The Legendary Career of Henry Rice: A True Icon of Bronco’s


Henry Rice, the man who has grilled up sizzling burgers at Bronco’s in Omaha for over six decades, is a true legend in the restaurant industry. With a career spanning generations, Henry’s commitment to his craft and his unwavering dedication to his customers have made him an icon in the community. This article delves into the remarkable journey of Henry Rice, highlighting his early days at Bronco’s and his impact on the lives of those around him.

The Early Years: A Drive-In Legacy

Henry’s journey at Bronco’s began when he was just 15 years old. He joined the team under the guidance of Bill Barnes, the owner of Primas drive-in located at 16th and Binney. Starting as a carhop, Henry quickly learned the ropes of the fast-paced food industry. However, he admits that his early days on the job were not without their challenges. The concept of fast food was still relatively new, and Henry had to adapt to the demands of the grill. Despite the initial learning curve, his determination and work ethic propelled him forward.

“Not very good at first – I’ll be honest. It was a new experience for me. I wasn’t used to the fast food. It was all new in them days. It was all new.” – Henry Rice

From Carhop to Grill Master: The Rise of Henry Rice

Henry’s skills on the grill improved over time, earning him a promotion to the management team at Bronco’s. His dedication to his work and his commitment to providing excellent service to customers set him apart. Throughout his career, Henry had the privilege of working with three generations of the Barnes family, who owned Bronco’s. From the father to the son and now the grandson, they all recognized Henry’s contributions and treated him with the utmost respect and kindness.

“This is the third generation of the Barnes family. I worked for the dad, the son, and now the grandson, and they’ve all treated me very, very well.” – Henry Rice

Impacting Lives: Fond Memories of Henry Rice

Over the years, Henry Rice has not only served countless customers but has also made a lasting impact on the lives of those he worked with. Many former colleagues and employees have shared their heartfelt congratulations and memories of Henry, expressing their gratitude for the opportunities he provided and the positive influence he had on their lives.

Mike Stephens, who worked with Henry during his high school years at North High, fondly remembers his time at Bronco’s:

“I worked for him while I was going through high school at North High. Got a job there, worked there for I don’t know how many years flipping hamburgers, cleaning the lot, doing everything. Yeah, it was an experience. But Henry was a good boss.” – Mike Stephens

A Legacy of Hard Work and Dedication

Henry Rice’s retirement has sparked mixed emotions among those who have had the pleasure of knowing him. While many are thrilled for him to enjoy a well-deserved break, they also acknowledge the void his departure will create at Bronco’s.

Stacy Rice Houska, Henry’s daughter, shares her pride in her father’s accomplishments:

“I could not be prouder of my dad! He is an example of hard work and dedication. His huge personality, humor, and kindness are what make him shine so bright. Love you, dad! Now take a break.” – Stacy Rice Houska

Henry RetirementRetirement: The Next Chapter

As Henry Rice enjoys retirement, he cherishes precious moments with his family. While he teased at the idea of a part-time job, he believes that if he’s going to work, he might as well do what he does best.

“I’ve heard so many people have retired they end up getting a part-time job. Well, if I’m going to get a part-time job, I might as well do what I do best.” – Henry Rice

The End of an Era: Henry Rice’s Lasting Legacy

As Henry embraced retirement, the impact he made on Bronco’s and the Omaha community will be felt for years. His dedication, hard work, and genuine care for his customers have left an indelible mark on the hearts of many. While his absence is undoubtedly felt at Bronco’s, his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of grill masters and restaurant professionals.


Henry Rice’s remarkable career at Bronco’s exemplifies the power of hard work, dedication, and a genuine passion for one’s craft. From his humble beginnings as a carhop to his role as a beloved manager, Henry’s journey has been one of growth, resilience, and unwavering commitment. As he embarks on the next chapter of his life, we celebrate the many memories he has created and the positive impact he has had on the lives of those around him. Henry Rice, a true icon of Bronco’s, leaves behind a legacy that will be cherished for years to come.

From all of us at Bronco’s; management, employees and customers, we all want to say…

“Thank you Henry”