36 new Lincoln restaurants open in 2022 amid economic challenges

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln had several new restaurants open in 2022, but numerous eateries across the city also closed before the year ended.

But overall, the net growth in the number of restaurants was the highest in several years, according to Grow Lincoln’s Robin Eschilman.

In 2022, 36 restaurants opened and 27 closed, for a net gain of nine.

“On average, we will see a net gain of one to two restaurants,” Eschliman said.

Lincoln’s 36 restaurant openings were the second most in the last decade, according to Eschilman.

“What surprised us was, given the fact that the pandemic funds were dwindling, and given the fact we know we’re going into a recession, it was surprising that so many restaurants remained open,” Eschliman said.

L’s Kitchen near 17th and Van Dorn Streets is one of the 36 restaurants that opened in 2022.

The owner, Lawrence Deveillers, said becoming a successful restaurant in Lincoln is extremely challenging.

“The first year is always the most difficult,” he said. “One of the biggest issues is under-capitalization.”

About three-quarters of the eateries that closed last year were local restaurants, not chains or franchises, Eschilman said.

Despite Lincoln’s tough market, Develliers said he’s proud to own one of the local restaurants that stayed in business.

“Local businesses, we must strive to provide three main things: consistency in service, consistency in product and then always from scratch,” he said. “To give the customer an experience that he or she wouldn’t get in a franchise business.”

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