Some may view Omaha as a bland city; some would even dare to say it’s “boring.” Sure, it’s in the middle of the country, the city is surrounded by flat terrain, and even the local accent has been described as having a “flat” tone. Not so fast, though: the annual college world series is held here, one of the wealthiest men in the nation resides here, and Omaha has one of the finest zoos in the country.
Omaha also offers some pretty amazing Roadfood. Take, for instance, Shirley’s Diner, located in a cookie-cutter shopping plaza about 20 minutes outside of downtown Omaha. Husband and wife team Doug and Denise Fackler have been at the helm since 1993. Walk inside and you’ll find an atmosphere resembling that of a small-town cafe decked out in 50s memorabilia.
Shirley’s menu offers a full breakfast including omelets, pancakes, and French toast. You’ll find a variety of sandwiches and burgers on their lunch and dinner menu including many heartland specialties such as hot beefs, breaded pork tenderloins, and chicken fried steak.
I came here for the cheese frenchee. Cheese frenchees are grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in a cornflake batter and deep-fried. Some include mayo and some don’t. This is truly a sandwich that grilled cheese aficionados crave. Shirley’s cheese frenchee is special, made with thick-cut Texas toast. The crunchy corn flake coating yields to a hot gooey interior of melted jack and American cheeses. Since I had my cheese frenchee at breakfast time, crispy well-done hash browns came with the meal.
For a hearty, heartland no-nonsense meal, Shirley’s Diner is a gem that stands out from the flat landscape that surrounds it.