Friday, October 23, 2009

Runza was a big hit

Wednesday was our regular monthly ACUDAT meeting, and we had another site visit from the Riley County (Kansas) Police. Four employees made the trek to attend the meeting and spend most of the day. They were particularly interested in our crime analysis operation, our information systems, and the wildly-revised and updated way we are handling Crimestoppers these days. It’s the third visit this year from the Riley County Police, so they are apparently seeing some things that are interesting and valuable.

The team arrived in LPD at 0815, so they must have been on the road pretty early from Manhattan. I reasoned that a lunch break would be good, since the ACUDAT meeting was starting at 1300 hours, and I needed to be there a little early to help set up. So at 1130, I jammed everyone into my Avenger for a trip to a sandwich joint. We needed something quick, so the West O Street Runza was my choice. Much to my surprise, most of the group were familiar with the Runza, and ecstatic at the culinary delights that awaited. Apparently Lt. Mark French has Nebraska connections, and Officer Brian Swearingen has frequented the lone Runza in the State of Kansas—down the road in Lawrence.

I’m one of the few people still around who dined on many occasions at the original Runza restaurant. I guess when you’ve grown up with it, you sort of take the best fast-food place extant for granted. For my out-of-state readers, it’s hard to explain what a Runza is, and you don’t really want to know anyway. But if you’re ever driving through fly-over country on I-80, and see that sign, exit immediately and enjoy the quintessential Nebraska sandwich. Don’t be ordering any I-talian Runza, or any mushroom-and-cheese Runza. Go for the original.

If you time it right on a east-to-west trip, you could have a pork tenderloin for lunch in Iowa, then hit the Runza in North Platte for supper.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I grew up eating krautkugel, the homemade, original runza, and have made more than a few in my day. I've eaten more than a few of the runzas, too. I'm always tickled by the fact that the word cabbage never appears in their commercials. Must think it's turn off first time diners!

Chris said...

As a native Riley Countian, I am pleased to hear that they are here observing.

As a native Riley Countian, I can also say that Manhattan had 2 Runza establishments from the mid 80's until the late 90's (ish). One in Aggieville, another in the mall food court. Both are gone now, so my father requests that I bring a bag of frozen ones with us when we visit him.

FYI - In Kansas we only call them "Runza's" if you buy them in a Runza. They are mostly made at home and called "bierocks."

Hungry? said...

I don't know about you guys, but I sure am pretty hungry after reading this post! :)

Anonymous said...

The next post should be about heart disease.

Tom Casady said...

10:52 -

Exactly what I was thinking!

11:50 -

Exactly what I was thinking!

Anonymous said...

Let's see, BP 105/65, HR 62, and I eat Runzas (I pedal a bit too, so I don't blame nor credit the food). Cabbage is good and good for you. Runzas are delicious, and so are their onion rings, so get a side of those while you're there.

Trevor Brass said...

I feel much the same with Waffle Houses in the South and East of the nation. Family tradition to make the last stop westbound at the place with ugly decorating and awesome food.

The cheese stands alone said...

'The Pantry' near The Van Dorn Plaza has a similar version called Cabbage Burgers, served for the Thursday Lunch Special. It comes with brown gravy (one the side or smothered) and is also very tasty. A great little restaurant too.

Anonymous said...

This has been another edition of Culinary Delights with Chief Casady :)