October 7, 2019

14 Best West Omaha Restaurants You Must Try

West Omaha is starting to be the spot for great, locally-owned restaurants. There was a time when I struggled to name one perfect West Omaha restaurant. But now, I’ve got a list of favorite West Omaha restaurants .

Read on for my list of the best restaurants in West Omaha, including those that are great for brunch, a few family-friendly options, and the best restaurants for date night. I included my recommendations on what to order, too.

I’m not done exploring West Omaha, so I have a to-visit list. Share your to-visit list in a comment!

On the hunt for good food in West Omaha? Here's a list of my favorites, including the best places for brunch, date night and a family dinner out! These are the best restaurants in West Omaha. #Omaha #Nebraska #localrestaurants

What is considered West Omaha?

Even if you are from Omaha, where exactly is West Omaha is up for debate. Depending on who you ask, West Omaha could have very different boundaries. Is West Omaha anything east of 72nd Street?? Should West Omaha include Elkhorn or La Vista??

Fun fact: Omaha has expanded over the years and annexed cities like Elkhorn and Millard. I’ve grown up always thinking of Millard as part of West Omaha, but not Elkhorn.

Anyway, I had some tough decisions to make, as West Omaha IS different for each person you ask.

For now, here’s the Oh My! Omaha definition of West Omaha: I’m considering restaurants in the area located between 120th and 192nd streets and between Giles Road and State Street. 

Casual dining in West Omaha

Casual here means you won’t need a reservation (though, there may be a wait), and you don’t need to dress up.

Blatt Beer + Burger

It wouldn’t be an Omaha restaurant list if I didn’t include Blatt, now would it? This is one of my top go-to restaurants when we’re out with the kids, because the food is fantastic and there’s a decent kid’s menu.

What to order: If you’re feeling indulgent, get the Dirty Bird. Do not attempt to eat it on a first date.

The best casual dining in West Omaha include The Corner Kick, known for its street tacos.

The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina

For creative Mexican dishes, head to The Corner Kick in Millard. This would be a good go-to spot to watch sports, if you’re looking to dine on something a little more inventive than the traditional sports bar fare.

What to order: They’re known for their street tacos, which aren’t too big, so you’ll want to order a few. I recommend barbacoa, carnitas and brisket.

Frank’s Pizzeria

Frank’s has some fans who will fight you if you say there is a better place to find New York-style pizza in Omaha. It’s been a while since I’ve had a slice, but I still trust it holds up given how die-hard some people are.

What to order: The last time I was there, I was vegetarian, so I can vouch for the margherita pizza. You can order by the slice, though, so get what you want.

Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill

Emperyean Brewery out of Lincoln opened a second location for its restaurant, Lazlo’s. This is a burger and beer joint, but it’s also family-friendly.

What to order: I’m a sucker for a good burger paired with one of their beers, like Third Stone Brown Ale.

Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar

If you want seafood in Omaha, you’ll find the freshest seafood at Shucks, the restaurant arm of Absolutely Fresh Seafood. You’ll usually find paper covering the tables, which makes coloring (with or without kids) a fun way to pass the time.

What to order: The New England lobster roll is pretty tasty, but if you like a little spicy kick to your meal, try the jambalaya.

Best West Omaha for fine dining

I use fine dining loosely here. You’d be just as comfortable in a cute pair of jeans and top as you would in a cute black dress at one of these restaurants.

Dante in West Omaha is a fine dining Italian restaurant that focuses in seasonal ingredients.

Dante

Italian food has never had it so good. Dante serves seasonal food in creative Italian dishes. The wine list is extensive.

What to order: The pizza’s delish, but if we’re talking date nights, try one of the fresh pastas so you’re not splattering sauce all over yourself.

Related post: Try one of these Omaha restaurants for your next date night!

Dolce

Dolce is one of those under-the-radar date night places that I never knew about until I was given a gift card there. What a treat! It’s nice enough to impress but not overly fancy. The food is expertly prepared.

What to order: Splurge and get the five-course chef’s tasting menu.

Pitch

The West Omaha location of Pitch not the original, but it maintains the stylish look of the Dundee location…and one ups it with an excellent rooftop patio. I’m always tempted to order a stone-fire pizza there, because they are so good.

What to order: Get the garlic cauliflower appetizer. You’re welcome.

Best sushi in West Omaha, Nebraska? One of my favorites is Hiro 88 Millard.

Hiro 88 Millard

I love sushi, but my kids, they don’t like the stuff. So, I save Hiro 88 for date nights. I’ve never had a bad roll. If you want to save money, go on a Sunday for their all-day reverse Happy Hour.

What to order: If you like rolls, get the Hiro Special.

Best breakfast in West Omaha

Breakfast is where West Omaha really excels. Here are some of my favorite places to get breakfast in West Omaha:

Bailey’s

You kind of have to expect a bit of a wait for this wonderful restaurant (just over the border of 120th Street, so I count it). Fresh and indulgent, I have yet to find a dud on the Bailey’s menu.

What to order: Bailey’s is known for their egg benedicts, all served with a homemade hollandaise dressing. Go for the classic or get a little wild and order one of their specialties like the the Blackstone benedict, which has grilled tomatoes and maple smoked bacon with the poached eggs and sauce.

Green Beans

Passionate about coffee? Then get your caffeine fill at Green Beans, quite possibly the best coffee in all of Omaha. I make special trips just to stop there.

Green Beans does serve food, however, I just order my delicious cup of coffee every single time I’ve been.

What to order: Coffee, of course. But if that’s too boring, go with the spiced chai latte.

The homemade seasonal pop tarts at Over Easy make it a popular breakfast and brunch spot in West Omaha.

Over Easy

Over Easy is a hip breakfast place that puts a creative spin on traditional breakfast foods (which is why my kids don’t like it). Ingredients are seasonal, so the menu is ever-changing.

What to order: Get the homemade pop tart in whatever seasonal stuffing they’ve concocted.

Shirley’s Diner

I grew up going to Shirley’s Diner back when it was a small place decorated with retro kitch. I loved it.

The diner outgrew its old digs, and it’s now in a shiny new space. It still has retro decor, and the same home-style food, though.

What to order: Get a fluffy pancake.

Vidlak’s Brookside Café

Vidlak’s has been around for ages and is a no-frills diner offering the best kind of breakfast comfort food you can imagine.

What to order: If you’re extra hungry, add one of their ginormous cinnamon rolls to your order.

West Omaha is one of Omaha's largest growing suburbs. Check out this list of the best West Omaha restaurants, featuring locally-owned restaurants that focus on seasonal ingredients or rely on tried-and-true classic dishes. List includes breakfast and brunch options, family-friendly restaurants, and several restaurants that are great for date night. #Omaha #Nebraska #OmahaWeekend #restaurants #eatlocal #localrestaurants #guide

West Omaha restaurants on my to-try list

This list features restaurants that probably should be on the “best of” list of West Omaha restaurants, but I haven’t been to them yet, so I don’t want to include them. However, they have pretty solid reputations, so I feel pretty confident including them.

La Casa Pizzaria West – I’m a huge fan of the original La Casa in Midtown Omaha, so I’m eager to see how the second location compares. La Casa has a thin crust pizza to die for. My personal favorite is the margarita.

Le Voltaire – Mr. Wonderful swears we’ve had a meal at the French restaurant Le  Voltaire. If we have, it happened early on in our dating years, so like, more than a decade ago. It’s time to revisit, sil vous plais.

Wave Bistro – I’ve heard raves about Wave Bistro, an Asian fusion restaurant in West Omaha. I wanted to go there during Omaha Restaurant Week, but alas, they were not open for my Sunday date night.

Whisk and Measure – This bakery keeps getting by my friends, especially those who’ve attended their brownie sundae pairings with Coneflower Creamery. Word is, Whisk and Measure has delicious vegan and gluten-free options, too.

Your turn: What is your favorite West Omaha restaurant?  

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September 3, 2019

Try One Of These Romantic Omaha Restaurants For Your Next Night Out

Omaha has a variety of fine dining restaurants that make date night a cinch. If you’re looking for a new romantic Omaha restaurant to try, this list is a good start!

12 romantic Omaha restaurants to try - Looking for your next date night idea or a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion? Check out this list of restaurants in Omaha that offer fine dining experiences. #Omaha #Nebraska #restaurant #eatlocal

I’ve divided the list into distinct regions of Omaha: Downtown/Old Market; Midtown Omaha; West Omaha; and North Omaha. Am I missing a good one? Leave a comment and let me know!

Downtown Omaha & Old Market restaurants that should be on your radar

Date night in the Old Market restaurant - V. Mertz located in the Old Market Passageway

La Buvette Wine & Grocery – This is quite possibly the most charming Old Market restaurant ever. The look and feel is French bistro, with wine bottles lining the wall and small wooden tables crowding the room and patio.

Definitely make an effort to snag a patio table, then just order a bottle of wine, a meat and cheese tray and watch the world pass by. Address: 511 S. 11th St. website

Lo Sole Mio – Away from the bustle of the Old Market, you’ll find this Italian restaurant hidden away in a neighborhood near Hanscom Park. They don’t accept reservations so expect a wait, but I promise it’s worth it. This was one of my first dates with my now-husband.

By the way…go hungry! You get your money’s worth here, and then some leftovers. Address: 3001 S. 32nd Ave. website

Nicola’s Italian Wine & Faire – This small Italian restaurant has a beautiful outdoor seating area that I highly recommend. Imagine fresh food served while seated under strung lights that twinkle. A fence helps make the busy street feel a world away. Address: 521 S. 13th St. website

The Boiler Room – For me, The Boiler Room is the ultimate splurge for a night out. It’s the perfect blend of craft cocktails, expertly prepared American cuisine, and a chic setting. Address: 1110 Jones St. website

V. Mertz – My introduction to V. Mertz, tucked in the uber romantic Passageway, was during a tasting event for bloggers. I returned a few months later with my husband for an anniversary meal. This is the archetype of romantic Omaha restaurants.

Both times, the intimate setting was unparalleled – and the food was delicious. If it’s in your budget, get the tasting menu. Address: 1022 Howard St. website

Midtown Omaha restaurants you shouldn’t skip

Midtown Omaha has many special occasion restaurants, including the Dundee favorite, Dario's Brasserie.

Au Courant Regional Kitchen – Benson is one of my favorite neighborhoods and its Maple Street corridor is one of my favorite roads to stroll. Au Courant is arguably one of the best restaurants in the city, so if you want a date night option to impress, make a reservation.

I went with friends and we all opted for the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings. It was a superb menu. Address: 6064 Maple St. website

Avoli Ostera – This is the lone restaurant on the list that I haven’t been to, but it’s included because its reputation is so solid. This Dundee neighborhood restaurant is designed to impress. The seasonal menu is focused on northern Italian dishes. Address: 5013 Underwood Ave. website

Dario’s Brasserie – This Dundee staple is a favorite go-to restaurant that doesn’t feel overly fancy, but still makes a romantic night out. It feels like a European bistro, with the best Belgian beer menu you can imagine.

It’s not a pretentious place, and if you go, be sure to get the frites with your meal. They are quite possibly the best french fries in the city. Address: 4920 Underwood Ave. website

The Grey Plume – The darling of the Omaha restaurant scene, this Midtown Crossing restaurant marries eco-friendly practices with gourmet cuisine. Address: 220 S. 31st Ave. suite #3101. website

West Omaha restaurants to add to your list

Menu items are seasonal at Dante Pizzeria Napoletana, a romantic restaurant in Omaha

Brother Sebastian’s – Dim lighting and fireplaces at Brother Sebastian’s sets the mood for a special night out. For a steakhouse aiming for a California monastery feel, it is surprisingly cozy and romantic. Address: 1350 S. 119th St. website

Dante Pizzeria Napoletana – Italian food made with fresh local ingredients? Sign me up. This was a memorable anniversary dinner for me and my husband. I got to return a few years later to have a fall tasting menu with fellow bloggers and it was even better than I had remembered. Address: 16901 Wright Plaza, suite 173. website

Dolce – Dolce serves contemporary American cuisine in an unassuming location in West Omaha. On our date night there, we opted for the tasting menu. This is one of the few places I’ve seen that frequently offers a Groupon. Address: 12317 W. Maple Road. website

North Omaha restaurant to try

Sage Student Bistro is located inside the Institute for the Culintary Arts

Sage Student Bistro – This restaurant tucked in the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus inside the Institute for the Culinary Arts is going to surprise you. It’s gourmet cuisine at a fraction of the cost.

If you can snag reservations for one of their pairing dinners held each quarter, you are in for a treat. I’ve attended dinners ranging from Irish spirit pairing to tapas and sangria pairings. Address: 5730 N. 30th St. website

More great restaurants in Omaha

Date night doesn’t have to be so fancy. Here’s a list of 30+ must-try restaurants in Omaha. You’ll find recommendations for pizza, donuts, ice cream and even brunch ideas.

Don’t want to take your date to a romantic Omaha restaurant? Let’s say you want to take your date out to somewhere a little bit different, something a little bit nontraditional. Check out this list of 15+ quirky Omaha restaurants.

Find your next date night restaurant in on this list of romantic Omaha restaurants. List includes fine dining, chef-driven restaurants that focus on seasonal ingredients. #Omaha #Nebraska #restaurant #guide

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April 18, 2019

Nostalgic Restaurant In Papillion

On a recent spring afternoon, my kids and I headed to Freddy’s Custard & Steakburgers in Papillion, Neb., for a treat. We had just finished two soccer games and were planning a walk around the trails at Walnut Creek Recreation Area. For a quick but satisfying lunch, this was a great restaurant in Papillion to head to!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Freddy’s Custard & Steakburgers. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

What's at Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers? Read up on the best thing to order, what kids love on the menu, and more! #Papillion #Nebraska #Restaurant

What should you order at Freddy’s?

Having only been to Freddy’s one other time to write about it as a cub reporter at The Daily Nonpareil, I wasn’t quite sure what to order. So, I chatted with Mary Seretta, to get the scoop on what’s popular at the restaurant.

Freddy’s was started by a guy name Freddy (surprise!), who opened up his first restaurant in Kansas with the idea of serving up down home food.

The burger that started it all the double steakburger. Unique to Freddy’s is the flat patty that makes up the steakburger. If you haven’t had one, they’ve got a crispy edge that makes them pretty unique.

Things to eat at Freddy's - The double steak burger is an original favorite
The double steak burger with cheese is an original favorite of customers at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. At the Papillion location, the local favorite is that steakburger with bacon.

At the Papillion location of Freddy’s, the bacon and cheese double steakburger and patty melt are more popular in than the original. Being a newbie to Freddy’s, I went with the original. Everything is cooked to order. See the full menu here.

Related post: Find more places to get the best hamburgers in the city (and steak…this is Omaha, after all) in this post.

I had fries with my burger (of course), and Freddy’s just might have the best ones in the business. These thin, almost shoestring thin, fries are perfectly seasoned. Freddy’s has two fry sauces in addition to ketchup, and you should try them. The jalapeno version wasn’t spicy, surprisingly.

Other menu items include hot dogs, chili (and therefore, chili dogs), and limited-time food like fish sandwiches. The Papillion Freddy’s just started serving crispy chicken sandwiches, with a spicy option available.

Things to eat at Freddy's - Try any of the Specialty Custards as a sundae. Options include the Hawaiian Delight, Signature Turtle and Chocolate Brownie Delight
Freddy’s Specialty Custards are available as sundaes or concretes, which have the toppings blended into them.

And then there’s the custard. There are a variety of specialties to choose from, as well as sundaes, shakes and concretes (which has the toppings blended in). Or you can order your own creation – there are about 30 toppings to choose from.

I ordered the mint Oreo concrete, which was a delicious treat. The custard is a lot creamier and richer than ice cream I’m used to.

What kids can eat at Freddy’s?

There is a kid’s menu available at Freddy’s, which includes the entrée, fries and drink. One of my kids ordered chicken fingers and the other had a steakburger, which was a pretty generous serving for a kiddo. Glad he was hungry!

Things to eat at Freddy's - The specialty custard treats like the Brownie Sundae
My kids first choice in sundaes at Freddy’s is the Dirt ‘N Worms Sundae, and then this brownie sundae came along and they fell in love with that, too.

They both opted for Dirt ‘N Worms sundae, a tasty treat with vanilla ice cream, cookie crumbles and gummie worms, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

And, I’ll confess, we also tried the brownie sundae. The chocolate ice cream is a rich chocolate that I loved.

The other frozen treats you might be interested include custard cookie sandwiches. One is made with Oreos, the other made with Nutter Butters.

Tip: If you have dogs with you, Freddy’s has a “pup cup” available to order! These small servings of custard make nice treats for the pups. 

Related post: For more kid-friendly restaurants in the Omaha metro, read Best Omaha Restaurants For Families.

What it look like inside Freddy’s?

Freddy’s has a cool retro look to it, with red throughout. It’s got a pretty nostalgic feel to it.

You’ll find black and white pictures of the real Freddy throughout the Papillion location. Freddy was a Vietnam vet, and it’s interesting reading the captions of the photos to learn more about his history and travels.

Interior of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Papillion, Nebraska
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has a distinct retro look with a lot of red accents.

Freddy’s is a restaurant chain that involves itself in the local community of each location. This particular Freddy’s, which is right be Shadow Lake Towne Center, participates in a variety of fundraisers, especially for schools. They offer up to a generous 30% donation on profits for fundraising nights. On the day we visited, Mary told me about the effort the restaurant had made to raise money for the Red Cross to support Nebraska flood victims.

What’s near this restaurant in Papillion?

The big draw to the area is Shadow Lake Towne Center, where the Freddy’s Papillion location is located. This is a great outdoor shopping center with a mix of national brands and local stores like Michaels, Bath & Body Works, Chocolatier Stam and Nebraska Brewing Co.

If you head east on Highway 370, you’ll hit two favorite places of mine. The first, is Walnut Creek Recreation Area, which consists of a large lake, a playground, and paved and dirt bike trails.

Walnut Creek Recreation Area trail in Papillion, Nebraska
Walnut Creek Recreation Area has bike trails through wooded areas. The park is located in Papillion, Neb., not too far from Freddy’s.

The other place worth mentioning is Sumtur Amphitheater, which hosts outdoor concerts and has a great lineup of free, family-friendly movies each summer.

If you go

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Where: Shadow Lake Towne Center, 11674 S. 73rd St., Papillion, Neb.

Looking for a family-friendly restaurant in Papillion, Nebraska? Here's a review of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburger. Enjoy a concrete or order a famous burger. They even have a pup cup dessert for your dog! #Nebraska #restaurant

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April 10, 2019

Best Omaha Restaurants For Families

Omaha is enjoying an explosion of great, locally-owned restaurants opening up. The food is creative and delicious. But it’s not always easy to know which Omaha restaurants are kid-friendly and which are not.

I’ve learned how to spot the restaurants that welcome families AND have good food. Here’s my list of the best Omaha restaurants for families, where you’ll find good food and a kid-friendly environment. I’ve asked a couple of friends who dine at far better places than I typically go to with kids, and they’ve added their recommendations to the list. Bon appetite!

Local's tips on the best restaurants in Omaha for families - Where to go for a special family night out or the kid-friendly restaurants that offer something good for adventurous diners. #Omaha #Nebraska #USA #restaurant

Kid-friendly Omaha restaurants for breakfast

Bob’s Donuts

Where: 3824 Farnam St.

Why: What kid is going to resist the chance to order an Oreo donut or one topped with cereal? Not even a big kid. But, creative flavors aside, Bob’s Donuts is on this list because they also serve chicken sandwiches. For breakfast. I love them.

I may have my favorite donut shop elsewhere in Omaha, but Bob’s is great for my family because the kids can have their donuts, and I can force a little protein into them by having them split a chicken sammie, too.

FarmHouse Cafe & Bakery

Where: 3461 S. 84th St.

Why: This is my extended family’s go-to place for breakfast out with a large group. They also offer lunch and dinner, but breakfast is my jam there.

The variety of food is great (portions are ginormous) and there are usually coloring pages offered to occupy kids. Even with the large portions, you may want to order a pecan roll to split with the rest of the table.

The only downside to the restaurant is that on the weekends, there will likely be a wait. But, the good news is that FarmHouse is connected to Mangelsen’s, a craft shop that’s fun to explore while you wait. You’ve got to check out the Halloween and Christmas sections.

11-Worth Cafe

Where: 2419 Leavenworth St.

Why: 11-Worth Cafe is the quintessential greasy spoon on an unappealing street, yet, people love it. They’re doing something right. This is a good place for breakfast near the Old Market, where the service is quick, the food is good, and sometimes, your kid leaves with a balloon.

It’s also the last of the Caniglia-owned restaurants, which probably means something only to those who’ve lived in Omaha for decades. If you’re looking for healthy breakfast options, this isn’t going to be your place.

Omaha Restaurants with kid-friendly lunch and dinner options

Big Green Q & Ted & Wally’s

Where: 6023 Maple St.

Why: It’s no secret that I have an undying allegiance to Ted & Wally’s – they have the world’s best Dutch chocolate ice cream. If you venture to the ice cream shop’s Benson location, you’ll find Big Green Q sharing the building.

The barbecue place has a following from its food truck days. The food is pretty good, the kid’s meals are reasonable, and then you have to get ice cream for dessert, right? One thing that makes Big Green stand out is that its effort at sourcing ingredients locally AND everything is compostable. And the tots are good too.

Blatt Table + Beer

Where: 610 N. 12th St.; 2835 S. 170th Plaza; inside Westroads Mall at Flagship Commons, 10000 California St.

Why: Blatt is on just about every restaurant list I make. The food is just that good, plus they have a great craft beer selection. But, for the purpose of this post, I’ve been a fan of the restaurant since my early parenting days when I discovered the original NoDo location had a changing table in the bathroom. The kid’s menu offers substantial servings, similar to what adults can order.

Related post: Looking for more downtown Omaha restaurants that are kid-friendly? Check out this list of 8 Great Downtown Omaha Restaurants For Families.

Korean Garden

Where:  5352 S. 72nd St., Ralston, Neb.

Why: So one of my friends is Korean and I trust her taste in food, so if she says a Korean restaurant is good, I’m going to believe it. And, knowing she’ll take her three kids there means it has a spot on this list. And as a bonus, Korean Garden has tabletop grilling there. My kids will eat anything if they’re allowed to cook it themselves.

Lalibela Restaurant

Where: 4422 Cass St.

Why: If you have adventurous eaters, head to Lalibela. It’s an Ethiopian restaurant where traditionally, you eat from shared plates (and you eat with your hands).

If you’ve never experienced it, basically, you’ve got injera, the bread, and you tear off a piece and scoop up the food. Some kids are going to love it (mine did not). The food is fantastic and the service is prompt.

Louie M’s Burger Lust

Where: 1718 Vinton St.

Why: This is a meat eaters’s kind of place, where you’ll find more creative burger options than you thought possible. The real reason we go here, though, is that it’s one of the closest restaurants to Omaha’s zoo. There are closer restaurants, but the food at Louie M’s is better.

It’s not a big place, so you might have a wait. The kid’s menu has some activities on it to help pass the time.

Pitch

Where: 5021 Underwood Ave.; 17808 Burke St.

Why: Handmade dough and a great Happy Hour? Pitch doesn’t quite sound like a family-friendly place. But it is. I always see kids there, because…pizza. Now this is the type of pizza my kids balk at – it’s what my kids call “Fancy Pizza.” I like it very much, but it’s not your chain restaurant type of pizza.

Related post: Pitch made it onto this list, Where To Find The Best Pizza In Omaha.

Plank Seafood Provisions

Where: 1205 Howard St.

Why: This is one of the few Old Market restaurants where you can get good fish entree, and as a bonus to parents, there’s a kid’s menu. Kid’s meals at Plank come with a little bag of goodies, including tattoos.

Shuck’s

Where: 1911 Leavenworth St.; 16901 Wright Plaza; 1218 S. 119th St.

Why: Like Plank Seafood Provisions, Shuck’s is a fish lover’s destination. It’s preferred by my family to Plank (for the price, it can’t be beat).

Tables typically have brown paper on them, making it ideal for kids and adults to color and play tic-tac-toe while you wait. If you go during Lent, expect a wait on Fridays.

Upstream Brewing Co.

Where: 514 S. 11th St.

Why: Rare is a brewpub that welcomes families, but Upstream Brewing Co. is a good one. Kids get little bendy sticks to play with while you wait. If you visit on Tuesday nights, you may encounter Joe Cole, a roving magician who’s highly entertaining.

Kid’s portions are large and they come with a choice of vanilla ice cream or a root beer float for dessert. And, for adults, the standard beer Upstream brews is superb and they have a few seasonal ones that can be pretty creative flavors.

Zio’s Pizzeria

Where: 1109 Howard St., 7834 Dodge St., 12997 West Center Road, and 18110 Wright St.

Why: Zio’s is a favorite of my family’s (but not of mine). However, it’s one of the few places that I know of that you can ask for a ball of dough and they’ll bring it to you. When my kids were younger, this was better than Play-Do to them.

There is a kid’s menu, but we usually order pizza by the slice. The Old Market location on Howard Street is convenient to most tourists visiting Omaha, but if you ask me, the Dodge Street location has better pizza.

Restaurants to go to on off-hours in Omaha

The following are restaurants that aren’t going to snub you if you bring well-behaved kids, but they’re in this category because they may either be typical “date night” places or they’re just a little fancier than the run-of-the-mill family restaurants. Don’t overlook them, just know that the dining experience is a little more formal.

Avoli Osteria

Where: 5013 Underwood Ave.

Why: I’m going to take my foodie friends at the word for Avoli being family-friendly (at off-hours) because I’ve been saving it up for a special date night occasion and haven’t been. I’ve heard it’s “impress-your-date” good.

But my friends have brought their kiddos to this Dundee staple to enjoy the northern Italian cuisine, so at least one family has pulled it off.

Dario’s Brasserie

Where: 4920 Underwood Ave.

Why: While I have’t brought my kids here–yet–the thought has crossed my mind to do so. (I have gone for date nights and it’s fantastically casual and yet romantic).

Featuring fine Belgian cuisine and the best fries in Omaha, Dario’s a remarkable restaurant that reminds me of charming European cafes I visited in my 20s.

My friends and their kids have gone during quiet hours and can vouch that it’s suitable for families. And, by the way, this place has one of the best beer selection in Omaha, if you love Belgian stuff.

M’s Pub

Where: 422 S 11th St.

Why: Introduce your kiddos to an Omaha institution. M’s has had quite a history, being one of the first restaurants to open in the Old Market after it was revitalized decades ago, only to suffer a terrible fire that nearly ended its run. It’s a beloved restaurant by many, and I’ve been there for date nights (pre-fire).

It’s a rather small place, so go during off-hours if you don’t have a reservation.

Via Farina

Where: 1108 S. 10th St.

Why: Via Farina serves wood-fired pizza in an impeccably designed space. If you’re the Instagramming kind of person, you’ll feel at home. I love it for hanging out with friends before a show at the Bluebarn Theatre.

I wouldn’t have thought of it as a place to bring my kids since they usually snub yummy wood-fire pizza, but my friends have brought their kiddos. The pizza here has more adventurous ingredients (by my kids’ standards).

From fine dining to casual, local Omaha restaurants welcome families. Here are our top picks for the best family restaurants in Omaha. #Nebraska #dining #eatlocal

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December 26, 2018

8 Great Downtown Omaha Restaurants For Families

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:

Family restaurants in downtown Omaha

Short list of recommended family-friendly restaurants in downtown Omaha, including near the Old Market and TD Ameritrade Park

 

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)

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 best donuts in Omaha. Not only do they taste good, they’re cheap, too. Olsen is on the list of
Best Donuts In Omaha.

Address: 1708 S. 10th St. (downtown, south of the Old Market)

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria can be found just outside of the Old Market, in a neighborhood that was once a bustling Little Italy.

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. Since I’ve visited last visited Orsi’s, it has expanded to have a dining room (or is planning to), so it has moved beyond being mostly a take-out kind of restaurant.

Address: 621 Pacific St. (Little Italy, southeast of the Old Market)

Plank Seafood Provisions has great outdoor seating – perfect for Old Market people watching.

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 temp tattoos.

Address: 1205 Howard St. (in the 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 when ordering with kids (though, there is no kid’s menu). Trini’s made the list of best places to Mexican food in Omaha.

Address: 1020 Howard St. (in the 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 is a kid’s menu (not for brunch, though), and 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.

Address: 514 S 11th St. (in the Old Market)

Zio’s Pizzeria has a location in the heart of the Old Market in downtown Omaha. 

Zio’s Pizzeria

Zio’s is a bit of an institution in Omaha. If you dig New York-style pizza, try it out. There is a kid’s menu, and often, the waiter will bring a ball of dough to the table to keep your kid occupied. Zio’s made the list for best places to get pizza in Omaha.

To be honest, though, if we’re going to have pizza downtown, my kids ask for Old Chicago; and if we’re downtown without the kids, we go to Via Farina. But if you’re looking for local and kid-friendly, Zio’s is a good bet.

Address: 1109 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

11-Worth Cafe

This is classic greasy spoon food at its best. I’ve only been for breakfast, so I can’t vouch for the grill after noon, but beforehand, it’s spot-on. They have a kid’s menu and, usually, will give your kid a balloon before you leave.

Address: 2419 Leavenworth St. (downtown, east of the Old Market)

Related post: 20+ Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha

Recommended restaurants and donut shops in downtown Omaha #familyfriendly #OldMarket #Nebraska

Bonus restaurant for zoo visitors

Headed to 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 another option we tried recently:

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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June 18, 2018

Billy’s 10 Favorite Restaurants In Omaha

I’ve been a fan of Billy McGuigan ever since I was reviewing theater for The Daily Nonpareil and I heard him sing the first few notes in “Rave On: The Buddy Holly Experience.” He’s gone on to perform in other great shows too, including “Rock Twist,” opening Aug. 2 at Omaha Community Playhouse. So I have this chance to ask him anything about Omaha…and my mind goes to food. Typical. I’m so glad I asked him what his favorite restaurants in Omaha were, because, you guys, McGuigan’s list is stellar.

This post was first published in 2018. It’s been updated to include “Rock Twist” 2019 performance times.

Billy McGuigan Rock Twist
Billy McGuigan’s “Rock Twist” runs Aug. 1-12, 2018 at Omaha Community Playhouse. Photo courtesy Christine McGuigan Photography

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rave On Productions. All thoughts and opinions below are Billy’s. 

Here’s Billy’s take on the Omaha food scene, in his own words:

I would never classify myself as a foodie. Let’s start there. But, after touring the country and world for the past 15 years, I started noticing that I judged a city by its local restaurants and the food in a city in general. San Francisco’s Dungeness crab, New Orleans’ crawfish and any restaurant in Albuquerque are some of my favorite spots in the U.S. Omaha is no exception and I’ve come to love the local flavor of this town. With that, I’ve put together my 10 favorite food spots in Omaha in no particular order. If you haven’t tried these places, please do!

list of favorite restaurants in Omaha

Billy’s favorite restaurants in Omaha

10. Stokes (Old Market and West Omaha)

Billy McGuigan orders an off-the-menu hot sauce to go with the Sharon’s (World Famous) Enchiladas at Stokes. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

I first had Stokes when it was located in the 114th and Dodge streets area. After having Sharon’s chicken enchiladas with a side of inner beauty (their off-the-menu hot sauce), I was immediately hooked. Spicy and fresh and delicious. I’ve eaten at Stokes more than any other restaurant in my life.

Favorite Menu Items: Sharon’s (World Famous) Chicken Enchiladas, Koko’s Harvest Salad, Stokes Tenderloin Pueblo

9. Wilson & Washburn (Downtown Omaha)

Wilson & Washburn is located in downtown Omaha. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

This place is an experience. It feels very Chicago, very New York. The drinks are finely crafted and the food is so great. The bartenders tend to remember you after a few visits and they learn the way you like your drinks made and typically how you ordered your food the last time you where there. Bonus party room upstairs for private parties as well!

Favorite Menu Items: Scotch Egg, Beet Chips (seriously!), Beet Burger (again, seriously), Braised Short Rib

8. Early Bird (Blackstone)

Billy McGuigan and his kids in front of Early Bird, a favorite brunch spot for his family. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

My kids would kill me if this all-day brunch place wasn’t included on this list. It opened last year and I think we’ve been here six times already. Be prepared for a wait because this place is super popular. It is totally worth it. A unique brunch menu filled with both traditional and non-traditional breakfast items (check out the Ka-Bob’s) as well as sweet and savory. The service is also fantastic!

Favorite Menu Items: Ka-Bobs, Corned Beef Hash, Cereal Killer Pancakes (my son Ciaran’s favorite), Morning Pot Pie (my daughter Cartney’s favorite)

7. Mula (Blackstone)

Mula makes borracha beans like Billy McGuigan’s grandmother used to make. Photo courtesy Mula

I’m a complete and total sucker for Mexican food. My grandmother was a Garcia and she made borracho beans so good they could make you cry. Mula makes these and after the wave of nostalgia I got from eating them here, I choked up a bit. A massive tequila selection and a varied selection of unique tacos and tortas.

Favorite Menu Items: Any of their Guacamoles, Camaron Tacos, Carne Asada Torta, Jalapeño Margarita

6. Block 16 (Downtown Omaha)

Billy McGruigan promises that Block 16 is worth the wait. Photo courtesy The Mullers via Block 16

The first time I came here, I nearly didn’t go in because there was such a long line. The guy in the back of the line looked at me and told me it was well worth the wait. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re under the impression that vegan food has no flavor, you should go vegan here. I love this place so much!

Favorite Menu Items: Vegan Sloppy Nick, Vegan Dragon Fries, Vegan Poutine Burrito

5. Yoshitomo (Benson)

Sushi at Yoshimoto is as good as the best Billy McGuigan has tried across the U.S. Photo courtesy Yoshimoto

I’ve been a huge sushi fan since the late ‘90s when I had it for the first time at Sushi Ichiban when it was on the corner on Dodge street. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to try it all over the country and Yoshitomo is as good as any I’ve ever had. Super classy environment and a menu that rocks!

Favorite Menu Items: Sake Nigiri, Hamachi Nigiri, 3 Kings Maki, Aburi Wagyu

4. Pitch (Dundee)

Pitch in Dundee
Pitch manages to make pizza without cheese so good, you don’t miss the cheese. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

Full disclosure: I have a dairy allergy. I know, pizza with no cheese? Yeah, it’s hard to find. Pitch’s pizza is so good, it works without the cheese. Try it! Also, those Brussel sprouts. Have you not had these? They are ridiculously good.

Favorite Menu Items: Shrooms Pizza (no cheese), Roasted Brussel Sprouts, House Made Fennel Sausage Pizza (No cheese)

3. Coneflower Creamery (Blackstone)

Coneflower makes a wickedly good, dairy-free ice cream. And a tip from McGuigan: Always add Spanish peanuts. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

Speaking of no dairy, do you have any idea how hard it is to find really good, dairy-free ice cream? Look no further. This place is an absolute gem. There’s nearly always a line, but again, totally worth it. The vinyl records and great taste in music also add to the ambiance of this wickedly good ice cream shop!

Favorite Menu Items: Vegan Golden Milk Ice Cream, Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter, always add Spanish Peanuts

2. Red Lion Lounge (Blackstone)

McGuigan’s choice for a place to hang out with friends and enjoy a good cocktail. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

“Friends” had Central Perk. “How I Met Your Mother” had McLarens. You know, the iconic place to hang out with friends and have a drink or two. I always wanted one of these and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it in the RL. Limited snack items and amazing craft cocktails. Amazing “Mad Men”-esque decor with iconic black and white photos throughout. If you find Roald Dahl, you’ll find me.

Favorite Menu Items: Candied Cashews, Local Heirloom Popcorn, Rusty Nail, Infusion Vanilla Bean Blonde

1. Farine + Four (Midtown)

The spicy chicken sandwich at Farine + Four. Photo courtesy Farine + Four

You ever hope and dream there’d be a place you could wake up and walk to and grab a great coffee and a sandwich? Farine and Four is this place for me. Nestled in the heart of my neighborhood is this gem. Farine + Four means Flour + Oven in French. It also means they only use four ingredients as the base for all of their breads: flour, water, salt, and levain (yeast). It’s so amazingly good and you have to try it. They open the garage door in the summer and you won’t be able to resist the smells coming from their kitchen.

Favorite Menu Items: Spicy Chicken Sandwich (best you’ll ever have), Egg Sandwich, Peanut Butter Cookie

Billy McGuigan’s “Rock Twist”

If you didn’t know Billy McGuigan before this post, you’ve got to hear the music of this foodie-that’s-not-a-foodie. You can see him in the show, “Rock Twist,” which will be at Omaha Community Playhouse Aug. 2-18, 2019.

The show features McGuigan and a 13-piece band performing the music of artists who have impacted McGuigan’s life. There’s everything from Frank Sinatra to The Doors and Chuck Berry. 

Performances of “Rock Twist” are Aug. 2-18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $42 each and are available at by calling the box office at 402-552-0800 or go online to www.omahaplayhouse.com.

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