Of all the flavors of Omaha, one of our most famous is the Reuben. First served at the Blackstone Hotel in the 1920s (and named after local grocer Reuben Kulakofsky), the sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus worldwide. Omaha’s love for the sandwich is apparent in all the ways we recreate it. For decades, Omaha chefs have been pulling apart the historical combo of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread, and reassembling the ingredients to create new ways of celebrating the dish. The result is a range of fare, from those that closely resemble their breaded ancestor, to others more deserving of the title “Reubenesque.”
Here are just a few of the places you can grab a fresh taste of an Omaha classic remixed, right in the city where it all began.
REUBENFEST AT CRESCENT MOON
Located just across the street from the old Blackstone Hotel, Crescent Moon (3578 Farnam St.) dedicates an entire week every November to the Reuben sandwich and its many variations: Reubenfest. Last year, Reubenfest brought in an estimated 500-600 visitors per day, with more than 4,000 Reuben-themed dishes served by the end of the week. Reubenfest 2018 runs from Nov. 5-10 and will see the return of many crowd favorites, including Reuben pizzas, burritos, egg rolls, and calzones, as well as new Reubenesque offerings. If you hope to catch a bite of the action, plan your visit to avoid peak meal times when the restaurant is packed and tables are hard to come by.
Ever in the mood for Tex-Mex and a Reuben, and you simply can’t decide? Omaha’s got your back—and your taste buds. You can head on over to Dundee’s Place (7024 Maple St.) for that Reuben flavor stuffed inside a shell with their tasty Reuben tacos. Or drop by Two Fine Irishmen (18101 R Plaza) and ask for a plate of their Reuben nachos.
SAUSAGES / HOT DOGS
Is a hot dog a sandwich? What about a Reuben sandwich/hot dog mashup? Find out for yourself with this tribute to a tribute, the Kansas City Reuben at B&B Classic Dogs (1020 Lincoln Road in Bellevue). The Bellevue dog was inspired by a concessions item at Kauffman Stadium. Stoysich House of Sausage (multiple locations) offers the Round Reuben, a fully cooked sausage made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for those looking to take the Reubenesque home. Chicago Dawg House’s food truck, the Weenie Wagon, also offers the Stoysich Round Reuben on St. Patrick’s Day.
Aside from Crescent Moon’s Reubenfest, you can find Reuben egg rolls at a variety of restaurants around town, including Paddy McGown’s Pub & Grill (4503 Center St.), Dundee Dell (5007 Underwood Ave.), or further west at Clancy’s Pub (2905 S. 168th St). For those reminiscing over Localmotive Food Truck’s famous Reuben rounders, stop by Over Easy (16859 Q St.) on a weekend night, where the food truck’s menu is served seasonally.
You might know that March is National Reuben Month, but did you know that Omaha declared a Reuben Sandwich Day? March 14, 2013, was the inaugural Reuben Day. If you missed the holiday this year, you can always join the fun in March at Mama’s Pizza, where they serve a Reuben pizza all month long at all of their three Omaha locations.
Veggie lovers can celebrate Rueben pride, too. At Wilson & Washburn (1407 Harney St.), order a traditional-style Reuben sandwich with their original beet dressing added. For more animal-friendly takes on the Reuben, Modern Love (which recently moved to 3157 Farnam St.) has offered Reuben Mac & Shews (a variation of their vegan Mac & Shews) and recently added the Seitan Beet Reuben to their permanent menu.
ALTERNATIVES & VARIATIONS
Still want more Reuben? Try the gluten-free California Reuben at Big Green Q (6023 Maple St.), a sweeter take on the original recipe. If you’re looking for a slightly leaner version of the sandwich, try the Rachel, a variation made with turkey instead of corned beef. The Rachel can be found at a variety of restaurants around Omaha, including Brazen Head Irish Pub (319 N. 78th St.). Or if you’re looking for a little extra on your plate, head on over to Gorat’s Steakhouse (4917 Center St.), where you can order a triple-decker Reuben.
This article was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.