Sips and Subs offering home-style meals and service
By Doug Norby, NewsNetNebraska
Surrounded by vintage lunchboxes and an aesthetic that calls back to the golden age of diners, Nicki Cruse dishes out home-cooked food and lively conversation with her regular customers. And almost every customer is a regular at Sips and Subs.
Located at 1326 S. 33rd St. in Lincoln, Sips and Subs has gained a reputation as one of the most consistent restaurants in town, offering a staple menu with varieties of cold and hot sandwiches and all day breakfast, along with daily specials.
Doing it themselves
Nicki and her husband Jeremy attribute this consistency to their hands-on approach.
“We are the ones who butter the bread, and we are the ones doing the books as well. There isn’t any part of the business that we don’t do personally,” says Cruse, who met her husband and business partner when both were working as cooks at the now defunct TGI Fridays in Lincoln.
The Cruses took over the business from the previous owners in 2008, deciding that the risk of running their own restaurant was worth it after spending years as line cooks.
“I asked my dad if we should buy the business, and he said to me, ‘Do it, you’re both young and can always do something else if it doesn’t work out,” Cruse says with a laugh.
At lunchtime on a Friday the small diner, which seats only 15 people, is buzzing with activity. The Cruses trade off cooking and taking orders and seem to be on a first name basis with everyone who walks through the door.
Home away from home
Brandon Lesoing started frequenting the restaurant when he was attending UNL and still makes the 30-minute drive up from his home Cortland, NE., a few times a month.
“The memory Nicki and Jeremy have in regards to their customers is incredible, they almost always know the customer personally, and what their favorite dishes are,” Lesoing said. “They make you feel like you’re at a friend’s house and not a restaurant, which is a quality that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.”
Dave Stalder, who moved into the neighborhood two years ago, likes the attention to detail that shows in the quality of the food, as well as the service.
“It’s not like a typical restaurant, there is something about the way they prepare their meals here that gives it a home-cooked quality. I really can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather have breakfast, I can tell you that,”Stalder said while eating his biscuits and gravy, a popular menu staple.
The hours are long. The couple work 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m until 2 p.m. Saturday cooking and serving food, then handle the business side in the off hours. Cruse says despite the heavy workload, that at the end of the day she always has a smile on her face.
“It can be a lot of work, a lot of work, but not many people can say that they really love their job. I’m one of those lucky people.”