Derek Eats Food

Experiences at Lincoln, NE restaurants

Places I've eaten

Bad ideas
I eat it so you don't have to

Greg's Drive-In

27 May 2014

Visited: 18 May 2014


First impressions

It’s pretty vacant. I’ve been here a few times, and it doesn’t seem to be a particularly high-traffic establishment. The outside looks plain but not run-down, and doesn’t catch your eye too much. The restaurant happens to be right near my home, so I’ve been wanting to check them out for a while.


Once you get inside, it’s pretty fantastic. They’ve got a big neon sign and a classic white backlit menu like you’d see at one of those ’50s throwback restaurants. The place is decorated with all kinds of airplanes and memorabilia. It feels like Greg put a piece of himself into this place, and I like that. Gives the place some character, you know?


I’m pretty sure this place is cash only, so lucky for me, I brought some dolla bills along. Generally not a fan of cash-only places in the modern age of Square and whatnot, but since patrons seem few, I’m okay with it.

Also, the place seems like a total mom-and-pop shop, which I’m a big fan of. It feels like the place is run by friends and family, and I’m pretty sure the owner wrangles the kitchen by himself. They just seem like some honest, friendly Nebraska folk.

Menu seemed to be pretty typical American burger fare, with a few twists thrown in, like the Philly Burger and Pizza Burger. I saw the bacon cheeseburger on the sign outside, so I went with that, and decided to add some onion rings and iced tea as well. The cashier lady said the iced tea was fresh brewed, so I should let her know if it was warm and she could grab some more ice cubes. Nice personal touch.

Food came out in a couple of minutes, impressive but expected for a place that has a drive-through. The cashier lady brought it straight from the kitchen to my table. Let’s eat!



Very nice presentation, very clean. Just plain, uncluttered food. I like the red-white checkers of the burger wrapper, but I am concerned that it might start to soak through on the edges if you’re taking your burger on a journey. Not really unusual, though.

First off, the iced tea was excellent. It’s unsweetened, just how I like it, and not a hint of the astrigency that accompanies your baser consumer-facing teas. Refreshing and smooth.


That’s a nice looking bun, unsquashed and round. The burger was very nicely centered as well; nothing at risk of falling off. Time to have a bite.


My first impression: classic, solid burger that doesn’t take risks. I like that I can hold it in my hand and not worry about it falling apart. The bun was fresh, certainly not stale. Neutral flavor that didn’t interfere with the burger. The cheese was at a great half-melted state that really held everything together.

I liked the placement of the pickles underneath the burger patty. If you need to remove them, just flip it over and pull off the bottom bun, and if not, the weight of the burger held them in place. No complaints on the bacon either, though I’m beginning to get the feeling that bacon is rarely done poorly. Great flavor, not too greasy, not too salty.

The burger itself was seasoned well and cooked to my liking. The meat was not top-end burger meat, and the patty looked almost suspiciously well-formed. There must be some degree of pre-prep that goes into getting a burger out in a couple minutes, but what that is, I’m not sure. At any rate, coming in at $4, it’s certainly the best I’ve had in its price class.

Onion Rings

Onion rings. Oh man. These are definitely in the top five onion rings I’ve had in my life. Wide, evenly cut. The coating is on the less-crisp side, which has the advantage of not destroying your throat while you eat them. But what really makes them amazing is the seasoning. Tastes like a little salt, maybe a little mustard and spice? I’m not entirely sure, but it gives the rings a fantastic, savory zing that keeps you reaching back for more. I can’t recommend them enough.

Both the burger and the rings came out piping hot, straight from the kitchen to my table. This is a great example of your time-honored, local American burger joint. Grade: A-


Fast, friendly service. The cashier lady caught me taking pictures and chatted me up for a bit about how she likes to do the same thing and post them to the restaurant’s Facebook. Becoming friends with your customers is a good trick to get them to come back, and I like it.

The inside decor is charming and worth checking out, but the restaurant is still a bit plain. Don’t get me wrong, the place has character, but the tables, chairs, trays, and stuff like that are all pretty standard. Also, cash-only is an unfortunate negative for me.

I only noticed a few people coming and going while I ate, but the ones that did shouted hellos back and forth with the owner in the kitchen. Man, regulars are so cool.

The trash cans are very interesting. They look like normal restaurant trashcans, but the door is motorized. It’s pressure sensitive, not like those terrible proximity-sensing trash can lids. The motor surprised me the first time I tried it.

I was thinking about why this place is relatively undiscovered, and my guess is a combination of the location on Cotner, the plain exterior, and the relatively standard menu. It’s a shame, really. Greg’s is one of those places I keep telling myself I need to go to more often. It’s pretty affordable, so it’s worth your while to check out.

Grade: A-


Burgers $5. Sides $2-3. Drinks $2.

Scores are not necessarily precise, but relative to restaurants in recent memory. I plan to rebalance my scores as I review more restaurants.