This archive features posts about restaurants in Omaha, including round-ups for best breakfast, best pizza and best date night restaurants. If you’re looking for a good place to eat in Omaha, browse these posts.
For many people, it started in the Old Market with the old Localmotive and its amazing rounders. Fortunately, when Localmotive’s owners decided to shut down the truck, the recipes for the round mound of deliciousness was purchased by Nick Bartholomew of Over Easy. The filled bread rolls were added to the southwest Omaha restaurant’s menu.
Then, as the food truck scene exploded in Omaha, you’d find them scattered around town – Taste of New Orleans, Taqueria del Ray, and more.
To help satisfy our unending drooling for more food truck cuisine, several trucks started offering lunch downtown on Thursdays, near 14th and Dodge streets. That was great for everyone working downtown, but what about the suburbs? Where could they find food trucks in which to quench their desire for food from a truck?
What To Know About Trucks And Taps
Trucks and Taps teamed with three food trucks to anchor its 108th and Q streets location. Opened in the summer of 2020, Taps and Trucks offers beer, cider, and seltzer, as well as soft drinks, along with an opportunity to enjoy amazing food truck menus.
The former Sonic drive-in (and later a Godfather’s takeout location) is the perfect setting for the bar and food trucks. Joining as the “trucks” part are Big Green Q, Dire Lion, and Wonton Jon’s, each offering an impressive menu of tasty goodies.
Trucks and Taps features local craft beers, such as Kros Strain, Nebraska Brewing Company, and Farnam House. Additional Nebraska breweries and cideries include Glacial Till of Palmyra, Cosmic Eye from Lincoln, and Bootleg Brewery from Taylor. They’ll add a full bar later.
With plenty of outdoor seating available, Trucks and Taps can serve several people. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the location is strictly an outdoor bar.
As for the food trucks, each has a loyal following.
Big Green Q
Big Green Q takes its name for its farm-to-table philosophy. They use locally-sourced ingredients in creating amazing barbecue, including fresh produce, bread, and antibiotic and hormone-free meat.
Using Missouri lump charcoal, they smoke pork, chicken, wagyu beef, vegetables, and tofu. While the wood chips may vary, they, too, come from the Show Me State. Using two types of barbecue sauce, Big Green Q is sure to cover the bases – tangy red and yellow mustard.
While meat combinations, such as the Triple B with pork butt, pork belly, and pork ribs, are delicious, the true star may be the made-from-scratch tater tots. With a crunchy exterior, the inside melts in your mouth, leaving you starving for more.
You may be tempted to build your own meal from just the sides, with pulled pork baked beans, mac and cheese with white cheddar sauce and topped with bread crumbs, and their handmade Q slaw, highlighted with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette.
Tip: Big Green Q is the first food truck in the Midwest to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Its efforts have been supported by local energy outlets, including Metropolitan Utilities District, Nebraska Energy Department, and Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Who needs a British pub when you have The Dire Lion Grille and Chippy? Serving the best fish and chips this side of the pond, Dire Lion has been a favorite of food truck connoisseurs since setting up shop.
The beer-battered cod is as good as anything you’ll find in the United Kingdom. Add thick-cut fries, and you’ve got a great meal. Dire Lion’s menu also features chicken, shrimp, and another British favorite, bangers and mash.
As the third member of the team, Wonton Jon’s bring a twist to food truck dining – craft wontons. The baked wontons are topped with items to create delicacies such as Lox of Love, featuring salmon, capers, and garlic-favored cream cheese.
A favorite is the Thai Peanut Butter Chicken, with a creamy peanut butter sauce that rivals any Thai restaurant dish. Interested in a cheeseburger wonton? You will be when you see it. Grab dessert with an apple cinnamon wonton.
As Omaha’s culinary scene continues to grow, so does the popularity of food trucks. Now, thanks to Trucks and Taps, you don’t need to hurry downtown over your lunch hour. You can even take the family out for an evening meal or weekend lunch.
Long known as a steak town, Omaha’s barbecue scene has stepped up its game with some new joints opening, as well as veteran favorites. From Hartland BBQ in Benson to new West Omaha fave Porky Butt’s, pitmasters are really working to outdo one another. The question is no longer, does Omaha have good barbecue, but where should we eat? Here’s a fun look at some of the best local BBQ joints calling the Metro home.
Where: 15475 Ruggles St., Omaha
Blaine Hunter earned his barbecue stripes as a youngster, growing up in the world of Texas pit barbecue. Having competed in more than 130 competitions, Hunter has earned 85 Top 10 finishes, including 22 grand championships. Bringing a championship resume to the Omaha barbecue scene, Porky Butts was an instant hit with Omaha foodies when they opened their doors in 2019.
Your mouth will water as soon as you pull up into the West Omaha eatery’s parking lot. The smell of smoked meat and all the fixings is more than enough to make you want to throw on a bib and go to town on ribs, brisket and pulled pork, among other menu items.
A favorite with diners, the rib plate features mouthwatering smoked ribs along with two sides, such as smoked beans, mac and cheese, loaded grits, and more, plus cornbread.
Smoking Jay’s BBQ
Where: 2524 S. 13th St., Omaha
Family-owned, Smoking Jay’s has called Omaha home since 2015. Not far from Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens, and downtown Omaha, Smoking Jay’s BBQ thrives on its smoked pork and beef ribs, as well as brisket and gizzards.
Enjoy unique sides, such as Jay’s fried potatoes, pan-fried with garlic peppers, onions, and topped with cheddar jack cheese, as well as baked beans, potato salad, and honey corn bread.
You can combine the best of barbecue with Omaha’s love for beef by ordering the Heart Attack Burger, a cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, a slathering of barbecue sauce, and homemade onion rings. Check out their smoked chicken wings as an appetizer.
Where: 5402 NW Radial Highway, Omaha
One of Omaha’s older barbecue joints, Hartland Bar-b-Que is a Benson staple. Located in a small building, Hartland BBQ is known for its smoked ribs. Its barbecue sauce is tangy without a lot of sweetness.
It’s been a family favorite for a few years, and continues to be one of the go-to barbecue restaurants in the Metro.
Joining the ribs are pork, brisket, and sausage, which can be enjoyed as part of a two-meat dinner. Sides include baked beans, coleslaw, and creamy cucumber salad.
Taking over vacant restaurant space at the Best Western hotel in southwest Omaha in 2017, Tired Texan BBQ quickly established itself as a player among Omaha’s barbecue scene, often running out of meat before closing time.
How does an Alabama native choose the name Tired Texan BBQ, and especially in Omaha? The original Texan joint called Birmingham home. The owners honored the original Tired Texan after he passed by choosing the name for the Omaha eatery.
With smoked meats, such as St. Louis spare ribs, pork, and brisket, you’ll want to order a two-meat combination (though single meats and build your own plate options are available). Add sides such as baked mac and cheese, smoked potato salad, creamed corn, and coleslaw that is dressed to your preference (creamy, tangy vinegar, peppercorn, or poppyseed).
Swine Dining BBQ
Where: 204 E. Mission Ave., Bellevue, Neb., and 12120 W. Dodge St., Omaha
Taking over an award-winning barbecue restaurant, a group of friends decided it would be fun to own their own restaurant. With the original Swine Dining BBQ location on Mission Avenue, they serve up excellent barbecue, including smoked ribs and chicken, as well as sandwiches such as pulled pork, brisket, and smoked sausage.
Try their All in the Pool sandwich, consisting of pulled pork, smoked sausage, and brisket. Add a side of smoked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and corn of the day – corn mixed with peppers, onion, and sausage or cream corn with jalapeno – and you’re set for a delicious BBQ outing.
With the success of the Bellevue location, Swine Dining opened a second location near 120th and Dodge.
Boyd and Charlie’s
Where: 2706 Main St., Elkhorn, Neb.
Open for more than 15 years, Boyd and Charlie’s has been a stalwart in downtown Elkhorn. Serving up barbecue that keeps people coming back, the family-owned restaurant features a tasty menu, including chopped pork, hickory-smoked sausage, mesquite-smoked ribs, brisket, and honey-smoked turkey.
You can also grab an order of burnt ends, as well as sandwiches with all the smoked favorites, including homemade chicken salad. With sides such as beans featuring smoked meat and sauce, corn casserole, and creamy coleslaw, you’re set for a great meal.
Jim’s Rib Haven
Where: 3801 Ames Ave., Omaha
A North Omaha staple since 1967, Jim’s Rib Haven has been a local favorite for great barbecue.
Fans can enjoy beef ribs, spare ribs, and rib tips among other favorites, such as link sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and the ultimate sandwich combo of beef, pork, and turkey. Jim’s serves the standard sides, including baked beans and coleslaw.
Try an appetizer, such as poppers, saucy fries, or chili fries.
Where: 513 S. Main St., Council Bluffs, Iowa
When you’ve been in business for nearly 15 years, you must be doing something right. At Boxer Barbecue in Council Bluffs, that involves making everything from scratch. From BBQ nachos as an appetizer to barbecue spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork shanks, you’re in for a real down-home treat when you visit Boxer Barbecue.
Combine any of their meats in a two- or three-meat combination plate and add two delicious sides. The sides seemingly could be a meal themselves, with the baked beans including an ample serving of pork, Carolina-style creamy coleslaw, and potato salad that starts with a creamy sour cream base and adds skin-on red potatoes and smoky bacon.
Omaha may not be Kansas City when it comes to barbecue, but our culinary landscape has improved with some new BBQ joints joining the veterans. So, tie on a bib or bring plenty of hand wipes, because you’ll want to get messy enjoying some Omaha barbecue.
Locals’ favorite barbecue in Omaha
I polled readers recently on which is their preferred barbecue joint in the Omaha area and the results were not too surprising given this list:
Porky Butts was the run-away winner.
Tied for second were Hartland Bar-B-Que, Jim’s Rib Haven, and Tired Texan.
In third was We’ll Smoke You Barbecue.
And a write-in entry was Papio Pit BBQ, which I think I ought to go check out!
If you know of a great barbecue restaurant in the Omaha area that wasn’t mentioned in this post (for example, barbecue food trucks), please leave a comment and let all of us know about it!
Food trucks in Omaha have been growing in numbers and popularity in recent years. Many have legions of fans who follow social media feeds to find out where they’ll park next, or they venture to downtown Omaha for Food Truck Thursdays. When I first published an intro to Omaha food trucks, the count for food trucks was around 15ish. Now, Omaha has nearly twice that (probably even more flying under the radar).
UPDATE: This post was written in April 2020 and updated in July 2020 with new information.
I’ve categorized food trucks by cuisine. Most likely, whatever you’re craving, there’s a food truck for that. I didn’t include all the members of the Omaha Food Truck Association, only because it was hard to determine if a few were still operating.
Please double-check that the food truck is still in operation before going. Some operate only on a seasonal basis.
The Cheese Life
Where to find them: Omaha and nearby communities
What they serve: All things cheesy. They have a variety of grilled cheeses, as well as mac & cheese, cheese curds, cheese tots and whatever else the can be dipped in cheese.
Chicago Dawg House
Where to find them: Once a storefront at Midtown Crossing, Chicago Dawg is now a mobile food truck called the Weenie Wagon. I’ve seen them at Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing.
What they serve: Chicago-style hot dogs, of course. Plus brats, sausages, Italian beef sandwiches, and fries.
What they serve: A variety of burgers (both veggie and regular), plus sides like quinoa salad and potato wedges. This is a unique food truck, since they carry the same mission as the bricks and mortar location, Table Grace: “The mission of Table Grace Ministries is to nourish hungry bodies and souls, while fostering a healthy community. This is done by offering tasty, healthy food prepared and served to anyone who walks through the door, regardless of one’s ability to pay.”
On The Hook Fish and Chips
Where to find them: Omaha and surrounding communities
What they serve: They describe themselves as a “A farm to table food truck running on compressed natural gas.” Expect smoked meats, barbecue sauce and amazing tots.
LeBlanc’s BBQ, Cajun & More
Where to find them: Omaha and Council Bluffs
What they serve: This is one aptly named food truck. They serve pit barbecue and Cajun food like gumbo, crawfish etoufee and fried stuff.
Sauce Bosses BBQ & More
Where to find them: Omaha and surrounding communities.
What they serve: Wood-fired smoked meats on sandwiches and ribs. They have several meal deals, though they recommend pre-ordering them via Facebook messenger so it will be ready when you go to the food truck.
Smoke On Arrival BBQ
Where to find them: Kennard, Neb., and communities outside of Omaha (including Tekamah, Arlington and Blair). See where they’ll be on their Facebook page.
What they serve: Baby back ribs, and barbecue standards for sides like coleslaw and cowboy beans.
Tattoo Bob’s Bar-B-Q
Where to find them: Omaha. They announce upcoming locations on their Facebook page.
What they serve: Slabs of ribs, whole smoked chicken, brisket sandwiches and more barbecue fare.
Taste of New Orleans
Where to find them: Omaha and surrounding communities
What they serve: Authentic Cajun cuisine, like jambalaya as well as plenty of fried foods like shrimp and fish.
The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy
Where to find them: Trucks and Taps at 108th and Q streets, as well as in surrounding communities. Check their website for the schedule.
What they serve: Tasty, tasty pub food like fish and chips. The menu is surprisingly vast, though, so you’ll also occasionally find falafel, chicken tikka masala, and kebabs.
What they serve: This is the food truck version of the classic Omaha steakhouse, Piccolo’s. Think meatball subs, burgers and food smothered in marinara.
Where to find them: Omaha. They share their location on their Facebook page, usually.
What they serve: Pizza (“so good, your hair will stand on end”), of course, plus salads, wraps, and a few sides.
Johnny Ricco’s Brooklyn Pizza
Where to find them: Omaha and nearby communities. They have a calendar on their website, but they seem to keep social media more frequently.
What they serve: Brooklyn-style pizza, by the slice or whole pies, plus a few other Italian specialties. Pizza toppings are seasonal, though they do carry some standards. And don’t forget dessert: They serve cannoli and fudge.
La Casa Pizzaria Food Truck
Where to find them: Omaha. I’ve seen them at Omaha events like Taste of Omaha.
What they serve: La Casa is one of my favorite pizzerias in Omaha, serving up this unusual thin-crust rectangular type of pizza that is just divine. It’s served by-the-slice. Menu also includes sandwiches and a few other specialties.
What they serve: Snowballs, which are fancy and fluffy snowcones made with shaved ice and topped with exotic or classic flavors. When the weather’s cold, they have hot chocolate.
The Smoothie Truck
Where to find them: 84 Hogan Drive, Papillion, Neb.
What they serve: The biggest list on their menu is, not surprisingly, smoothies. They also serve açaí bowls and a variety of avocado toast. Their menu lists quite a bit of organic ingredients.
Where to find them: The park is usually parked at the Supermercado and Thrift World parking lot at 2900 Leavenworth St.
What they serve: Snow cones with a 36 different flavors.
Sweet Rice Thai Food
Where to find them: Springfield, Neb., and Omaha
What they serve: I think this was Sweet Lime Food Truck back in the day. Now, that bright lime-green truck is Sweet Rice Thai Food. They sell fried rice, pad Thai, and a variety of other Thai deliciousness. They have a brick and mortar location in Springfield, but occasionally, the food truck is out and about.
El Arepon Venzuela Food Truck
Where to find them: ALDI parking lot at 885 S. 72nd St.
What they serve: Made-to-order Venezuelan food like arepas, empanadas and quesillo.
Strange times we’re in. I can’t even put into words how much I wish I could gather a group of friends at one of my favorite Omaha restaurants for a relaxing meal and drinks. But, for now, photos are going to have to suffice. And Instagram is the place to find them. I rounded up local restaurants who have brought their A Game to Instagram these days. Give them a follow!
PS: Please follow me on Instagram, too. I’m @ohmyomaha.
Omaha Restaurants That Rock On Instagram
These restaurants are killing it on Instagram with their drool-inducing photos. If you can't visit your favorite local restaurant (or discover a new favorite), then at the very least, curate an Instagram feed full of good food.
If you're looking for a good burger paired with a German beer, this is the place and these are the photos.
Want to know more about restaurants in Omaha?
If you’re new to the blog, let me fill you in on something: I write about Omaha a lot. And I tend to write A LOT about Omaha restaurants. Use the search tool to lookup type of food found in Omaha (try pizzas, bakeries, hamburgers, donuts, steaks) or neighborhood (I recommend Blackstone, West Omaha or the Old Market).
I’m a mom, so most of time, dining in Omaha is a chaotic affair with my young kids. But we still dine well. So if you want to know where to go in Omaha where you can enjoy good food AND feel comfortable bringing along kids, read this post about family-friendly Omaha restaurants. I even narrowed down a few good options in the downtown area.
What’s your vice? Cupcakes? Donuts? Freshly baked croissant that remind you of Paris? Or, how about a taste of Lithuania? Whatever your preference, it seems Omaha has the bakery for you. From Orsi’s to Le Petit, here’s a look at a baker’s dozen of Omaha’s amazing bakeries.
Note: Businesses update their hours and modes of operation daily (or even faster) during this unprecedented time. Please have patience and call ahead before going to any of the bakeries, just in case.
Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria
Where: Little Italy at 621 Pacific St.
Omaha’s oldest Italian bakery, Orsi’s opened its doors in 1919. The bakery has made fresh bread and rolls without preservatives almost daily for more than 100 years.
The Italian twist loaves are perfect for dipping with marinara sauce. The store also bakes fresh rye bread, pumpernickel, and garlic bread.
Orsi’s has long been a stalwart of the Little Italy neighborhood. When the bakery was destroyed by fire in the late 1990s, locals rallied to help the owners rebuild.
The home of Omaha’s Sicilian pizza, as well as other Italians goods, such as fresh olives, authentic pasta, and a deli, Orsi’s is a popular stop for Omahans from all neighborhoods.
You’ll want to take your goodies home, as the bakery has limited seating.
Olsen Bake Shop is your typical neighborhood bakery. Located in a small building, The bakery features two cases showing off the daily offerings – kolaches (pastries with fruit filling, jams, and other treats in the middle), donuts, other pastries, and cookies.
The South Omaha staple has been offering delicious pastries since 1942.
Open for nearly 50 years ago, the Lithuanian Bakery was created by Lithuanian immigrants and continues to be a family-owned bakery. Famous for its torte, the dessert takes three days to make and consists of eight layers of wafers, each coated with vanilla buttercream and lemon extract, with a layer of apricot in the middle.
The popular dessert has people arriving early and willing to stand in line every Saturday, when the torte is available. Try their chocolate torte for a change of taste.
The bakery also creates delicious bread, such as sourdough rye and country rye. The “Kommis Brot,” a thinly-sliced pumpernickel, is made in the old country tradition.
The bakery has a second location, Lithuanian Bakery and Kafe at 7427 Pacific St., which features “old country” recipes and the bakery’s treats.
Where: 608 S. 72nd St. (a second location is opening soon!)
Known in its early days as Alotta Brownies in Fremont, Michelle Kaiser rolled the dice and moved the bakery to Omaha, changing its name to Omaha Bakery.
Located about a block north of the world-famous Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha Bakery is known of its delicious brownies and cheesecakes.
The baker also makes cakes, including wedding cakes, as well as bread. Omaha Bakery has also added a keto menu.
Where: South Omaha at 5106 S. 24th St.
Deep in the heart of 24th Street, the South Omaha stronghold has been a fan favorite for nearly 20 years. A visit to International Bakery offers a fun experience, as donuts and pastries have Spanish names.
Even if you don’t speak the language, part of the fun is choosing a delicious-looking treat. Your taste buds will commend your choice.
Take your order to go and enjoy eating at a nearby plaza, where you can enjoy people watching, as well as the beauty and colors of the neighborhood.
While a second International Bakery is located on Vinton Street, it is owned by relatives but isn’t associated with the original bakery.
Where: Downtown at 1603 Farnam St.
The original Culprit Café, along Farnam Street, features an open kitchen, where you can watch the staff create everything form cookies and pastries to the lunch specials.
Known for its homemade bread and cannoli, the café often changes its menus, so you may find new treats during your visit. Order a flavorful coffee to enjoy alongside your pastry. You can also treat yourself to breakfast or lunch, and then enjoy a pastry as dessert.
A second location opened at Midtown Crossing in 2018, which features a separate menu from the original.
Where: Aksarben Village at 2121 S. 67th St.
It started with a family chat at the kitchen table. Bill and Brad Jones, along with family members, created Jones Bros. Cupcakes, as a “dessert restaurant.” They opened their first location in Aksarben Village in 2010.
Jones Bros. quickly established itself as one of Omaha’s best places to go for great desserts, including cupcakes and cakes, even cheesecake. Made from scratch, cupcakes include fan favorites red velvet, vanilla, and strawberries and cream.
From giant-sized treats, which require a fork, their cupcakes have earned them having been named as the best in Omaha several times.
The eatery has also been featured on national television programs, including Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” With competition from local restaurants, Jones Bros. Cupcakes added sandwiches, soups, and salad to its menu.
While the original location continues to anchor the franchise, Jones Bros. Cupcakes also expanded to two more locations in Omaha – Lakeside and Westroads’ Flagship Commons.
Where: North Downtown at 502 N. 16th St.
Not far from the campus of Creighton University, Pettit’s Pastry has called the North Downtown area home since 1954. Located in the neighborhood long before it became a trendy development area, Pettit’s Pastry adds an old-school touch to the modern buildings going up around it.
Home to old-fashioned pastry treats, such as rolls, donuts, and fruit-filled turnovers, order a flavored coffee, cappuccino, or latte, and you can mix old-guard bakery treats with a modern take on coffee.
Take your order to go and enjoy it during a stroll around Creighton University’s beautiful campus.
Whisk + Measure
Where: 2505 S. 133rd Plaza
Whisk + Measure isn’t your typical bakery. Home to all types of baking, they pride themselves on creating cakes and treats that include vegan, paleo, and keto diets. They also offer gluten-free and dairy-free options.
While cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecakes are among the most popular items at the bakery, its menu includes muffins, scones, cookies, and bear claws.
Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee – they use local distributor Reboot – with your treat in the comfortable seating area.
Farine + Four
Where: Midtown at 3020 Leavenworth St.
Home is where the heart is, they say. But, after some time in New York, a Nebraska woman returned home to open her own bakery. Farine + Four is the vision created from the days in New York for Ellie Pegler.
Today, the Omaha bakery creates outstanding pastries, bread, croissants, and bagels, using organic flour and no preservatives. Along with breakfast sandwiches and freshly-brewed coffee, a visit to Farine + Four provides a worldly experience. Grab an order of chocolates to enjoy at home.
Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop
Where: Cathedral Neighborhood at 813 N. 40th St.
Located in the Cathedral neighborhood, Sweet Magnolias is a boutique bakery, whose menu features delicious cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, and more.
Known for its cardamom cake, Sweet Magnolias is owned and operated by a Nebraska native, who grew up learning to cook and bake from her parents and grandparents.
Located next door to Lisa’s Radial Café, grab your treats to go and take a walk around the area, taking in the views of St. Cecelia Cathedral and Joslyn Castle.
Where: 1314 S. 119th St.
Omaha’s original cupcake shop, Cupcake Island opened in 2006, offering a unique take on cupcakes. With flavors like Pink Champagne, Strawberry Shortcake, and Devil’s Food Among Us, there is no shortage of cupcakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
It’s been my family’s go-to spot for birthday cakes for years, too.
When Ed LeFebvre decided it was time to sell the bakery and head off to retirement, he sold Cupcake Island to sisters Melany Dean and Crystal Ryczko in 2018.
They’ve added to Ed’s original concept – why mess with success? – with their own specialties. Melany is a chocolate connoisseur, while Rachel enjoys making cheesecakes.
Cupcake Island annually competes for “Best in Omaha” honors.
Le Petit Paris Bakery
Where: Pepperwood Village at 567 N. 155th Plaza
Travel to Paris without leaving Omaha with a visit to Le Petit Paris Bakery. Like its neighbor, Le Voltaire French Restaurant, the bakery is also owned by world-renowned Chef Cedric.
The bakery features croissants made with pure butter, handmade eclairs, and macarons, as well as bread, pastries, and other sweets.
Imagine life along the Champs-Elysees by adding a cup of rich coffee and enjoying your croissant or other treat at an outdoor table, just like in Paris. The bakery is closed on Monday.
Which Omaha bakery is for you?
Whether you’re looking to pick up a dozen donuts for home or enjoying a true dining experience, Omaha’s bakeries offer the best of all worlds. Whether you want a good old-fashioned donut or maybe a classically-designed cupcake or pastry, you can travel around the world for the best treats, all without leaving Omaha.
From Omaha’s oldest Italian bakery celebrating more than 100 years in business to new owners of local classics, enjoy visiting the city’s best bakeries.
“All in the Famiglia” can be the name of most Italian restaurants in the Omaha area. Locally-owned ristorantes seem to be family affairs, with everyone from Nonno or Nonna to children barely able to see over the counter. There’s a role for everyone in the family. And with that family connection comes some of the best Italian cuisine you will ever enjoy. We wanted to sample a bit of the menu in Omaha, and here are some of the best Italian restaurants in the Omaha Metro area.
Roma Italian Restaurant
Featuring homemade dishes from scratch, Roma Italian Restaurant has been serving huge portions of classic Italian dishes since 2016. From classics such as spaghetti with meatballs and chicken parmigiana to unique combinations such as shrimp and scallop alfredo, dinner at Roma can be shared with a dining partner or you’ll be guaranteed enough leftovers to have a meal or two afterward.
Located in a former La Mesa restaurant building, the Italian eatery is located along Fort Crook Road.
You would think that with name like Mangia Italiana, the ristorante would feature an upscale menu with white table cloths and a wine list that may require a second mortgage. Instead, you’ll find a casual family restaurant high on serving great pizza and Italian classic entrees.
The combo pizza is considered the most popular pie, featuring sausage, beef, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, and black olives. You can go with the specialty pizzas, which also include buffalo chicken and veggie, or you can create your own. No matter which route you choose, you’ll enjoy one of Omaha’s best pizzas.
Mangia Italiana’s classic dishes feature Italian and Sicilian traditions, which feature your choice of pasta (spaghetti, mostacciolli, fettucine, or bow tie) which a variety of sauces, including Sugo, an authentic Sicilian sweet and spicy tomato sauce with meat.
Orsi’s Italian Bakery and Pizzeria
Where: 621 Pacific St. in Little Italy
Omaha’s oldest Italian eatery, Orsi’s Italian Bakery and Pizzeria opened its doors as bakery in 1919. Now, more than 100 years old, Orsi’s may lay claim to “Omaha-style pizza,” with its rectangular pie featuring fresh toppings on top of special sauce.
Pizzas come in three sizes – quarter (six slices), half (12 slices) and full sheet (24 slices). Pizzas are ordered to go, as Orsi’s has little room for dine-in orders. The dough is made fresh daily and you can watch team members toss it as they prepare pizzas. Try the Goudarooni, a double-crusted pizza that will challenge your appetite.
The bakery also supplies fresh rolls to several Italian restaurants around the city. Orsi’s doesn’t use preservatives, so the bread is truly fresh and you won’t find day-old rolls in restaurants. Orsi’s also sells deli meat and a small section of Italian sweet peppers, and more.
The bakery also supplies fresh rolls to several Italian restaurants around the city. Orsi’s doesn’t use preservatives, so the bread is truly fresh and you won’t find day-old rolls in restaurants. Orsi’s also sells deli meat and a small section of Italian sweet peppers, and more.
Tip:This is the longest-running restaurant in Omaha! Find out more about Orsi’s and its history in this restaurant feature.
Where: 15701 Pacific St. in West Omaha
Offering the Omaha area great Italian cuisine for more than 25 years, Vincenzo’s Ristorante shares its heritage through dishes such as penne diavolo, with penne pasta, Italian sausage, onion, black olives, mushrooms, and sweet peppers tossed in a roasted red pepper cream sauce.
Baked pasta dishes include lasagna (meatless), ravioli, and manicotti. With a house wine available at each table, Vincenzo’s features a full bar, as well as non-alcoholic drinks. You may want to order cannoli for dessert.
Where: 16901 Wright Plaza suite 173 at Shops of Legacy
Nick Strawhecker rolled the dice and opened a wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzeria during the Great Recession. More than 10 years later, his concept not only succeeded but inspired a series of copycat restaurants. None of them came close to the originality, taste, and style that Strawhecker has created with Dante.
With a menu that focuses on farm-to-table options, Dante is considered one of the best pizzerias in Omaha. Besides the thin-crust pizzas that are ready within 90 seconds, as they’re baked in a wood-fired oven approaching 800 degrees Fahrenheit, Dante’s menu also features seasonal pasta and chicken dishes. The restaurant features a world-class wine list.
Caterina Malara came to America from Italy through Argentina. She and her husband immigrated to the United States to start a new life together. Sadly, her husband died in a work-related accident.
Forced to find a way to provide a good life for her four children, Caterina, then in her early 30s, started selling ravioli out of her home. After several years passed, she found a spot at the former Rotella’s Bakery on the corner of 21st and Pierce streets. She primarily sold sandwiches out of a small window. Later, a friend lent her money to buy the building when Rotella’s decided to sell the building.
Turning the building into a new restaurant, Malara’s Italian Restaurant opened its doors in 1984. Caterina, after more than 35 years, continues to work in the kitchen, overseeing the prep work and kitchen staff. The restaurant still uses the pasta maker that she used in her home when making ravioli. The pasta has a unique texture and the red sauce matches with a special taste of its own.
If you are a fan of trying new things, order the pasta with brascioli, a meatball rolled around bacon stuffing.
Lo Sole Mio Ristorante
Where: 3001 S. 32nd Ave. in South Omaha
A favorite among celebrities and locals alike, Lo Sole Mio is a story of love. Don and Marie Lo Sole opened the South Omaha restaurant in 1992, but it seems like Lo Sole Mio has been around for much longer.
A favorite for special events and family reunions, everything about Lo Sole Mio says classic Italian. From the serving staff’s uniform dress to the dinner salads, soups, and the delicious bread and rolls (you’ll beg for more), it sets the standard for an outstanding dining experience.
With classic dishes such as veal piccata, pasta reggio, and baked lasagna, a visit to Lo Sole Mio creates memories. As you wait for your table (everyone in your party must be present before you’re seated), check out the pictures on the wall of famous diners, such as Tony Bennett, Tom Osborne, and Tony Lasorda.
Where: 1108 S. 10th St. in Little Italy
Via Farina’s pizza dough is similar to a fine wine, it needs time to age. In this case, the chic pizzeria takes about three days to curate its pizza crust. Using a wood-fired oven, Via Farina bakes its pizza for less than two minutes in temperatures approaching 900 degrees.
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant on 10th Street features unique pizzas such as patata pizza, with potato confit, black pepper, and oregano, among other toppings, and pasta dishes such as ricotta cavatelli. Via Farina also delivers in the Little Italy via Vespa scooters.
Where: 11027 Prairie Brook Road in Rockbrook Village
Lillo “Leo” Fascianella immigrated to Omaha with his parents as a young boy. Calling Omaha home since 1972, the chef has created one of Omaha’s best-known Italian restaurants, opening Pasta Amore in 1986.
With a menu starring traditional Italian fare, such as eggplant parmigiana and lasagna, Chef Leo describes his work as edible paintings. With a wine list to complement each entrée, Pasta Amore ensures it challenges the most-finicky palate.
La Casa Pizzaria
Where: 4432 Leavenworth St.
From the day it opened in 1953, La Casa Pizzaria was popular with diners across Omaha. Using a square pan to make its pizza, La Casa developed its reputation as one of Omaha’s best Italian restaurants with its unique pizza that features a special sauce and Romano cheese. Its pasta dishes, such as spaghetti, lasagna, and mostaciolli, are topped with marinara or spicy rosa sauce.
A visit to La Casa is a throwback to the early days of Omaha’s classic Italian ristorantes.
Omaha’s Italian heritage shines through with its restaurants. From traditional fare to adding a twist to classic dishes, you can find an Italian restaurant that delivers a unique dining experience.