bacon was crisp and the hash browns were crispy brown on the outside and just right in the center.

Looking on-line at the menu, I can’t recall exactly which listed meal I ordered…but I do know that it cost $9.69.  As you can see, I had 2 Easy-Over Eggs with a Sausage Patty, a Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy, and an order of Hashbrown Potatoes.  I also had the Marble Rye Toast…

Shoney’s take note!  It is indeed possible to get off my list of terrible restaurants… After all of these years, Village Inn has been redeemed in my eyes!  The food was good…solid and well prepared.  While it wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve ever had, it was very good.  We could use a well-run Village Inn here in East Tennessee!


We were here for breakfast so we didn’t indulge in these great looking pies near the cash register at Village Inn.  Maybe next time!  Note the display of ingredients on the bottom shelf of this pair of pie showcases… Imaginative at the very least…

One of my favorite facts is that breakfast is served all day at the Village Inn.  It is located at 2525 South 180th Street in Omaha NE.  Phone: 402-333-0434.  The company’s website is found at http://www.villageinn.com/

Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for another breakfast with our family!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave