Only a block away from the state capitol, Billy’s Restaurant has long been a popular spot with Nebraska senators, lobbyists, and aides. Located in the Noble-Dawes House, which was built in 1887 as a single-family residence by Henry Noble and U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes, who was also a banker, general, and Nobel Prize winner, Billy’s took over part of the building in 1986 after its having also served as a fraternity house and eight-unit apartment house.
Divided into three dining rooms, plus a bar, Billy’s walls are filled with antique photos and items representing Lincoln’s past — a visual history lesson for me to absorb before the owner, an Iranian native named Nader Farabod who studied computer science at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, joined me for a bit at my table. He asked about my camera, why I was visiting Lincoln, and how I was enjoying it so far before hurrying off to prepare my meal off the menu of hearty, unpretentious dishes.
Try This: If you’re in the mood for a sweet beverage, go with the cherry lemonade. Dinner gets a little fancier, but for lunch, start with the julienne strips of portobello mushroom caps rolled in panko breadcrumbs and served with a creamy havarti cheese sauce. There are a handful of sandwiches and pasta dishes for an entrée, but I went for the giant salad of sliced pan-seared chicken breast seasoned with Cajun spices, tossed with bell peppers, black beans, cheese, olives, onion, romaine lettuce, thick nacho chips, tomatoes, and a spicy peanut sauce.