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 beyond 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."
"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 highly recommend the bear claw doughnut, one of my family favorites."
"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 (see photo below)."