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Crane River Brewpub and Cafe

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200 N 11 St
Lincoln, NE 68508 View Map
Phone: (402) 476-7766

Alcohol: Wine / Beer

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What users are saying about Crane River Brewpub and Cafe:
"I must admit that I'm somewhat surprised to hear the comments on this board directed to Crane, but it takes all types, I guess. Speaking from my experience, I've always been put off by the somewhat vacuous, superficial, and forced be-bop enthusiasm than one typically receives at Applebee's and a..." (Read More)

What users are recommending:
"the attitude adjustment pie cheese and artichoke dip w/ beer bread (app) garbanzo burger, cheese ..."

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Comments  Comments 1 - 7 of 7

Date Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003 (report spam)

Better than the Applebee's clones
I must admit that I'm somewhat surprised to hear the comments on this board directed to Crane, but it takes all types, I guess. Speaking from my experience, I've always been put off by the somewhat vacuous, superficial, and forced be-bop enthusiasm than one typically receives at Applebee's and any of its other nefarious copiers. My food has always been excellent, the atmosphere is better than any place else, and the wait staff have always been courteous (which is all I want them to be).
Recommended: Chicken Chardonnay, Bangers and Mash
Food: 8
Service: 6
Ambiance: 10
Overall: 8

Date Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2003 (report spam)

Bad service, good food
I always thought I was the only one that thought Crane River waitstaff were rude. They are, and I frequent the place quite often. Fortunately, most of the food is quite good and reasonably priced. They are often NOT crowded, which is nice for the customer b/c it keeps things quiet, but makes me wonder how long they can stay in business. My summary is this: Good Food, Good Beer, Poor Service. Work on the service and I would recommend Crane River to others. As it is now, most of my friends aren't too keen on going there b/c of the unwelcoming attitude.
Recommended: chicken pot pie, tomato soup
Food: 6
Service: 4
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 4

Date Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2003 (report spam)

Are we talking about the same place??
My partner and I and a number of friends have gone to Crane River at least once a week for the past three years. The service has always been friendly, the tables clean, and the food wonderful. Mistakes have been made on occasion, but they are always quickly rectified. True, a couple of the servers aren't as friendly as the rest, but at the worst they're still professional and efficient. Crane River has a good selection of some of the best vegetarian food around; we've never been disappointed. I can't address the beer since I don't drink it, but their coffee drinks are great. Maybe the people who had all the trouble need to evaluate their own interpersonal skills (and tipping habits) and then give the place another try.
Recommended: Garbanzo burger, Veggie Melt, Buffalo Chips (minus the buffalo)
Food: 10
Service: 8
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 8
- Are we talking about the same place??

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 (report spam)

Food interesting, Service average, Prices good
I think I know what the other reviewers are talking about in terms of service. I've never really had BAD service at Crane River, but there is a certain distance the staff has towards their customers. They seem to find it harder to smile than waiters at other places. I almost get the feeling they've got their minds on what they'll be doing after work. I feel a little petty mentioning it, but it occurs to me that if other customers are getting this impression too, it might explain why the place always seems so EMPTY when I go in there. Saturday night...Friday night...when other places dowtown are packed, it seems like there's never more than a dozen or so customers in Crane River. (When there isn't a big event taking place) I couldn't really figure it out...the food is interesting, and the prices are EXCELLENT. I'd really like to see the place succeed. Maybe this input will get back to them and help correct things. The veggie burrow and Buffalo burger are two healthy standbys that I like to order. I don't know if they still have the sheppard's pie, but it's excellent. Some of the brews are rather pedestrian, but one or two are good.
Recommended: Veggie Burrow
Food: 6
Service: 6
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 6

Date Posted: Monday, August 12, 2002 (report spam)

Good Place
I read the other reviews and mostly disagree. I will admit that I have seen some poor service at Crane River. Usually, however, the service has been good. The one or two times where I had a problem, it was always fixed immediately. For example, once my food somehow never got brought, and after waiting for around 40 minutes and then complaining, I was not charged for dinner and urged to also order free dessert. I have also sent food back there once with no problems. I have not experienced a "cooler-than-you" attitude from any of the staff, but it is correct that the restaurant often attracts and is staffed by bohemian inspired young people. As for the beer, I find Crane River's light ales, wheat, and pale ales to be superior to those found at Lazlos (and many other brewpubs I have visited). Carhenge (an orange wheat ale), when they have it, is particularly good. I cannot speak for the darker ales such as ESB, Porter, or Stout. I am told that Lazlo's Third Stone Brown is quite good, but pale ale tends to be as dark as I order, so I can't personally say. The food at Crane River is hit and miss. There are some great vegetarian dishes. I especially recommend the garbanzo burger. I would stay away from everyday items such as hamburgers or steak. These are ok, but you can get better elsewhere in Lincoln. The one exception to this is the fish and chips, that is also done quite well. The ambiance of the place is nice, It gets a lot of natural light and I like some of the unique features (ask about the origami cranes if they are hung up at the time). I like the outdoor seating when the weather is nice.
Recommended: garbanzo burger, cheese and artichoke dip, four cheese pasta w/ vegetables, oriental salad, fish and chips, blackened chicken sandwich, mighty red gumbo, red beans and rice
Food: 4
Service: 8
Ambiance: 10
Overall: 6

Date Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 (report spam)

Poor Service, but Worth a Visit
The review of 21 April 2002 is consistent with my experiences at Crane River. I lived in Lincoln for several years during and after graduate school, and Crane River was the department-default meeting place. Partially due to the informal university connection at owner-level, Crane draws a large UN-L crowd, many of whom style themselves as young bohemians. There is a distinct 'cooler-than-you' attitude present from both the waitstaff and the regulars at the bar. I knew some people bothered by this, although most people I knew from major metro areas were amused. The service is often indifferent, especially for a larger party. The food tends to be good, however, and reasonably priced. The quality of the beer is variable. I suspect they have had a series of brewmasters, as for a period in 2000, it was quite poor, sending my custom to Lazlo's instead (whose Empyrean beers are still superior). I returned to Lincoln in late April 2002, and found everything to be as remembered, and the beer to be better quality. On the balance, I would recommend Crane River, as there are several dishes on the menu I like, and the beer can be good. The happy hour prices are better at Crane than at Lazlo's, and that with the additional draw of outside seating makes Crane a decent place on a nice afternoon. The strongest asset is that there is no television anywhere to be found, which is extremely rare in Lincoln. Too many places in Lincoln trash their atmosphere for the sake of trying to lure people who would rather go to BW-3 or Applebees anyway.
Recommended: cheese and artichoke dip w/ beer bread (app)
Food: 4
Service: 4
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 4
- Poor Service, but Worth a Visit

Date Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2002 (report spam)

Poor Service, Poor Attitude, Poor Management
Out for a fun, Friday night with my friends, we thought we'd go to Crane River and a movie. We frequent the restaurant several times a year. It seemed Crane River could care less about our business. How disappointing. Between the 3 of us, we work for the 2 largest companies in Lincoln .. gee, guess we'll be spreading the word about how we were treated at Crane River. The story? From the minute we walked in the door we were overlooked to be seated for dinner. We looked around and thought it would be fine to sit in the bar area, and from past experience knew we could get served dinner there. We sat at a booth and were rudely told by the hostess that we needed to wait to be seated for dinner. We tried to explain that we had waited and that everyone standing behind us were seated and so we decided to just sit in the bar area. The hostess disgustedly pointed to the higher tables in the bar area and said we could sit there. After about 5 minutes an arrogant waiter came over and took our drink orders. After being served our drinks we decided we were ready to eat and asked another waitress for menus. She gave us one and when our original waiter came back he informed us we couldn't order food where we were sitting. We were quite stunned since we had now been sitting there about half an hour and we were still hungry. We sat thinking about all that had happened and decided that Crane River was busy and the first incident of being overlooked to be seated was not that bad, but that it just continued to get worse from there and so I went up to talk to who looked like they were in charge (manager, owner, I don't know). I explained the whole situation and again I got a kind of disgusted response, but she DID say she could get us a table for dinner -- mind you in the process the hostess came up and argued about what had happened. I went back to see if that is what my friends wanted to do and they came up to the hostess stand. The person in charge then proceeded to "school" us on how we should have gotten the hostess to seat us in the first place. The other 2 in my group also tried to explain the same thing I had explained and both women from Crane River continued to argue with us. I finally asked if they wanted our business or not and the one in charge said, "Well......" Guess she answered our question. I guess the customer is not important for a business to thrive! Well, here's not just 3 less customers, but anyone else that ask any of us what we think of Crane River.
Recommended: the attitude adjustment pie
Food: 2
Service: 2
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2

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