As I was heading back home on a business trip out of Omaha, I realized that I had just enough time before I had to be at the airport to make one burger stop. I had checked Hamburger America and all of my lists on Sunday night and the only place that was a possibility was Stella’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue (just south of Omaha). I plugged the address into my phone, drove past the airport and found Stella’s, just off one of the main roads.
Pulling into the parking lot right around 4:00 pm, I had about thirty minutes to experience this burger joint. Walking in from the bright sunlight, as my eyes adjusted I saw that there was a bar, just to my right. That looked like the ticket for quick service, as opposed to grabbing one of the high tops in that room or a table in the dining room to me left. I grabbed a stool and a menu.
Sitting there, the griddle was just off to my left and I watched them forming the patties and throwing them on the grill. The bacon was griddled as well. And then I saw the sign for the Stellanator – a six patty challenge – which according to the blackboard above the bar, 285 had attempted and only 13 had completed, the fastest (Molly) in 6:28. Holy cow! (Literally – at around six ounces per patty, that’s over two pound of beef alone.)
The menu offered many options, but I decided to go with a classic, and “George’s recommendation” – a bacon cheeseburger. I ordered a side of fries as well. And I really appreciated that, even though they had a Pepsi fountain, they sold Diet Coke, by the can. About ten minutes later, my burger arrived, on a napkin (the way they’ve been served since the 40s. I was offered the option of a basket, but I opted for the classic presentation.)
The fries arrived right behind the burger and were excellent.
I sliced the burger in half, took a picture and took a bite. The burger itself was charred perfectly, sealing in he juice. The bacon was thick cut, crispy and smoky. When I asked about the bacon, I was stunned that it wasn’t some local “boutique” bacon, but rather Hormel. Best dang Hormel bacon I’ve ever had. Just goes to show, that when you cook it right, amazing things can happen.
The bartender gave me my check, I paid and I had five minutes to spare in my thirty minute window. Had I actually been able to find a gas station on the way back to the airport, it would have been about smooth as possible, but that’s a story for another place. An excellent burger, fairly priced, in a place that used to be a dive but has gentrified well.