Let me just start off by telling you that I’m kind of a big deal! Like Big! Haha. That is nowhere near the truth and you know that this isn’t my mindset. Things may be beginning to change a small bit, but I’m still just your friendly neighborhood Fattie. I started it off saying that because recently I have been contacted by a few local spots that have asked that I stop out and give them a try. Keystone Tavern located at 7821 Military Ave just so happens to be one of those places. I feel like this is a good time to make sure that the Omaha Fattie audience knows that I do not conduct any paid reviews at this time. I want to make sure that readers get a good feel for the true experience that they may likely receive when being a patron of the featured establishment.
Now, that means that this review will be a little different as I won’t focus so much on service as Tim Lewis, owner of Keystone Tavern, and staff knew that I was going to be there. This being the case I’ll make sure that the food is more of the focus; as it should be. Tim actually sat with me and we carried on a conversation during this particular evening in between serving his regulars. He is a nice guy that has a big passion for neighborhood watering holes and has a lot of interesting stories to offer about his life/past.
On to the food! Though I’m not a huge pub grub reviewer you will see some from me. Most often I will be at spots that I take my family, but it is good to have variety. There are a ton of menu options at Keystone Tavern. For an indecisive guy like myself, that could end in me taking a long time to decide. Luckily, the kitchen was close to closing time and I had to get my order in. The Bronco Burger (a burger topped with Pit Smoked BBQ Brisket and their Smokey BBQ sauce) was the first thing that caught my eye and I kept going back to it. It came with fries, but I upgraded to the Cheesy Jalapeno Potato Munchers. Tim wanted me to try their Mac & Cheese and though I was happy to oblige, I do like to note that I am not the best judge of this dish because I am not the biggest fan of it in general. For some reason as a kid it just was not something that I could get into. I liked cheese, I liked pasta, but I didn’t like mac & cheese. Tim also talked me into getting a deep fried brownie which isn’t something that I should probably eat considering my diet, but how do you turn down a deep fried brownie?!
Let’s start with the appetizers. As mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan so take my opinion here with a grain of salt. Speaking of salt, it would have been better with a little of that and pepper. I didn’t add any at the time. It was decent though and I could see fans enjoying it. I would also like to add that I had leftovers and the taste improved when I ate it again. I added some pepper with hot sauce and it was exactly what I would like if eating this dish. Sometimes things have to sit so all the flavors can meld together for the perfect food chemistry.
Potato Munchers…am I really going to dissect cheese, jalapeno and potato? These are one of those things that I think is really hard to get wrong. I mean, if it were me cooking them at home I could see something going terribly askew, but a restaurant/bar with an experienced cook is conducive to this being a tasty little treat. I’d still be eating those things right now if I could be.
The Bronco Burger was a good size and when it first was set in front of me I was impressed by the portion of veggies that came with it. The fresh crunch makes a burger whole. I was a little intimidated by the huge slice of onion that was with the lettuce, pickle and tomato, but when I put the burger together I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite. It was a sweeter onion that only added to the rest of the burger. The brisket was thinly cut and very tender. I did like that you could see the grill marks on the bun as well. This was something that I could see myself eating again.
Deep Fried Brownie! Deep Fried Brownie! Deep Fried Brownie! Ah yes, this sounds like something that would totally knock your socks off. The Fattie in me was ready to burst with excitement. I wasn’t sure what to expect because, how do you deep fry a brownie? When it came to the bar it was still warm and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh giggity! I couldn’t wait until the end of the meal to introduce this sweet dessert to my taste buds so I took a quick break from the burger to address this. The brownie was wrapped in a tortilla like pastry which I believe is what allowed it to be deep fried. That brownie was a brick of thickness! Don’t be mad at me; I didn’t love it as much as I thought that I would. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. However, the thickness of it combined with the outside wrapping and chocolate sauce on top was a little much for me. Please keep in mind that it was like 10:15pm and I don’t ever eat dinner that late. I couldn’t pass it up, but I think it would be better for me personally earlier in the day. If someone asked me again I would undoubtedly say yes to this deep fried brick of love. I would just need a little helper or two to help me finish it. Haha.
I would say that the prices were very comparable to most other local eateries. My burger would have been $10.75 if I didn’t upgrade to the munchers. That is one of the more expensive items on the menu so in my opinion it is affordable. If I lived closer I would not have a problem going back to eat there again. I know that locals enjoy it because I went live on Facebook during my visit and a couple of people that I know chimed in to mention their appreciation for the food there. Special mention was made of the munchers! If it was closer to my house I’d like to go back for sure.
Before you go…Calling all Green Bay Packer fans! Give me a minute to mention that Keystone Tavern opens the kitchen for every game. If it is outside of the normal kitchen hours they will open early or stay open late to watch and celebrate play on the field with other fans. It is a Packer bar! Tim has a great story that you’ll have to ask him about from when he was a kid at Lambeau Field.
I give Keystone Tavern 4 Fatties!
Have you been? If so, what do you think?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on food. You are amazing!