What to Eat
Photo Credit: John Peterson/Hail Varsity

What to Eat, Drink and Do in Lincoln for Nebraska Game Day

September 25, 2019

Nebraska’s primetime matchup with Ohio State is sure to bring a lot of new and familiar faces to town. ESPN’s College GameDay is only going to amplify that.

A lot has changed since the last time GameDay rolled through Lincoln in 2007 though. Nebraska was still in the Big 12, The Railyard didn’t yet exist and plenty of the best spots in town had yet to open. So, you’re coming to town and you don’t have any idea of where to begin. Let us help.

Here’s a quick list of some of the most recommended spots in Lincoln, Nebraska.

What to Eat

Honest Abe’s

126 N. 14th Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

A TripAdvisor list named Honest Abe’s one of the best burgers in the country in 2018. The popular Lincoln restaurant came in at No. 3 out of 10, to be specific.

Here’s what TripAdvisor had to say about Honest Abe’s:

Founded by cousins Gabe Lovelace and Erik Hustad, Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom has been serving 6-ounce patties to the Lincoln community since 2012.

• Signature burger: "Greatest Burger Ever" topped with chopped bacon, griddled onions, "awesome sauce," American cheese, ketchup and romaine lettuce

• What TripAdvisor diners say: "If you are in the market for exotic and delicious combinations atop a wonderful beef burger you've come to the right place."


301 N. 8th Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Leadbelly has something for everyone. From burgers to salads to macaroni and cheese, the menu’s options are endless in some ways. If you’re looking for a spot where everyone in your group can find something and be happy, Leadbelly is the place.

Plus, the lunch menu (if you’re in Lincoln by 3pm on Friday) is a pretty solid deal.

Watering Hole

1321 O Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Our own Erin Sorensen wrote this for First We Feast in 2015, and it hasn’t changed:

“There are so many restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska, that it’s often hard to choose one as a favorite. In my opinion, what makes The Watering Hole special is its grilled wings. I rave about them pretty much anywhere I go. The place used to be a complete dive bar, but doesn’t look like one now after renovating a few years ago. Despite the physical updates, The Watering Hole never lost its charm. Good food and plenty of beer are enough to make this anyone’s favorite stop, whether that’s for a Friday lunch or a game-day meal.”

Four years later, here’s what you need to know: It’s a dive bar. It’s not perfect. Service can be iffy (so bring your patience), but the grilled wings remain some of the best. Plus, you might see some Nebraska football players in (post-game, of course). The defensive line has been known to devour 36 pounds of the wings in one sitting.


Look. If you’re new to Lincoln, you need to get a Runza. Here’s what is is, per the Runza website:

“Ground beef seasoned with a top-secret blend of spices and mixed with cabbage and onions. All wrapped up in fresh-baked bread. It’s the taste that generations of Midwesterners have grown up loving, and it’s our signature sandwich. Get it topped however you want – because while we make it fresh, you make it your own.”

Get it alongside an order of Frings. Or get it alongside an order of chili and cinnamon rolls. Congratulations. You’re a officially a Nebraskan.

John Peterson/Hail Varsity
A Nebraska staple: Chili and cinnamon rolls.


What to Drink

The Mill

800 P Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

“The Mill Coffee & Tea is a small-batch craft coffee roaster, espresso bar and tea house located in Lincoln, Nebraska since 1975.”

We stole that from their website, but they said it better than we could. The Mill is a great stop for coffee or tea on Saturday to prep for game day or on Sunday to recover. 


201 North 7th Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

John Peterson/Hail Varsity
The Hail Ale at Kinkaider.

A hop, skip and a jump away from The Railyard and nestled right in the heart of the Haymarket, Kinkaider Brewing’s Lincoln taproom has a lot of indoor space and a great patio. That and a lot of great beers on tap, of course.

One of those beers just so happens to be the Hail Ale, in partneship with Hail Varsity. We’re admittedly biased, but you should try it. Kinkaider is great at what they do, and they knocked that one (and all of their beers on tap) out of the park.

Gate 25

“No one parties like we do,” the Gate 25 website says.

We can’t argue. They’re connected to The Railyard, and we can see firsthand the fun they have from our offices. They’re the cornerstone of The Railyard and a big part of both the pep rally and game day experience (which we mention in the next section).

What to Do

Pep Rally at The Railyard

350 Canopy Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Looking for something to do Friday night while in town? We’ve got you covered. Alongside the Alpha Media Lincoln Team, we’re proud to co-host the “Pep Rally in the Railyard” every Friday before a home game.

Starting at 4 p.m., there will be music, games, the Hail Varsity Railyard Band, special guests and a DJ to dance the night away once the sun goes down. With restaurants and bars surrounding The Railyard, it’s the place to be.

Game Day at The Railyard

350 Canopy Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Whether you’re going to the game or not, come hang at The Railyard for drinks, food and fun. Not going to the game though? Then The Railyard is definitely your spot. It’s home of the biggest watch party in Nebraska for every home and away games.

Unity Walk

Approximately two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff, fans can welcome the Huskers to the stadium for the Unity Walk. The Unity Walk now originates at the bell tower on the south side of the East Stadium loop. The team then walks through the parking lot, past the national championship and Coach Bob Devaney statues outside and enter through the stadium through Gate 20.

In addition to the new path, fans are alerted to the team’s arrival in a new way. Approximately 8-10 minutes prior to Nebraska departing the team hotel, a short burst of fireworks take place at Memorial Stadium.

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