Nebraska might not be the first place you think of for a food adventure, but the cornhusker state does have Runza — a beloved chain — and its eponymous menu item. A runza (the dish) falls somewhere between a hot pocket and burger when it comes to the culinary spectrum; it’s ground beef, onions, and cabbage all wrapped in yeast dough that’s then baked. What you get is a savory pastry that’s ideal for a Cornhuskers tailgate or any other meal on the go.
If the runza sounds strangely old world for a fast food item to you, that’s because it is. The bread pocket has its roots in German-Russian cuisine, said to originate with the pierogi. “It is kinda hard to describe,” admits one Runza regular in this episode of Cult Following. No matter, Nebraskans can’t get enough runzas.
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