The slice is right: Baxter's brings dining option to Benson
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013 17:01
With the rise of many bars, venues, restaurants and other miscellaneous businesses, Benson’s late-night scene has become quite popular over the years. On any given weekend, the bars are nearly bursting with thirsty customers.
After a long night of thirst quenching, a lot of people get hungry. But after a certain hour, the dining options have been pretty scarce. Adding to the neighborhood’s after-hours food scene, as well as giving a nod to Benson history, Baxter’s has been serving up by-the-slice pizza and sandwiches since December – and they certainly have got it going on.
Co-owned by Lot 2’s Brad and Johanna Marr and Scott Stephens, Baxter’s is doing pizza right. It’s made from scratch, includes fresh – some house-made – ingredients and features products from other local businesses. The name comes from Baxter Chrysler, which started on Maple Street in the 1950’s, directly across the street from the new restaurant.
Stephens, a grandson of Johnny Baxter, and the rest of the ownership saw it fit to pay tribute to that piece of Benson history. Another fun fact for Mav readers, Brad Marr and Scott Stephens both graduated from UNO.
The menu is simple, offering pizza, sandwiches and salads. In lieu of fries, Baxter’s serves tater tots. But within the simplistic menu lies a bunch of variety. I have made several visits since their opening and have tried a little bit of everything sans the salad. Whether I get it to go or to eat in, I have yet to be disappointed.
On my first trip I kept it simple, ordering two slices of sausage pizza. I enjoy many styles of pizza, but I can never resist a good meat-and-cheese combo. The sausage is finely ground and is house-made. The fine chunks get a nice crispness in the oven, giving it a great texture. The cheese – a house blend of mozzarella, provolone and romano- is plentiful and of high-quality, as each bite leads to stringy, white goodness trailing off the slice. The thin crust, my favorite style, is as it should be: nice and crispy on the edges and able to maintain under the sauce and ingredients. At $2.50 a pop, this makes for a cheap and filling meal.
Their specialty slices are only slightly more expensive, but are decked full of great ingredients.
The mushroom pizza comes to mind. For $3.50 a slice you get a combination of crimini, shiitake and portabella mushrooms that are accompanied by caramelized onions, goat cheese and garlic cream. The mushrooms are chopped finely, allowing for an even distribution from bite to bite. The goat cheese and garlic sauce gives the slice a wonderful creaminess to it.
After a slice of this, you won’t be able to look at what any corporate pizza chain tries to pass as mushroom pizza the same way. The margherita slices are also very recommendable. It’s just $3.25 a slice and is served traditionally with olive oil, basil, mozzarella and tomato sauce. It is a simple, fresh and light option.
Their cheese pizza is $2.25 per slice and, as mentioned earlier, their single-topping slices are $2.50. Additional toppings are 50 cents extra per slice and there are about 20 different offerings to choose from. All specialty and other slices have the option of being served gluten-free and start at $4.00 a slice.
There’s a slice for everyone at Baxter’s, but their sandwiches are not to be scoffed at either. A few visits ago I ordered a sandwich for my girlfriend and I. I was feeling carnivorous and she wanted something a little more-green, so I ordered the meatball sandwich and California club.
All sandwiches are served on toasted bread from Dundee’s La Quartier bakery. The meatball is what you’d expect, served with nicely prepared meatballs, provolone cheese and Baxter’s house red sauce. It is so simple, yet so good. It’s an easy choice for someone trying to fill up after a few beers or anyone who is just plain hungry. The California club is on the other end of the spectrum in terms of complexity. It is served with turkey, an avocado spread, jalapeno bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and a house-made mayo. My girlfriend loved it, citing many distinct flavors and good texture throughout. Both sandwiches were $7.00 each.
Baxter’s is yet another breath of fresh air pumped into the Benson community. It’s a unique addition to the neighborhood that complements other businesses and gives area diners something new to try. It is this sense of community, along with piles of fresh and tasty food that is going to make Baxter’s a Benson staple for years to come.
Baxter’s is located at 6113 Maple Street and is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 5-10 p.m. Their phone number is 402-614-0870.
An official website is under construction and will be up and running in a week or so, but a menu can be found on the Baxter’s Facebook page.