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Nebraskans Know There's No Substitute for Runza | Noshtalgia

Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call
It’s almost impossible to find an authentic Midwestern runza in the area, but the pirozhki from Rus Uz in Arlington are a delicious, if not exact, substitute.

This came as no surprise to Nebraska Society of Washington, D.C., member John Zimmer.

“I don’t think there’s actually any place that sells runzas in D.C. or the surrounding area,” he said. And he would know.

The only way the Nebraska Society knows to sate members’ taste for the elusive treat is to ship some over in bulk, which they dutifully do each fall.

“While the Husker watch parties — which are now at 201 Bar — have been known to have other Nebraska foods like ‘Elk Creek Water’ [a grain alcohol-based punch] and Fairbury brand hot dogs, runzas are typically only flown back to D.C. for the society’s annual Taste of Nebraska,” Zimmer said.

So, save for giving the bar scene another go this October, it seems Carman is out of luck. Unless he considers giving home baking another go.

“I guess I’ve been afraid what my friends would think of runzas,” he said of his reticent to roll back the clock. “Nobody makes runzas for one. Not even [Washington Post Food Section editor] Joe Yonan.”

CQ Roll Call dining guru Warren Rojas will stop at nothing to track down your regional specialty/state dish/hometown favorite. Put him on the case by nominating your most sorely missed meals to gastrohunt@cqrollcall.com.

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