Drum Roll: Nebraska's Best Burger is...

Posted May 1

The best burger honor in Nebraska this year, according to the Nebraska Beef Council, goes to Stella’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue for its cheeseburger. It sells for $4.75 and is served on a paper napkin. The history of the restaurant dates back to 1936.

The Beef Council unveiled the judge’s selection on Tuesday.

Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar (Big Red Burger) came in second. Tommy Colina’s Kitchen (Tijuana Taxi) in Omaha finished third. Sinful Burger in Bellevue landed the 4th slot and Runza’s legendary hamburger placed 5th.

In 2011, the top prize went to Cellar Bar & Grill of Kearney for their Western Burger.

A panel of judges conducted anonymous taste tests of the 10 finalists who were nominated online.

Posted April 8

The Nebraska Beef Council has announced the top 10 finalists in its Best Burger contest.

Here are the contenders in alphabetical order: Big Red Sports Bar & Restaurant in Omaha, Lincoln, Norfolk and Fremont, Blanc Burgers & Bottles in Omaha, Fred & Ruby’s Parkway Lanes in Lincoln, Greta's Gourmet Butcher Shop in Lincoln, Greenfield’s in Lincoln, Mookie’s in Minden, Runza Restaurants statewide, Sinful Burger Sports Bar & Grill in Bellevue, Stella’s in Bellevue and Tommy Colina’s Kitchen in Omaha.

At Sinful Burger in Bellevue, open for just nine months, it is more than a sandwich. The Goliath lives up to its name. That's five pounds. “That's what makes this unique,” said C.J. Nearing. “Most burger joints will throw salt and pepper, you absolutely don't need any condiments for any one of our burgers."

At Tommy Colina's Kitchen in Omaha, the toppings give it character. It too is a young establishment, open for a year-and-a-half, but is among the top 10 state finalists for best burger. “Made fresh to order, they're not cooked ahead of time sitting in a pile waiting to be warmed up,” said Bekah Jerde.

At Greta's Gourmet Butcher Shop in Lincoln, "We do a lot of things that are sort of a lost art these days," said Kevin Mandigo. For example, the full-service butcher's counter next to the deli and kitchen. As for the Greta Burger, the key ingredient is blue cheese crumbles. "I've been around it all my life."

While the business is just one-year old, Mandigo's family has deep career roots. His father, who retired as a researcher at UNL, is in the meat industry's hall of fame. "He's best known for developing the science behind the process in which the McRib was made."

Over 100 Nebraska restaurants received nominations through the online voting system on the Nebraska Beef Council Web site during the month of March. A panel of anonymous judges will evaluate the top nominated burger at each restaurant based on taste, proper cooking and appearance.

The winning restaurant will be named at the end of April.

“We had great participation again this year through the online voting” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “Large or small, each restaurant nominated has shown a strong commitment to serving great tasting, quality beef.”

Last year, the Cellar Bar and Grill in Kearney was recognized as the winner of the first-ever statewide burger contest. Stella's in Bellevue finished in the top five last year and Tommy Colina's finished in 8th place.

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