Although a small city, the charming Grand Island has a lot to offer with historical sites, outdoor adventures and a host of delightful restaurants. With diners that have been part of the city’s culinary landscape for decades, to newer establishments offering global delicacies, Grand Island, Nebraska, offers something for every taste. Here is a list of 10 of the best local eats.
Part of Grand Island’s culinary scene for over 80 years, Coney Island Lunch Room is an iconic diner located on the east side of downtown. A family-owned venue, this cozy joint serves American dishes within a charming interior, complete with the original menu from 1933 still hanging on the wall plus counter and booth seating. The menu is small but features tasty items from burgers to sandwiches to sweet edibles and of course, the infamous and eponymous Coney Island hot dog, topped with mustard, onions and a meaty chili. A budget-friendly place, this is a fun diner to take the entire family.
The Chocolate Bar is a hip venue offering guests a wide range of culinary delights, both sweet and savory and drinks. Open Monday through Saturday from morning to night, this cafe presents a modern, sleek interior in which to savor an assortment of baked goods, sandwiches, wraps, or salads alongside a great selection of espresso drinks, including the Cuban latte, and other beverages. At night the bar is a great place to unwind and try seasonal, dessert, and classic drinks (the white chocolate truffle with white crème de cacao, Disaronno, white chocolate sauce and milk is one highlight) and alcoholic coffee drinks plus a decadent selection of chocolate desserts.
Tucked inside a brick building, Farmer’s Daughter Cafe is a friendly, quaint cafe serving American cuisine. A welcoming environment makes it a perfect gathering place to enjoy good company and tasty home-style dishes. Popular with the breakfast crowd, some of the items guests rave about are biscuits and gravy and the chicken fried steak smothered with gravy and served with eggs and hash browns. They also serve lunch items plus a selection of pies that are sure to make mouths water and satisfy any sweet tooth.
While not a restaurant as it does not serve food, Moonlight Ridge Vineyard is a picturesque winery providing a relaxing venue where wine lovers can enjoy a glass of delicious vino. Closed during the winter months, this seasonal operation is a family affair (owned and operated by Darin and Karen Placke and their children) and is open Fridays and Saturdays only from 1pm to 6pm. The tasting room, which opened in 2008, is a peaceful environment with a fireplace where guests can sample the vineyard’s various wines. A patio, which affords lovely views of the vine-lined 6-acres, is also available.
Napoli’s is a warm, inviting haunt featuring authentic Italian cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner daily, this family-owned and operated establishment seeks out the freshest ingredients available for its delicious, made-from-scratch cuisine. From pasta to specialties to entrées and more, the menu is large ensuring that many tastes from meat lovers to vegetarians will be pleased. Enticing options include the steak pizzola, which is a rib eye served with sautéed mushrooms, onions, green peppers plus marinara and side of spaghetti; tortellini alla panna or cheese tortellini in a cream sauce with a touch of marinara; and fettuccini with clams in a white wine sauce. A great wine list plus tantalizing desserts are also available.
Owned by the husband-wife duo, Quang Nghiem and Ngoc Chau, who hail from Vietnam, Noodle House is a friendly joint specializing in Vietnamese cuisine. Even though the menu is small, diners return again and again to this gem; the food is delicious. Creating everything from scratch using the freshest items, the menu includes two appetizers, beef and chicken noodle soup or pho, a steamed rice dish, a vermicelli noodle bowl, a crispy noodle dish, and beverages. Known for their pho, the beef pho includes rice noodles in a beef broth with a choice of two meats, such as meatballs, sliced beef, or tripe, and is served with fresh basil, bean sprouts, lime, chili and sauces.
Tired of fast food chain restaurants and their frozen food, two friends set out to create a lively burger joint that would feature fresh beef and hand-cut fries. This venture is known as Sin City Grill. Procuring the freshest ingredients available, the culinary team creates mouthwatering, juicy burgers with a variety of toppings alongside some tasty fry selections. Diners may create their own burgers or try one of the specialty options, such as the popular Texas hold ’em burger served on Texas toast and topped with smoked cheddar cheese, smoked applewood bacon, bbq sauce and homemade onion rings. To complement the meal, try the house-made potato chips topped with bleu cheese sauce and green onions. Various drinks and milkshakes are also available.
Vientiane Restaurant is a great restaurant offering the residents of Grand Island a host of culinary, global delights. Specializing in authentic Thai and Laotian cuisine, diners keep returning to this popular gem to try its flavorful dishes. The menu offers a wide range of items from noodles to stir fries to speciality plates, which will appeal to many diners, including vegetarians. Highlights include the pad thai or thin rice noodles with bean sprouts, green onions, and choice of protein all stir-fried with egg in a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce, and the lharb, which is a choice of chicken, pork, or beef with mint, onion, bean sprouts, cilantro, lettuce and cucumber in a fish sauce and lime dressing.
Wasabi Bistro is a modern restaurant serving Asian cuisine imbued with flavors from Japan, China, and Thailand. Creating top quality dishes, the culinary team seeks out the freshest products available, which include having fresh fish flown in every day, plus they make all of the sauces from scratch. The menu is varied with everything from sushi to house specialties to vegetarian and gluten-free dishes ensuring that many tastes will be satisfied. The crispy sesame chicken, which is deep-fried chicken sautéed in a house-made sesame seed sauce, and the Nebraska roll with tenderloin, snow crab, avocado, tempura flakes and soy paper are two wonderful options. This bistro also features a full bar.
Wave Pizza Company is a beach-themed venue with a laid-back, fun vibe. As the name suggests, this joint serves an array of pizzas, but it also offers much more. The menu, which sticks with the beach-theme by having items named after famous beaches and surfers, also features appetizers, salads, and sandwiches. A hearty meal might begin with the Great Barrier Reef roasted garlic mushrooms followed by the Rincon pizza topped with meatballs, sautéed peppers and onions plus three cheeses or the Bruce Irons sandwich made with hand-cut pork sirloin that is breaded and baked and topped with fresh smoked mozzarella. Vegetarians also have many tasty options at this lively spot.