Runza (restaurant)

  • Runza Drive-Inn
  • Runza Hut
Founded Lincoln, Nebraska (1949 (1949))
  • Sarah "Sally" Everett
  • Alex Brening
Headquarters Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Number of locations
80 (2014)
Area served
  • Nebraska
  • Western Iowa
  • Eastern Colorado
  • Eastern Kansas
Key people
Sally Everett, Alex Brening & Donald Everett
Products Runza (Sandwich), Frings™, Sandwiches, Burgers, Soups

Runza (/ˈrʌnzə/; previously also Runza Hut) is a regional fast food restaurant chain specializing in ethnic cuisine once served by the Volga German immigrants to the United States.


In 1949, Sarah "Sally" Everett and her brother, Alex Brening, opened the first Runza Drive-Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska, and began serving Runza sandwiches, a type of pastry filled with ground beef, onion, and cabbage from a small building near Pioneers Park. They eventually opened more locations in the late 1950s and added hamburgers to the menu. Her son, Donald Everett, and friend, Rod Beckman, who took over operations in 1966, began franchising and established a company.

As of August 2014, the company operates and franchises 80 locations.[1] There are 75 locations throughout Nebraska with one location in Colorado (Loveland), two in Iowa (Council Bluffs and Clarinda) and two in Kansas (Lawrence and Mission).

The menu offers several types of Runza sandwiches, 100% beef hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, homemade onion rings, soups, and milkshakes and their famous "Frings"™. The regional chain began a children's menu featuring "Runza Rex & Friends" and participates in helping kids with reading and literacy programs.

Runza is also one of the staple foods at Memorial Stadium, Lincoln along with Valentino's Pizza and Fairbury Hot Dogs.

The meat and cabbage sandwiches are popular with sports fans, as the Western Illinois University's student newspaper, the Western Courier, reported that 10,000 Runza sandwiches were sold at vending stands in the stadium during the September 2004 football game between Western Illinois and the University of Nebraska.[2]

Runza carries the tradition of the former Lincoln-based Miller & Paine department store's trademarked cinnamon rolls by using the same recipe and methods of baking, to which it purchased the rights in 2006.[3] The rolls are also served at Runza's sister chain, Braeda Fresh Express Cafe, which has two locations in Lincoln.


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