Thank goodness for eagle-eyed Jane. As we drove through the town of Gering, I gazed with admiration on the handsome old sign of Gering Bakery. Jane looked below that at a small, plain sign posted in the window advertising cabbage burgers. Being that this is Nebraska, home of the Runza and the Bierock – bread pockets stuffed with ground beef, cabbage, and spice – we pulled over to check it out.
Sure enough, a cabbage burger is a non-corporate Runza (that latter name has been trademarked by a chain operation out of Lincoln), and a delicious one at that. Available in bulk or one at a time, heated up by the kind lady behind the counter, they are fully enclosed pillows of tender bread inside of which is a heap of juicy beef and peppery bits of cabbage and onion. Delicious; real comfort food.
Our hearts won over by the cabbage burger, we had to sample some of the good-looking sweet pastries on the bakery shelves. We very much liked the crisp-edged old-fashioned cake donuts and fell instantly in love with something called a peanut butter pretzel. That's a twisted piece of pastry dough generously frosted with sweet peanut butter icing.
Most business is take-out, but Gering Bakery offers a few window tables as well as help-yourself coffee and a cooler full of soda for those who want to dine here.
"Here is a food that dates back to the Volga Germans who settled on the American plains over a century ago. They brought with them their recipes for a baked yeast-dough bread pocket filled with beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, and onions. It is generally known as a bierock or runzie, but here at Gering Bakery it is a cabbage burger."
"If you like peanut butter and have a serious sweet tooth, the frosting on Gering Bakery's peanut butter pretzel will send you into orbit."
"I highly recommend the bear claw doughnut, one of my family favorites."
"It's good to know what the local specialties are before you visit a strange place. Knowing that Nebraska is home of the Runza and the bierock helped us guess (correctly) that 'cabbage burger' was a name for the same thing."
"I was so busy admiring the handsome facade of this old small-town bakery that I didn't notice the sign in the window for cabbage burgers."