Having worked in downtown Omaha for more than five years, and living downtown for about seven years before that, I know my restaurants in the area. And I know which ones are great to take kids to. If you’re looking for a family restaurant in downtown Omaha, here are some of my recommendations.
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UPDATE: This post was published in December 2018 and was updated in March 2023 following the closure of Monster Club.
Family restaurants in downtown Omaha
Breakfast & Brunch
While there are a handful of restaurants in the Old Market that serve breakfast or brunch, when it comes to dining with kids, we usually go for something fast.
My two favorite donut shops in Omaha happen to be downtown.
Olsen Bake Shop
Olsen is strictly a carry-out, hole-in-the-wall kind of bakery, but don’t let that deter you. They have, quite arguably, the best donuts in Omaha. Not only do they taste good, they’re cheap, too.
Address: 1708 S. 10th St. (just south of the Old Market)
Like Olsen, Pettit’s downtown location does not have the most eye-catching exterior. But never you mind. You’re there for the donuts. This is also carry-out only.
Address: 502 N. 16th St. (North Downtown)
Upstream Brewing Co.
Not into sugary treats so early in the morning? Check out the brunch at Upstream Brewing Co. While there isn’t a kid’s menu, it’s breakfast and if they’re hearty eaters, they’ll be fine. Breakfast is only on Saturdays, and my favorite time to go is when the weather’s warm and the outdoor seating is open.
Address: 514 S 11th St. (Old Market)
Burgers & Casual Fare
The Blatt Beer & Table North Downtown
By all appearance, this looks like a gastropub where grown-ups want to hang out in peace, but they’re pretty welcoming to families.
The kid’s menu is above-average here (try the chicken strips), and the location can’t be beat for games and shows at TD Ameritrade Park and CHI Health Center. Plus, they have a changing table in the bathrooms.
Address: 610 N. 12th St. (North Downtown)
Block 16 is one of the most popular sandwich shops in Omaha. It’s so good, it has one of Alton Brown’s favorite burgers in all of America. The croque garcon is a messy, but delicious creation.
But, being so popular often means a long wait. So it’s tricky bringing kids here, especially if they’re cranky when they’re hungry. I think the wait is worth it, but you be the judge. NOTE: In 2021, the restaurant is temporarily take-out only.
While here is no kid’s menu, I’ve had my kids split chicken fingers when we’ve gone there.
Address: 1611 Farnam St. (downtown)
Durham Museum Soda Fountain
Tucked in the corner of the upper level of the Durham Museum is an old-fashioned soda fountain. You’ll need to pay admission if you’re going to dine there (so might well plan to explore the museum’s trains and exhibits).
Kid-friendly fare–like hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and mac and cheese–are on the menu.
Address: 801 S. 10th St. (just south of Old Market)
Trini’s The Mexican Restaurant
Trini’s is located in my favorite part of the Old Market: The Passageway. It’s a charming indoor space with shops and restaurants.
Trini’s is pretty casual and budget-friendly Mexican food. While there is no kid’s menu, it’s pretty easy to find something suitable for a kid’s appetite.
Address: 1020 Howard St. (Old Market)
Upstream Brewing Co.
I know. A brewery? I’ve gone for brunch, lunch, and dinner and my kids have always been welcomed. There’s usually some form of entertainment to occupy them while we wait for the food.
They also happen to have great beer. The upstairs area will be more of a bar-like atmosphere, so stick to the first floor or the outdoor seating in front.
We’ve even gone on Mardi Gras with kids and had a blast. They had live music and a face painter. And beads, of course.
Address: 514 S 11th St. (Old Market)
Plank Seafood + Provisions
My kids are touch and go with seafood, but I can often get them to eat the fish sticks at Plank. The menu for adults and kids is pretty good (try to get there at happy hour for the best deals), and when we went, they gave my kid fun temporary tattoos.
Address: 1205 Howard St. (Old Market)
Shuck’s Fish House & Oyster Bar
A more casual place to go for seafood is Shuck’s. While Plank has the charming Old Market as its neighborhood, Shuck’s is tucked in a rather unappealing part of downtown Omaha. Don’t let it deter you.
It’s great for families, with paper on the tables for coloring and a decent kid’s menu. I like the Cajun options there.
The small outdoor patio in the back is a nice refuge, too.
Address: 1911 Leavenworth St. (downtown)
Do you want New York-style pizza? We got it. Do you want Sicilian pizza? We have that too.
Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria
It’s Omaha’s longest-running restaurant for a reason. The garlic bread is my favorite, though it hardly makes a meal, so go ahead and order a sheet of pizza.
Orsi’s is mostly carry-out, though they’ve been known to set up an impromptu table for dining in.
Address: 621 Pacific St. (Little Italy, south of the Old Market)
Zio’s is a bit of an institution in Omaha. If you dig New York-style pizza, try it out because it is pretty tasty pizza. There is a kid’s menu, and often, the waiter will bring a ball of dough to the table to keep your kid occupied.
Address: 1109 Howard St. (Old Market)
Related post: 20+ Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha
Headed to the Omaha zoo?
Have plans for a day at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium? You can purchase food there at plenty of dining locations, but they aren’t always satisfying and they’re definitely pricey.
If you didn’t pack a lunch, here’s a nearby option we like:
Louie M.’s Burger Lust, 1718 Vinton St. Located in the historic Vinton neighborhood, this small but charming burger joint is going to please both kids and parents. I brought the kids here after a trip to the zoo recently, and was pleased they had a kid’s menu. Order a burger, obviously.
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