LINCOLN, Neb. — Walk into Rosie’s and there’s no question where you are: 22 televisions, seating for about 150, spread out with plenty of room between tables for high-fives and victory dances.
Rosie’s Sports Bar and Grill is in south Lincoln, 1501 Center Park Road to be exact, just east of the State Penitentiary.
There is sports memorabilia, sports-related specialty license plates, a bit of a Chicago lean (but I did see one St. Louis Cardinals license plate).
Ryan Rosenstiel bought what was called the Roadhouse from Kelley and Linda Anderson in October 2013, renovated and expanded into a second party room.
“We started with a small menu, then people were asking for this or that,” Rosenstiel said. “I couldn’t tell them ‘no.’ ”
Part of that is the smaller town charm that he brought with him from growing up in Cozad, Neb. The menu is huge, not a half dozen appetizers, a burger and a couple of sandwiches. I was told before arriving that I needed to have the Chicken Fried Steak, one of six specials on the weekday lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For $9, I had a large, tasty steak, a mound of mashed potatoes, both ladled with thick, white gravy, corn and a drink. It arrived very hot — no sitting on a warming shelf.
Another is the Chicago Style Ditka Dog: a half-pound brat with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, jalapenos and cheddar cheese with a side and drink for $8. Add sauerkraut for 75 cents.
There are also weekday food specials starting at 4 p.m., including the Thursday offering of a 6-ounce sirloin steak with baked potato, vegetable, roll and salad for $10.
Before any meal and served until 11 p.m. are 20 appetizers ranging from $4 (Fry Basket of crinkle cut or sweet potatoes) to $12 (Irish Nachos: choice of flour or corn chips covered in fresh corned beef, sauerkraut, queso and shredded cheese, tomatoes and onions, with side of salsa and drizzled in Thousand Island dressing).
Or try some Chicken Wings (five for $6, 10 for $11 or 15 for $16, with bleu cheese or ranch) or 12-ounce basket of Boneless Wings (with bleu cheese or ranch for $12). Wings come with a choice of 12 sauces and three dry rubs.
A dozen sandwiches, including the Ditka Dog, range from $8 to $11. The Nebraska Cheese Steak Sandwich is $10 and includes thinly sliced steak smothered in grilled onions, green peppers and mushrooms, topped with Swiss cheese on a hoagie roll for $10. All sandwiches include choice of fries, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans or cottage cheese.
The menu also has a variety of soups and salads, and five choices of barbecue.
The Rosie’s Burger, one of 12 burgers on the menu, features a half-pound of Angus beef with provolone, chopped bacon and honey mustard on a toasted sourdough bun with light mayo and one side for $11.
Buffalo Chicken or Chicken BLT wraps and Chicken Strip or Butterfly Shrimp baskets are $9, and the Sam Adams Fish and Chips basket is $12.
But the best food on the menu may be the pizza — at least that’s what one friend who has eaten there said. There are eight specialty pizzas. The Ditka, for $22, starts with a zesty baked bean base, then Ditka Dogs, pepperoni, bacon, onions, jalapeños, green peppers, tomatoes and cream cheese.
A pizza can have one of 17 toppings at $8.75 for a seven-inch and $15 for a 14-inch. Additional toppings are a buck each. Cheese-only prices are $7.25 and $13.
I stopped for lunch on a Wednesday, after most of the packed lunch crowd had headed back to work. Service was excellent. My server, Shannon Anderson, knew her way around the place; it was her mother and stepfather who sold the business to Rosenthiel. The serving of beef brisket that I carried out was awfully good the next day.
Rosie’s opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight Sundays through Tuesdays, 1 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It also has a full catering service.
So, where do you like to watch the Huskers play or meet friends for dinner or supper? Send your recommendations, with reasons why, to email@example.com.
Terry Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.