The Fourth of July is a pretty stellar holiday if you ask me. On this day, we celebrate our country’s fight for independence, for the privilege to be our own solemn nation and to not have any other country or king tell us what to do. It is this moment in time that demarks when the United States of America started down its own unique path, with its own unique culture and traditions. So, no doubt we celebrate the Fourth in our own unique way – by grillin’ dogs, flippin’ burgers and drinkin’ beer the American way.
Here’s a nod to a few of my favorite yet little-known American bars, pubs and grills from across our 50 states, serving up great burgers, cold beer and a little bit of American history.
Dinkers – Voted best burger in Omaha, Dinkers has been a mid-West landmark since 1965. That’s when “Dinker” Frank Synowiecki opened this small neighborhood bar in the heart of Sheely Town, a Polish immigrant area of Omaha. Besides its immigrant roots, Dinkers makes the list for serving up a truly American menu, including “Rocky Mountain” Oysters served with homemade Buttermilk Ranch dressing (seriously, only Americans love Ranch), Pork Fritters, a Fried Chicken Sandwich, and last but not least, a truly incredible burger. Definitely check ‘em out next time you’re passing through those ‘fly-over’ states.
Lemp Mansion – Perhaps the only thing more American than burgers is the beer that goes with them. Just along the Mississippi River – America’s central artery and source of trade for centuries – there is a restaurant in St. Louis inside the family home of John Adam Lemp. A German immigrant and grocer, John Adam Lemp brought the art of lager beer brewing to America in 1838 and began aging beer in the natural cave systems below St. Louis. His lagers took off and the beer industry in St. Louis was born. Anheuser-Busch followed in 1860, and their headquarters are still located in St. Louis today. But it isn’t just beer that the Lemp Mansion is known for. Unique to the restaurant is its “Family-Style All-You-Care-To-Eat-Chicken-Dinner” on Sundays and its Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theatre every Friday and Saturday night. Oh, and the place is haunted. In America, bigger is better and weird is fantastic.
The Mystery Room at the Arizona Biltmore – Speaking of mysterious haunts, the Mystery Room in Phoenix, Arizona gives us a little taste of America’s Prohibition days. Originally opened in 1929, the Mystery Room at the Arizona Biltmore can only be accessed if you know the “whisper word.” Complete with double-sided bookcases and a secret staircase, the Mystery Room was a true speakeasy during Prohibition and known for being a jazz-age celebrity hangout in its heyday. To access the bar on Sundays, you’ll need to look for the “whisper word” on the Biltmore’s social media pages. Happy hunting!
From burgers to beer, the mighty Mississippi to mysterious speakeasies – America is one heck of a place to call home. Our ancestors fought for our rights and for what’s right, so we could make this nation our own – and we have. So, cheers to the beers we’ve made and the nation we’ve built together. Happy Fourth of July!