Built as Omaha’s first suburb, Dundee has gained fame as the site of a World War II bombing and the home of famous people, such as Academy Award-winning actor Henry Fonda, director Alexander Payne, and the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett. Dundee is also home to classic and outstanding restaurants, such as Dundee Dell.
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Dundee neighborhood history
Omaha’s original suburb
As Omaha’s original suburb, Dundee Place – named after a Kansas City housing area – was designed by Shannon Brothers of KC in 1880. Developer John Nelson Hayes Patrick hired the contractors to build six houses Bettendorf 48th and 52nd streets from Capitol to California.
Built one at a time, each house had its own distinctive style, eliminating any ideas for box-cutter styles. Covenants required each house to be built at least 25 feet from the street, and cost at least $2,500. They also couldn’t be used for illegal reasons.
When houses didn’t sell immediately, developers decided to build Dundee as a village. Adding about 2,000 maple trees and planting them along roads, they also created Underwood Avenue. Offering free lots to prospective homebuilders, because of Dundee’s disturbs from Omaha, as well as a $500 bonus for people who remained in their new homes for a year, developers struck gold.
When a housing boom started in the early 1900s, houses sprang up south of Dodge Street, so Dundee annexed the area – Happy Hollow. With Dundee-Happy Hollow established as far south as Elmwood Park, houses are designed in the Colonial, Georgian, and Tudor Revival.
As Omaha grew, the city eyed its neighbor to the west, and in 1915, annexed it, adding Dundee to the city.
At one-time, streetcars were the preferred transportation in Omaha. Before its annexation, Dundee was one of the prime routes for Omaha’s streetcars, being added in 1907. Streetcars were popular through the late 1940s.
But, when automobiles became affordable during the mid-1950s, streetcar usage plummeted. The final streetcar ride in 1955 started in Dundee and ran to the streetcar barn near downtown.
World War II bombing
Dundee’s true claim to fame may have been the Japanese attack during World War II. During a quiet night on April 18, 1945, a balloon floated overhead, then suddenly exploded. It more like fireworks than a bomb, and didn’t spark much of a response.
The bombing – kept secret until after the Japanese surrendered a few months later, ending World War II – is immortalized with a historical marker near Dundee Dell at 50th and Underwood.
Things to do in Dundee
Dundee had grown as a neighborhood, while maintaining its own identity. With tree-lined streets, spacious yards, and unique houses, Dundee remains a beautiful area.
With Memorial Park and Elmwood Park on the western edge of Dundee, it seems fitting to include them as part of the neighborhood.
Memorial Park, covering nearly 70 acres, hosts an annual summer concert featuring music legends and attracting thousands of people. However, Memorial Park is a popular destination almost daily, with the World War II and Korean War memorial standing high on top of the hill overlooking the rest of the park. President Harry S. Truman helped dedicate the park’s rose garden in 1948.
Veterans memorials were relocated to Memorial Park in recent years from Heartland of America Park. Among them are a Marine monument and Airborne sculptures.
Memorial Park is a popular area for relaxing during warm months including sunbathing, Frisbee playing, picnicking, or just people watching. During the winter, sledding ranks high.
Perfect for picnicking or enjoying a walk, Elmwood Park is located off Happy Hollow, near the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. A public swimming pool is popular during the summer. The park is also home to a city-owned good course.
Dundee restaurants and cafes
Underwood Avenue is home to some of Omaha’s best restaurants. Enjoy international fare at a variety of eateries, and top of your experience with locally-produced ice cream.
Jaipur Indian Restaurant
Where: 5018 Underwood Ave.
Fusing Indian and American cuisine, Jaipur Indian Restaurant features a delightful menu starring tandoori dishes, as well as restaurant-specific dishes. From grilled Colorado lamb sirloin rubbed with Indian spices and including roasted tomato chutney to classic chicken tikka, Jaipur’s entrees entice diners’ tastes. Add a beer from its in-house brewery or select one of its fine wines to complement dinner.
Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria
Where: 5021 Underwood Ave.
Unlike its wood-fire counterparts, Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria uses a coal oven to create its unique flavors. With pizzas ranging from Margherita to Thai, Pitch seeks to create international flavors. Not to be undone, Pitch also offers pasta entrees, fish, such as tuna and salmon, steak, salads, and classic burgers.
Amsterdam Falafel and Kabob
Where: 620 N. 50th St.
Amsterdam Falafel and Kabob’s menu is in its name. Order a falafel or kabob, and then build from there, with beef, lamb, or vegetarian options available. Sides include curry fries, feta fries, hummus, or peanut soup. The small eatery offers takeout service.
Where: 5013 Underwood Ave.
You can travel to northern Italy without leaving Omaha when you enjoy dinner at Avoli Osteria. Opened in 2013, the restaurant offers Italian cuisine with a modern twist. Dishes, such as Bolognese Bianco and Potato Gnocchi, are locally sourced or use ingredients imported from Italy. Wines, which complement any dish, are ones you would find in northern Italy.
Where: 5007 Underwood Ave.
After nearly a century in business, Dundee Dell soldiers on with new owners and a revamped menu. With its classic fish and chips (fries) headlining the menu, diners can also enjoy a Reuben or new classics, such as Chicken Tikka. There seems to be something for everyone at the new Dell, which continues to pride itself as a neighborhood pub. Liquor enthusiasts will enjoy a room to themselves.
Goldbergs in Dundee
Where: 5008 Dodge St.
With a view of historic Dodge Street, Goldbergs in Dundee offers an eclectic menu, ranging from lavosh flatbread and burgers to sandwiches, tacos, and salads. Goldbergs features a pet-friendly patio.
Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine
Where: 4646 Dodge St.
For more than 30 years, Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine has brought a taste of the Mediterranean to Omaha. Spending nearly three decades in the Old Market, Ahmad’s relocated to Dundee in 2020.
With Persian music playing in the background, diners enjoy colorful art on the walls as their tastebuds erupt with the flavors from dishes such as the Tehran Chicken, with grilled chicken marinated in saffron and lime, along with a dozen spices, with a side of rice and tomato. Banana slices add a special flavor to the dish.
Dundee Doubleshot Coffee
Where: 118 N. 50th St.
Whether you order a drink at the drive-thru or enjoy a latte, cappuccino, or espresso inside, surrounded by unique art and memorabilia, Dundee Doubleshot Coffee has been serving flavorful coffee since 2014. On a nice day, you may want to take your coffee on the shady patio.
Where: 5001 Underwood Ave.
Any visit to Dundee requires a visit to eCreamery. The lone store of the internet-based ice cream giant offers a variety of flavors, including specials named after events and people involving the city. With its bright colors and fun décor, enjoy your frozen treat inside or grab a seat outside on a bench made famous in a photo featuring Warren Buffett and Sir Paul McCartney eating eCreamery ice cream.
The owners were also featured on the television show “Shark Tank,” where their pitch wasn’t accepted by the Sharks, but the store honored the cast members with ice cream named after them.
Film Streams at Dundee Theater
Where: 4952 Dodge St.
An Omaha classic, Dundee Theater opened in 1925 as a silent movie house, before transitioning to “talkies” a few years later. It’s seen a variety of uses over the years, but mostly an art house, showing independent and foreign films.
In 2013, it closed renovations, and reopened in 2017 as part of Film Streams. Dundee shows first-run and independent movies. With Lola’s Café onsite, it’s easy to grab dinner before or after your movie.
Dundee Book Co.
Where: 4915 Underwood Ave.
Dundee Book Co. is a well-curated collection of books to browse, as it needs to be since its space is small. The independent book store is located on the first floor of a Dundee home. I go in there without a specific book in mind and, typically, leave with a wonderful find.
Where: 4973 Dodge St.
Head to Dundee Flea if you’re shopping for home decor or a unique vintage gift. The cute shop is a mix of old and new, with a variety of furniture for any room.
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For any locals reading this post, I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite places in Dundee?