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Nebraska dining destination

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 9:58 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a visit to Scottsbluff, we discovered a tapas-style restaurant that locals and visitors enjoy. And, it turns out, it’s located inside an old gas station.

Jim Trumbull is the owner of The Tangled Tumbleweed, and James Montoya is the Executive Chef and General Manager. We talked with both of them about the establishment. “This was West Conoco back in it’s origination,” Trumbull said. “So for some of us that have lived in the area for years, we came here as kids with our parents. We got our gas filled up, we got our car windows cleaned, and actually the inside of the car cleaned out. Over the years, it’s had several different forms, but the owners that started The Tangled Tumbleweed got the idea out of Carlsbad, California. They created this, and we’ve just kind of taken it and run with it from there.” As you might imagine, the name comes from the big tumbleweeds that can sometimes be found rolling across the high plains of the Panhandle.

A tapas-style restaurant offers small plates, and at The Tangled Tumbleweed, you’ll find a great wine selection. “A very well-known restaurant had closed in the community, and as for myself as a business person, we wanted to keep attractions like these going,” Trumbull said. The owner wants to keep restaurants like this going, to support not only the local economy, but support tourism. “We get a wonderful crowd,” Trumbull said. “We get people from California, New Mexico and even international destinations.”

The executive chef says he was working at The Emporium when it closed. That’s the restaurant that Trumbull referenced that had closed. Trumbull hired James Montoya to work at The Tangled Tumbleweed, and it’s been going strong ever since. Montoya says the serving sizes are a little larger than traditional tapas-style restaurants. “We have stuff that ranges from Italian food, to traditional Spanish, to Korean and Japanese,” Montoya said. “We want this to be a place where people want to keep coming back.”

The Tangled Tumbleweed is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. “It’s great to keep these buildings and attractions going,” Trumbull said. “Our downtown is doing well, and we want to make sure we are a part of that.”

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