The restaurant chain that ignored Tyler but must be here

If you’re from the Midwest, you probably grew up with those yummy little pockets of bread called Runzas, but to get one now you’ll have to drive all the way to Colorado or Nebraska.

The first Runza restaurant opened in 1949 in Lincoln, Nebraska and it has grown dozens of times since then, and it has gone from making sandwiches for a tiny white house with vinyl siding to changing its colors in green and yellow and looks like most other brick fast food restaurants. When I was a cornhusker at the University of Nebraska, I ate there twice a week and I miss it!

Envy without the ability to satisfy it is a challenge that no one needs right now, and you might also be thinking that it’s time for a Runza restaurant to come to East Texas. Or a Hardee’s for a cookie sandwich. We all have our vices.

My mom made runzas out of thin air at least once a month while I was growing up in Nebraska, and Runza restaurants were in every food court in the malls and in every row of fast food restaurants with McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

Runzas are just pockets of bread filled with chopped hamburger, and they’re usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and cabbage. It’s the traditional kind, and then you can get into the cheeseburger, Italian, Philly style, and other varieties. They’re kids like Hot Pockets, but not quite. Runzas are sweeter and taste more homemade, even if they come from a restaurant.

Runzas have always been big sellers on college football Saturdays outside the Husker Stadium, and since they’re easy to eat at games and pre-game parties, the restaurant would probably do just fine in a place like east Texas that loves football food. And it’s a sandwich that kids can eat with one hand, which helps Mama taxi. The sauces are sealed and nothing drains, reducing the risk of stains on the back seat.

We all love the great places we have now to embrace our inner foodie, but there’s always room for more, so if there’s another restaurant you’d like to see in East Texas, do it. Me know. And if you’re looking for some great football party food to make from scratch that will impress your fellow Cowboy, Texan and Longhorn fans, runzas! Aggies, you are alone. Ha.

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About Vivian J. Smith

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