Derek Eats Food

Experiences at Lincoln, NE restaurants

Places I've eaten

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

Nitro Burger

10 May 2014

Visited: 10 May 2014


First impressions

I got there around 6:30 and expected it to see more people in line than just two. It still took a while to order from the back window, as the insides of the bus appeared to be near chaos. The bus sits a bit higher than a typical food truck, so customers had to shout up to the window over the roar of the generator, and pass money above their heads. The large parking lot they parked in disguised the number of people waiting, and apparently it was even worse around lunchtime.


Despite disappearing before taking my money and switching between a couple waitress-cashier-ladies, they seemed to be spot on about getting everyone’s order right. I expect they just need a little more experience running the show. Keeping a food truck open for an 8-hour stint would be pretty rough, too.

As I stepped up to order, an arm reached out and Magic Markered the Beer Cheesesteak off the menu. It didn’t strike me as particularly novel, but the lady told me they just can’t keep them in stock. Apparently if you put ‘beer’ in the name of a dish, people are all over it.

I went with the Purple People Eater, a burger topped with spinach, cream cheese, and blueberry barbeque sauce. Spinach and blueberries are two of my favorite foods, so I was rather curious about a burger combining them.

I made friends with the guy in front of me in line, and we sat down at a nearby picnic table to wait for our food. Weather was great, as were the 29th and O sights: tricked-out Mustangs racing down O Street and people looking like they were thinking about stealing my wallet. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the area is on the sketchier side.

It got to the point where I was glancing at my phone a bit to check the time. Food was definitely coming out in order, so we knew when we were up next. About 30 minutes in, I was handed a non-descript paper bag by a girl in 50’s clothing. Let’s see what we’ve got:


That sure looks like a burger to me. How does it taste?



The spinach lends a nice touch of color to the burger. Bun is nicely sized, and I’m told it’s made in-house (I assume not in the bus, though. Correct me if I’m wrong). Grabbing hold of it and taking a bite felt a bit weird, though. Although the outside of the bun was crisp, the inside was airy, causing the bun to squish down flat to an unusual degree. It would be nice to cut down on the volume fluctuation. Aside from that, the bun’s neutral taste didn’t impact the burger.

I do question the decision to put the cream cheese on the bun directly. It caused the insides of the burger to slip around while taking a bite, making it difficult to eat.

As a spinach fan, I found the spinach underwhelming. Thin leaves and slightly wilted, likely from the heat of the kitchen. Bad spinach can be vile, but this spinach wasn’t floppy enough to take away from the burger. Still, I’d like to see some fresher stock.

The blueberry barbeque sauce was excellent, but I didn’t taste much barbeque flavor in it. I couldn’t pick out what it was made of, but it kind of reminded me of the kind of topping that goes on cheesecake. Regardless, I really enjoyed the flavor combination with the rest of the burger. I think they pulled it off successfully.

Finally, the burger. It was seasoned, perhaps a bit on the heavy side, but not distasteful. The patty did have a few oddities about it. First, I thought there was a bit of bacon on the burger, but it turned out to be grill residue or something:


It didn’t taste burnt… maybe this is the so-called spice crusting. Second, there were some small chunks of orange-yellow something in the burger meat. Mildly concerning, but not enough to stop the burger going into my mouth.

I’ve sat here for a while trying to form thoughts about the patty. I definitely got the feeling that I wanted to keep eating, but maybe it had a bit too many flavors for my liking. I can’t clearly distinguish the flavor in my mind. But that’s my own shortcoming. I’d like to hear opinions from other people who have been there.

The burger was solid, beating out Honest Abe’s in the “burgers with unique toppings” category solely by virtue of the superior burger patty. I’d like to try a more traditional burger to establish a more certain baseline for their product.

I felt a bit daring afterward and decided to check out their shakes.

Probably not the best idea.

I had seen online that they had vanilla bean, so I asked if those were available, but unfortunately they were not. My eyes flicked between the available flavors: Lemonade and Maple Waffle Bacon. Through no fault of my own, my brain decided to troll me and directed my mouth to blurt out, “Maple Waffle Bacon, please.” Now, I’m not normally a guy who likes bacon on everything, as is the custom these days. Honestly, I rarely even feel like shakes that much; they’re too rich for my blood. But sometimes my convinces me it’s a good idea. I guess sweets are a heck of a drug.


The window lady handed me my shake (and complimentary Nitro Burger punch card) and wished me best of luck. As I greedily took a big drag from the straw, the pure dose of sugar traffic-jammed my synapses. I went into a temporary state of shock wherein I couldn’t help but suck down ounce over ounce of sucrose.

I liked the maple flavor, but the ice cream was average. I tried really hard to like the bacon, honest I did, but I just can’t convince myself that it wouldn’t be better off without it. I’m not sure if it’s actually more sugary than normal shakes, or if I just hadn’t had so much sugar in a while. I couldn’t finish the whole thing, but still felt five pounds heavier with a headache to boot. It kind of wrecked my impression of the burger.

The shake would drag the grade down a point, but I feel bad including it when it’s not my sort of thing. Grade: B+


The bus feels like it’s kind of trying to be a food truck and sit down place at the same time. I don’t usually show up to a bus window and expect to be waiting 30 minutes for my food. The whole thing feels not quite there to me, like it’s trying to be kitschy and 50s cool, but it ends up awkward (I didn’t check out the inside). Maybe it’s the placement, or I’m unfairly identifying them as a food truck. I usually expect food trucks in dense downtown environments that I’m not hanging out in for a while, as opposed to church parking lots in sketch neighborhoods. They are mobile, so that could change.

Napkins were tissue-paper thin and only available through the window, utterly insufficient for greasy burgers and fries. I didn’t see a trash can anywhere to throw stuff away, so I had to take my trash with me. In fact, they had thrown a bag of garbage out back onto the pavement about 20 feet from where I was eating, so I guess they didn’t have one either.

I didn’t bring a drink with me, so I bought a bottle of water for a dollar, which always makes me feel dumb. The staff was really friendly, and was nice enough to bring food out to the picnic bench where we were waiting. Finding someone to chat with definitely helped the wait go faster too. I just felt a bit underwhelmed by the rest of the experience. Grade: C

As a caveat, I don’t feel like I have a very good read on this place. I think the burger was good, but I don’t have a strong desire to go back at the moment. Maybe it’s just the shake talking. Take that for what you will.


Burgers $7. Sides $3. Drinks $1. Shakes $5.

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