Blue Planet Natural Grill

Do you have your list of regular places you default to when you just don’t feel like cooking? For us, it’s the Dundee Dell, Dario’s Brasserie, New Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob, Noodles & Co and Chipotle. The trap with the Dell and Dario’s is the booze, with New Amsterdam it’s the curry fries, and with Chipotle it’s the 1800 calorie burritos. At least Noodles & Co. provides some sensible options if you want to be good. But more often I’m starting to feel like it’s time for something new and healthful to jump into the rotation. So we tried the Blue Planet Natural Grill at 63rd & Center.

Their deal is this: give ’em the food they want but without all of the crap that comes with it everywhere else. So they serve up burgers & pizzas & sandwiches – and salads & wraps – without the deep frying and the trans fats and the high fructose corn syrup. Nutrition abounds.

It’s a walk-up counter, casual place. Unfortunately someone had burned something before we arrived, and the smell of icky diner lingered in the air. (Their Grand Opening is tomorrow… so… still working out the kinks I guess). The place is pretty sparsely decorated – some photos of leaves and one promotional poster area on the walls, tables & chairs (not that there needs to be more) – and the menus are displayed on large monitors behind the counter (one was flickering – annoying considering how much there is to read). The emo kids working the joint could have given a rat’s ass that we were there. But there was an inviting selection of families and couples and single ladies hanging out to reassure us.

I ordered a veggie burger a la natural with sweet potato home fries. Jon ordered a southwest burger (sans bacon) with their SunFries (un-fried fries, you see). We were confused by the kitchen lingo used by the kid who brought our burgers to the table, so he was convinced they mixed up our meat/non-meat orders. His burger was quite thin, but after I showed him a carrot in my veggie burger, he believed we had it right.

While his meal certainly was no Burger Star burger, it was 8 million times better for him and actually good. I have no frame of reference to compare this veggie burger to others, but it was quite tasty in my book. We liked the wheat buns and fresh veggies, for sure. The sweet potato fries were dusted with cinnamon and some were better than others, but there’s a whole slew of side options to pick from to branch out next time.

I’m no restaurant critic, and I wasn’t about to drop the cash to try a bunch of stuff on the menu. But this town does have restaurant critics who have written about Blue Planet in the Omaha World-Herald and the City Weekly . I’m certainly willing to go back to try one of their bowls or salads or pizzas, or smoothies, or breakfast.

Verdict: If you give a crap about what you put into your belly, give it a shot! It’s just a do-able bike ride from my home (and not far from the Keystone Trail), so I can see some summertime visits on the [distant] horizon. I’m looking forward to their online ordering going live – so much easier than chopping all of the veggies myself.

Read about more Omaha-area restaurants.


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