The Best Little Burgers in Omaha:
Business travel is brutal. You’ve got to deal with all kinds of indignities -- delays, bad food, delays, bad wine, toiletries in zip lock bags, really bad wine that comes in screw top bottles, more delays and ominous Code Orange security announcements. Did I mention delays?
If you’re really, really lucky, you’re routed through Chicago O’Hare Airport, which has turned the delay into an art form.
So, here I sit in the Omaha Airport, having arrived early for my 4:45 flight home, which is already delayed – and, connecting in Chicago. My colleague, Splint McCullough won the business traveler’s lottery today. He got out on an earlier flight that might actually get him home to his part of the country before sundown. I, on the other hand, am already looking like the poster child for bad business travel karma.
After years of doing this, I’ve learned a couple of things. You’ve got to have coping mechanisms to survive. I’m partial to glossy food magazines, people watching, and my video Ipod is a new accessory that allows me to keep current on episodes of “Prison Break.”
You also have to know where your next meal is coming from. Most of the airlines are not even offering peanuts or pretzels anymore. That’s fine for people on a liquid diet, but some of us need more substantial fare.
In anticipation of a seat in “food-free economy class” I take a secluded table in “The Hanger” restaurant at the Omaha Airport and request a glass of Geyser Peak Chardonnay and a plate of “Sliders” – the absolutely best deal offered at any restaurant in Omaha.
For a mere $6.95, you get six – count ‘em – SIX tennis ball-sized prime beef burgers on toasted sourdough buns. The burgers are nicely grilled and have a smoky charcoal flavor. Accompaniments include crisp pickle chips, chopped onions, and Heinz Mustard and Ketchup, two of the venerable “57 Varieties.” (Has anyone ever tasted the other 55 varieties?)
I wolf down four of the six sliders and start to feel my strength again. The burgers are primitive, yet petite. Decadent, but demure. I’m like a marathon runner carb-loading before the big race. I can make it back to the East Coast. I can sprint to my connecting flight. I can endure another night in the air. I’ve found the fuel that will get me to the finish line.
I think of Splint McCullough – the avowed carnivore – cruising at 30,000 feet with his stomach growling. I suspect he’s just a bit envious of me right now.
Meanwhile, they say my first flight is on the ground and will be ready for boarding shortly …
© 2006 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved
7 hours ago