Keystone Tavern & Grill looks a bit like a dive bar on the outside. Truth be told, it looks a little like a dive bar on the inside too when you first walk through the door with the flashing beer signs and pool tables. But before you decide that the best thing you’ll get here are some greasy wings, walk up to the bar and ask to see the menu and prepare to be impressed. You should then ask to see “the secret menu,” which will really get your taste buds interested. Better yet, if owner Tim Lewis is there, lean across the bar and tell him you want to see “the double secret menu.”
Luckily, there’s no secret handshake
There are some hoops to jump through before you can get your hands on the double secret menu. First of all, you have to know to ask for it because they’re not going to just hand it to you when you walk in. You might see one of the secret menus lying around if you’re lucky, but the double secret menu has to be requested by name.
You also have to come at a certain time. Keystone Tavern & Grill only serves lunch on the weekends for a couple hours and dinner is from 4:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. every night. Walk in at any other time and they’ll enthusiastically offer you a drink, but you won’t be able to order food, let alone get your hands on the double secret menu.
By the way, if you’re there for a drink, ask for a Zombie Killer, which is served out of a gasoline can. Really.
Expect the unexpected
So what can you order to eat? The regular menu has some interesting items on it including the Mac Daddy Burger topped with homemade mac & cheese and the Bronco Burger featuring a 1/3 lb. charbroiled beef patty topped with pit-smoked brisket and BBQ sauce. You’ll also find the standard bar fare: chicken wings, onion rings and all that jazz.
Move on to the secret menu and things start to get even more interesting. Sandwiches with names like “The Big Oinker” and “The Tony Soprano” are what you’ll find on the secret menu. There’s also an Elvis Burger that has peanut butter and bacon as toppings. You’ll want to try out the double crusted deep fried brownie while you’re at it, just for good measure. “Don’t worry,” Tim jokes, “We cook all the calories out of it.”
What’s on the double secret menu? Who knows? Tim’s an interesting guy so don’t be surprised if he comes up with something that is so intriguing that it freaks your mouth out a little. He’s also serious about the food they serve. I sat at the bar looking at photos of dishes he’d come up with. Buffalo sweet corn. BBQ pulled pork nachos. Chocolate wings. As we flip through the photos, he gazes at them like a proud parent looking at school photos of his children. “Hopefully folks will venture to the edge of Benson and find a surprise in our food,” he says.
When I ask Tim how he describes his food, he says, “we offer good bar food that’s twisted up.” After a pause, he then adds, “I’m just an Omaha native trying to build his dream, working 18 hours a day and battling the high price of food to give a decent meal at a reasonable price.”
Keystone Tavern & Grill
7821 Military Avenue
Monday – Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
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