The Restaurant Chain that Skipped Over Tyler but Needs to be Here
If you're from the Midwest, you probably grew up on those tasty little bread pockets called Runzas, but to get one now you would have to drive all the way to Colorado or Nebraska.
The first Runza restaurant opened in 1949 in Lincoln, Nebraska and it has expanded dozens of times since then, and it has gone from cranking out the sandwiches from a small white house with vinyl siding to changing its colors to green and yellow and looking like most other bricked-in fast food restaurants. When I was a Cornhusker at the University of Nebraska I ate there twice a week, and I miss it!
The craving without the ability to satisfy it is a challenge no one needs right now, and maybe you too are thinking it's time for a Runza Restaurant to come to East Texas. Or a Hardee's for a biscuit sandwich. We all have our vices.
My mom made runzas from scratch at least once a month as I was growing up in Nebraska, and Runza restaurants were in all the mall food courts and on every fast food row right there with McDonald's and Wendy's.
Runzas are just bread pockets filled with ground hamburger, and they're usually seasoned with salt and pepper and cabbage. That's the traditional kind, and then you can get into the cheeseburger kind, Italian, Philly style, and other varieties. They're kid of like Hot Pockets, but not quite. Runzas are softer and more homemade-tasting, even if they do come from a restaurant.
Runzas were always big sellers on college football Saturdays outside the Husker stadium, and since they're easy to eat at games and tailgate parties, the restaurant would probably do really well in a place like East Texas that loves football food. And it's a sandwich the kids can eat with one hand, which helps the Mama taxi. The sauces are sealed in and nothing drips out so the backseat has a lower stain risk.
We love all of the great spots we have now to embrace our inner foodie but there's always room for more, so if there's another restaurant you'd love to see in East Texas let me know. And if you're looking for great football party foods to make from scratch and impress your fellow Cowboy, Texan, and Longhorn fans, runzas! Aggies, you're on your own. Ha.