West Omaha Upstream Brewing Co. auctions off restaurant’s stock forward of constructing’s sale | Cash



Items sold at Tuesday’s auction at the now-closed west Omaha location of Upstream Brewing included pint glasses, dishes and dining chairs.



upstream auction

Upstream owner Brian Magee has said the restaurant, which opened in 2002 on the corner of 171st Street and West Center Road, had been underperforming.



upstream auction

Hope Dendinger of Omaha, places a bid.



upstream auction

Potential buyers look over items at an auction that cleared out inventory of the now closed Upstream Brewing Co.



upstream auction

Pots and pans were among items sold at the auction.



upstream auction

The sale of the 20,000-square-foot restaurant is to close Monday, the owner said, although he wouldn’t say who the buyer is or what it will be used for.



upstream auction

Auctioneer Shayne Fili, calls out the current bid.



upstream auction

“Everything there is in amazing condition,” said Shayne Fili, president of Auction Solutions. “It’s clean, ready to go, ready to be repurposed in anybody’s kitchen.”



upstream auction

Mike Koelzer of Omaha looks over a list of items.



upstream auction

Lisa Emsick of Omaha picks out the chairs she purchased, which will be used in the soon-to-be-opened Paddy McGowns Pub and Grill. 

Two catering ovens, four pool tables and several television sets were among the items up for grabs Tuesday at the now-closed Upstream Brewing Co. auction.

The brewing equipment at the west Omaha restaurant had already been removed, said Shayne Fili, president of Auction Solutions, which handled the auction.

“Everything there is in amazing condition,” Fili said. “It’s clean, ready to go, ready to be repurposed in anybody’s kitchen.”

Pint glasses, dishes, the dining chairs and plants also were auctioned Tuesday. The art at the restaurant was excluded from the sale.

Upstream owner Brian Magee has said the restaurant, which opened in 2002 on the corner of 171st Street and West Center Road, had been underperforming. Upstream’s location in the Old Market will remain open, and Magee said he plans to expand the brewery there over the next year.

The sale of the 20,000-square-foot restaurant is to close Monday, Magee said, although he wouldn’t say who the buyer is or what it will be used for.

[email protected], 402-444-1414

O Dining

O Dining & Lounge | 1015 Farnam St. 

Asian Fusion, with Chinese, Thai and Korean influences. O has always been more creative than average, and it’s back with greatest hits and some new favorites. The house favorite, the clay pot rice bowl medley, is just as good as it was before. Read more.

Ika Ramen

Ika Ramen and Izakaya and Kaitei | 6109 Maple St. 

Ramen, shared appetizers, donburi bowls and a new basement bar. Ika has struck a new balance of funky and delicious in Benson; Kaitei brings a boozy, Japanese-inspired drink menu to the basement. Across the board, Ika has improved: ramen is better, with more depth, appetizers are excellent. Read more

Bruno's Pasta Co.

Bruno’s Pasta Co. | 3623 N. 129th St.

Pizza, pasta and salads, as well as limited entrees. Small problems with both food and service led to a larger, overall problem at Bruno’s. Competition is tight in Omaha’s Italian scene; they must improve. Read more

China Garden

China Garden | 8441 West Center Road. 

Sichuan menu, in-table hot pot and Americanized Chinese all under one roof. For the adventurous eater who wants to try something new, the Sichuan menu is worth exploring. The in-table hot pot is worth experiencing. Also good: the spicy beef hot pot that comes assembled and the cold Sichuan noodles on the appetizer list. Read more

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse | 13665 California St.

The bone-in filet is $58.99. The ribeye, $46.99. The 8-ounce filet, $41.99. Certainly these are premium prices, but so goes the new high-end steakhouse, complete with a la carte side dishes sized for sharing. If you’ve been to a Ruth’s Chris, or, locally, to 801 Chophouse, you know what to expect. Read more.

Vis Major Brewing Co.

Vis Major Brewing Co. | 3501 Center St.

Vis Major is keeping it simple. The brewery serves a succinct list of food that happens to pair perfectly with its robust list of house beers. The menu is mostly sausage, sourced locally from Frank Stoysich Meats, along with pretzel bites and flavored popcorn that’s addictively good. Read more.

Ryan’s Food and Spirits

Ryan’s Food and Spirits | 12221 Mary Plaza

At Ryan’s Food and Spirits, diners have a choice to make because Ryan Gish is aiming to create a casual sports bar and a fine dining concept under one roof. Read more.

The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck

The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck | various locations

There are very few Omaha outposts where a diner can get fish and chips, bangers and mash and a ploughman’s sandwich, along with other English specialties. Isaiah Renner and Dakota Kelsay realized the gap in Omaha’s food offerings and decided to fill it with Dire Lion last June. Read more.

Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings

Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings | 120 S. 31st Ave.

The thing that Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings does best is right there in the name. It makes sense. Ray Bullock has been making wings since the mid-’70s, when he was a kid working in a Buffalo, New York, pizza joint. He first made them for Omahans in the early ’90s. Read more.

The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina

The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina | 13806 P St.

Owner Juan Magana has played soccer his whole life, he said, but it’s been hard for him and his friends to find an Omaha spot outside of their homes to watch matches. He took over The Corner Kick space with plans to change that, and to offer something other than the burger you can “get anywhere else,” he said. Read more.

Tired Texan BBQ

Tired Texan BBQ | 4702 S. 108th St.

If there’s some sort of rule that says good barbecue comes only from restaurants in really random locations, well, Tired Texan fits that bill. Read more.

Gold Mountain at Aksarben Village

Gold Mountain at Aksarben Village | 6750 Mercy Rd.

One of the first things that hits diners when they walk in the door is that this new location is a lot swankier than the one out west, and it’s also got a full bar. Read more.

Della Costa

Della Costa | 220 S. 31st Ave.

The vast coastal Mediterranean menu at Della Costa meant that only about half the dishes we tried worked as well as they should. The restaurant excels in three areas: small plates, cocktails and desserts, which are exceptional. Read more

Virtuoso Pizza by David LoSole

Virtuoso Pizzeria by David Losole | 6056 N. Maple St.

I appreciate owner David Losole’s restraint and thoughtful approach — each slice we tried was good from tip to crusty edge. All pizza slices we tried were great, balanced in flavor and ingredients. A dipped Chicago-style beef sandwich is worth trying. Read more

Riva Steak & Seafood, Ameristar Casino

Riva Steak & Seafood, Ameristar Casino | 2200 River Road, Council Bluffs

I hoped Riva might have been a hidden gem — a fine dining spot in the most unexpected of places. But aside from a few winning dishes, I didn’t find many winners. Read more.

Charred Burger + Bar

Charred Burger + Bar | 1150 Sterling Ridge Drive

When Charred is able to cook its burgers as customers request, they’re great. But often, they come out different than requested, often overcooked. The classic burger, with its simple toppings, lets the meat shine. Read more

Culprit Cafe

Culprit | 1603 Farnam St.

Culprit started out as a coffee shop, but has matured into a weekend brunch destination worth visiting. Try the egg white sandwich, savory scones and well-prepared coffee. Read more

Maresco's Italian Market

Maresco’s Italian Market | 2821 S. 108th St.

Maresco’s offers several types of pastas, spices, wines and other Italian products you can’t find elsewhere in Omaha. The hot Italian beef sandwich, featuring a thinly sliced roast in a hot marinade, is hard to put down. Read more

Umami

Umami | 1504 Galvin Road South, Bellevue

Omaha’s best, most refined sushi. Chef Keen Zheng moved here from New York and is prepared to make waves; he’s importing fish almost daily from New York and Japan and will soon introduce chef’s choice omakase. Read more

Sertinos Cafe

Sertinos Cafe | 3669 N. 129th St.

Service was what stood out at Sertinos; the food didn’t blow us away. The shop makes a wide variety of good coffee drinks. The toasted sandwiches, including a ham and turkey club, were the best of the bunch. Read more

Oma's Deli

Oma’s Deli | 1217 Leavenworth St.

A nice Old Market alternative during the lunch hour that’s serving quick but carefully made cuisine and coffee. Read more.

Stirnella

Stirnella | 3814 Farnam St.

The bar and cocktail-heavy Blackstone District has its first grown-up restaurant. I recommend a chicken dish made with locally raised meat from Plum Creek that let the flavor of the meat shine through and an oxtail and mushroom spaetzle appetizer with rich flavor and varied texture. Read more.

Smitty's

Smitty’s | 7610 Dodge St.

Smitty’s is an easygoing, family-friendly, fast-casual spot with a retro service-station theme. While most of what we tried during two recent visits satisfied, some dishes could benefit from a tune-up. Read more

Lombardo’s

Lombardo’s | 13110 Birch Drive

Lombardo’s is the kind of reliable, Italian-American neighborhood restaurant that the people living nearby — around the 132nd Street and West Maple Road area — must really appreciate. It’s not a chain. It’s affordable. And it’s serving giant portions of things like saucy pastas, classic lasagna and a few surprisingly good appetizers, including a fried eggplant that I’d recommend without hesitation. Read more

Ollie & Hobbes

Ollie & Hobbes | 310 E. Gold Coast Road, Papillion

I get why Ollie & Hobbes opened where it did, in the heart of suburban Omaha in Papillion, a spot particularly popular with chain restaurants. It’s an area almost devoid of local cuisine. But what I don’t get is why the restaurant isn’t better. I wished for higher quality ingredients across the board, and for more refined cocktail preparation. I wished for less predictable pastas, sandwiches and entrees. Read more

Mercury

Mercury | 329 S. 16th St.

Mercury has the ethos of your favorite worn-in dive bar: comfortable couches; a laid-back atmosphere; friendly, unpretentious service. But from there, its character takes a turn toward the modern, with a menu of updated ’60s-era small bites; a well-priced, fun wine list; and a bartender who can make you — almost literally — every cocktail known to man, if you ask for it. Read more

Beacon Hills

Beacon Hills | 6750 Mercy Road

With all of the other offerings in Aksarben Village, many of which cater to the college crowd, Beacon Hills offers something different. It’s a good happy hour destination for the after-work crowd, it’s a good pregame dinner spot before an event at nearby Baxter Arena, and it’s a good place to get a much-needed midwinter comfort food fix that will make you feel cozy and happy. Read more

Au Courant Regional Kitchen

Au Courant Regional Kitchen | 6064 Maple St.

Chef Benjamin Maides and business partner Carlos Mendez are hitting all the right notes for Benson and for Omaha right now: good cocktails, a hip atmosphere, a menu that’s cutting edge but not scary. Read more

Swartz’s Delicatessen

Though it might be more Omaha than New York’s Katz’s, Swartz’s is serving reliable versions of the classics that, until now, were tough to get your hands on regularly without a plane ticket. Read more

Herbe Sainte

Herbe Sainte | 1934 S. 67th St.

What started out as a New Orleans-inspired cocktail lounge has quickly — mostly because of customer demand — morphed into a full-service restaurant and bar that is smack in the heart of Omaha. The spirit inside Herbe Sainte captures some of the best things about the city of New Orleans itself, including hearty but simple food and a focus on serving tasty spirits. Read more

The Boiler Room Restaurant

The Boiler Room Restaurant | 1110 Jones St.

In 2016, this-ahead-of-its-time restaurant has settled comfortably into its spot in our city’s dining scene. It’s one of Omaha’s most adventurous and creative dining experiences. Its service is precise and thoughtful. Its menu, now under the talented hand of chef Tim Nicholson — Kulik plans to step away from the restaurant at the end of the year — is refined and rustic, confident and full of contrasts. Read more

The Omaha Bakery

The Omaha Bakery | 608 S. 72nd St.

On Oct. 1, Michelle Kaiser opened in Omaha as The Omaha Bakery. The new location, positioned in the middle of a strip mall at 608 S. 72nd St., offers the same assortment of baked treats she made at Alotta Brownies, as well as a cozy lunch menu, with several locally sourced, scratch-made choices that are as friendly and personal as Kaiser herself. Read more

Ugly Duck

Ugly Duck | 3201 Farnam St.

During two recent visits to the new Ugly Duck, which took over the former Pana 88 spot about two months ago, it became clear that A.J. Swanda’s vision has grown beyond just broth and noodles. Of course, there’s still a healthy selection of ramen, but the new Ugly Duck is perhaps at its most exciting when it’s got nothing to do with soup. Read more

Paragon Dundee

Paragon Dundee | 5018 Underwood Ave.

If there’s one thing you can say about restaurateur Willy Theisen, it’s that he knows how to open a hot, hip spot. He’s done it again with his latest, Paragon Dundee. The atmosphere makes diners — this one included — feel like they’re part of something vibrant and fresh. The comfort food menu has moments when classic dishes take a turn toward the modern, though that didn’t always happen. Read more

Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese Cuisine | 6909 S. 157th St.

The latest local spot offering piping-hot bowls of pho and other classic Vietnamese dishes is the small, casual, family-run Vietnamese Cuisine, which opened in March in a strip mall near 156th and Harrison Streets. At just one page, the menu is relatively short. But what the restaurant lacks in quantity it makes up for in friendly, attentive service and a kitchen that for the most part handles homestyle Vietnamese food with skill. Read more

Cask Republic

Cask Republic  | 5003 Underwood Ave.

Though the owners have indeed come up with some creative varietals on the classic dish, only half of the ones I tried worked. And, frankly, I’m unsure that poutine on its own, with its rich, greasy heaviness, makes for the kind of dining experience I’ll want to revisit regularly. (No offense, Canada.) Read more

Tacoville

Tacoville | 3044 S. 84th St.

After three visits, I will concede that Tacoville does have some commonalities with Taco Bell, one of which is the fact they are both located within throwing distance on 84th Street. But there are also several differences between the two, such as the quality of Tacoville’s homemade hot sauce and the fact you can order a beer. Read again

High Vibe Cafe

High Vibe Cafe | 6706 Frances St., inside the Lotus House of Yoga

I’ve written much about the new trend in restaurants focused on healthy foods and so far, High Vibe is easily my favorite of these kinds of eateries. It’s succinct, well-executed menu is full of juices, smoothies and bowls that are good for you, yes, but also that don’t overlook one essential thing: They have flavor, and lots of it. Read more

Papa Reno

Papa Reno | 2861 Capehart Road, Bellevue

Though Papa Reno pies are decidedly in the after-the-softball-game pizza category — it’s middle-of-the-road, reliable pizza — what I really liked about this dinky spot were its surprisingly good signature sandwiches. Read more

Tavern 180

Tavern 180 | 203 N. 180th St.

At first glance I was lukewarm on the strip mall location and the somewhat antiseptic look of the dining room. But after two dinners, I have to give the restaurant credit for serving an approachable blend of steakhouse-meets-casual food that was, for the most part, really nicely executed. And it’s also got a really flashy bar, if you’re into such things. Read more

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema | 12750 Westport Parkway, La Vista

During two recent visits to the company’s La Vista location, which opened in November 2015, we liked the convenience of the dine-in theater experience, and most dishes we tried were well prepared, nicely seasoned and made with seemingly fresh ingredients. The wait staff was friendly and attentive, and food and drinks were delivered in a timely manner, with only one exception. Read more

Blackstone Meatball

Blackstone Meatball | 3910 Harney St.

Over three recent visits, the majority of the sauces and meatballs I tried were only OK. Execution was uneven. And while service was attentive during one lunch, the two evenings we found the staff at best forgetful and at worst more interested in chatting with one another and looking at smartphones than helping customers. Read more

Baela Rose

Baela Rose | 4919 Underwood Ave.

I like Baela Rose so much because it’s bridging the gap between fine and casual dining, and proving that you can, in fact, enjoy a well-composed, creative meal on a regular basis for a price that won’t make you gasp. Read more

Suji’s Korean Grill

Suji’s Korean Grill | 1303 S. 72nd St.

Suji’s Korean is designed to present such dishes — and some even less-familiar ones — in a recognizable fast-casual setup, where diners order at a counter and move through a line where they can see all the dishes in front of them. Read more

La Barbacoa

La Barbacoa | 360 N. 114th St.

I have to give La Barbacoa — a new Latin barbecue place off 114th Street and West Dodge Road, and its owner, Clint Almaguer — credit for trying a new idea. There’s nowhere else in town doing barbecue topped with house-made salsa, or barbecue in wraps, both his concepts. Here’s the problem, though: the menu is small to begin with, and only a couple of dishes pleased. Read more

Freshii

Freshii | 6750 Mercy Road

This I can say for sure: All the ingredients at Freshii are really fresh. Diners can see, Subway-style, little metal bins full of freshly chopped vegetables and fruit, nuts, grains, beans and other ingredients through a little window while they wait for their meals, which are made promptly after diners order at a counter. When I ordered mango on my frozen kefir yogurt, for example, I had to wait while they chopped the fruit. Read more

Fiesta Brava

Fiesta Brava | 14220 Fort St.

While many of the restaurant’s customers might not be into the more traditional parts of the cuisine, I am. When I put it up against my favorite spots, most of which do happen to be in South Omaha, it doesn’t compare. But that seems, mostly, to be beside the point. Read more

Via Farina

Via Farina | 1108 S. 10th St.

The ease with which the owners conceived, opened and run Via Farina translates to the diners’ easy, comfortable experience. The food is simply good. The atmosphere, fun and vibrant. The neighborhood is clearly hungry for such a place. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recent Omaha opening as good as this one. Read more

Mercy Thai

Mercy Thai | 4741 S. 96th St.

Southwest Omaha can add one to the list with Mercy Thai, which opened in March and is serving a mostly tasty array of Thai favorites. Read more

Lighthouse Pizza

Lighthouse Pizza | 1004 S. 74th Plaza

Pizza in Omaha is a divisive topic, and it’s my guess that most of you reading this already have a favorite. I’m urging you, though, to break form and give this place a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I wasn’t. In fact, I left pleasantly surprised, already plotting a return visit. Read more

Sakura Sushi & Hibachi

Sakura Sushi & Hibachi | 3502 Metro Drive, Council Bluffs

The evening I ate hibachi at Sakura, in Council Bluffs, was one of the more hilarious dining experiences I’ve had in a while. The food is acceptable, both at the hibachi grill and in the dining room, where the restaurant serves a full slate of sushi, rolls and cooked appetizers. But Sakura is all about the experience, and it proved entertaining both nights I visited. Read more

Thai House

Thai House | 2101 N. 120th St.

Thai House offers an expansive menu of rice and noodle dishes, curries, stir-fries and soups. Like many of the city’s Thai spots, it doesn’t offer much beyond the usual suspects, but there are a few delicious surprises that are reason enough to drop by. Read more

LeadBelly

LeadBelly | 3201 Farnam St.

LeadBelly’s original location sticks mostly to basics: a wide variety of burgers, good bloody marys that I’ve had pre-Nebraska games and a ton of meatless sandwiches. In expanding beyond those offerings in Omaha, the restaurant may have lost course. Read more

Wild Rice Sushi

Wild Rice Sushi | 248 Olson Drive, Papillion

Some of the sushi and cooked dishes we tried are worth checking out. But with service problems to overcome, diners might leave feeling the same way I did: more frustrated than satisfied. Read more

Muscle Maker Grill

Muscle Maker Grill | 2835 S. 170th St.

A few dishes, including a wrap and a stir fry, packed hefty flavor next to relatively minimal calorie counts. But by and large, the menu at Muscle Maker fits what you might expect from low-cal fare: Salads. Brown rice bowls. Lots of grilled chicken. Creative? Not terribly. But good for diners looking for a healthier option that’s still quick and relatively inexpensive? Sure. Read more

Pho 382

Pho 382 | 2403 Towne Centre Dr., Bellevue

The broth of any bowl of pho is key, and here, it’s spiked with gingery, beefy flavors, with a clean, bright finish. I liked the meats — rare beef, just pink in the middle; sliced meatballs; a few bits of almost-transparent tripe. It came with the usual sides on a small plate, including fresh cilantro, a wedge of lime and a healthy pile of bean sprouts. Read more

R Taco

R Taco | 14919 West Maple Road

R Taco, which opened in March near 150th Avenue and West Maple Road, isn’t the kind of place where I usually find such legit street tacos. And though not every single taco I tried was a hit, most were pretty great. Read more

Blue & Fly

Blue & Fly | 721 S. 72nd St.

What’s really exciting about the little restaurant that opened last September is that it has a lot of dishes you won’t recognize, dishes that you’ve likely never had before. And that’s when things get fun. Read more

Ika Ramen and Izakaya

Ika Ramen and Izakaya | 6324 Maple St.

The four bowls of ramen I tried were my least-favorite items on the succinct menu; every bowl suffered from some broth-related malady — too salty, too bland or too greasy. But it wasn’t all so grim. The “izakaya” portion of the menu, focused on small bites and rice and noodle bowls, is better. The bowls, one made with octopus especially, are worth eating. Read more

DeLeon’s Mexican Food

DeLeon’s Mexican Food | 11345 Davenport St.

The well-known 24-hour drivethru that’s uber popular in Lincoln opened an Omaha outpost in 2012, but I hadn’t visited that one. It turns out that even at the noon hour, the food remains pretty tasty. Read more

Le Bouillon's lunch menu

Le Bouillon’s lunch menu | 1017 Howard St.

The new lunches at Le Bouillon are classic Omaha Old Market. There’s a view of bustling brick streets and, on the menu, French onion soup, hearty sandwiches and the kind of satisfying but artful entrees that chef and owner Paul Kulik has become known for. Read more

Nebraska Brewing Co.

Nebraska Brewing Co. | 7474 Towne Center Parkway in Shadow Lake Towne Center, Papillion

The beers are perhaps the best of what we tried. The menu, mostly of classic pub food, is best when a diner sticks to the basics: burgers, flatbread pizzas, chips and queso, mac and cheese. Read more

Adana's Kebab House

Adana’s Kebab House | 3604 Twin Creek Drive, Bellevue

Adana’s is small and plain in decor and location, but it is offering Omaha diners something new and refreshing: a taste of Turkey. Read more

Burrito Envy

Burrito Envy | 6113 Maple St.

I didn’t love everything I tried — the burritos and burrito bowls needed more spice and seasoning, as did the house-made cucumber pico de gallo. But I understand the concept and how it will work in Benson. With a few tweaks, many that owner Bryan Baumgart is already planning to make, I think it’ll work in an area full of trendy bars and young Omahans. Read more

Flagship Commons

Flagship Commons | 10000 California St., inside Westroads Mall

Across the board, dishes were well-executed and tasty. But there’s also some similarity between the new food hall and the food court of yore: There’s nothing that pushes the city’s food scene forward. The food is good, but it’s also safe. Read more

PizzaWest

PizzaWest | 12301 West Maple Road in Omaha and 12040 McDermott Plaza in La Vista

I was pretty curious to find out where PizzaWest — which in January opened a second location near 120th Street and West Maple Road — would fall in the Omaha pantheon of pizza. The verdict: Somewhere in the middle. Read more

Burlington League

Burlington League | 1002 S. 10th St.

The macaroni and cheese burger set a theme for my visits to the restaurant, a well-designed, comfortable corner bar that’s putting out surprisingly good food using homemade ingredients. There’s lots of risky, borderline state-fair dishes (hello, corn dogs) on the restaurant’s menu, but they’re elevated versions that are well-executed to boot. Read more

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar | 140 Regency Parkway

The highs on two visits to Fleming’s included a buttery, mid-rare fillet and two fine fish dishes; crispy-charred Brussels sprouts; and thoughtful but not too formal service. The lows included a hair in a pile of French fries that weren’t hot to begin with, a prime rib more fat than meat and a manager who shuttled us to a bar seat because she said the dining room was filled with reservations, but those diners never appeared. Read more

El Basha Mediterranean Grill

El Basha Mediterranean Grill | 7503 Pacific St.

El Basha is so consistently good it’s not a stretch to call it one of the most underrated spots in the city for gyros, kabobs, shawarma and especially falafel. Read more

Upstream Brewing Company

Upstream Brewing Company | 514 S. 11th St. and 17070 Wright Plaza

The kitchen works seasonal dishes, some with local ingredients, between the expected gouda beer soup and artichoke dip on its menu. And the Upstream’s team of brewers keeps a list of seasonal beers rotating quickly — in a given year, beer lovers can choose from up to 50 small-batch beers, some using locally sourced hops, along with the brewery’s signature beers like Dundee Scotch Ale and Flagship IPA. Read more



O Dining

O Dining & Lounge | 1015 Farnam St. 

Asian Fusion, with Chinese, Thai and Korean influences. O has always been more creative than average, and it’s back with greatest hits and some new favorites. The house favorite, the clay pot rice bowl medley, is just as good as it was before. Read more.



Ika Ramen

Ika Ramen and Izakaya and Kaitei | 6109 Maple St. 

Ramen, shared appetizers, donburi bowls and a new basement bar. Ika has struck a new balance of funky and delicious in Benson; Kaitei brings a boozy, Japanese-inspired drink menu to the basement. Across the board, Ika has improved: ramen is better, with more depth, appetizers are excellent. Read more



Bruno's Pasta Co.

Bruno’s Pasta Co. | 3623 N. 129th St.

Pizza, pasta and salads, as well as limited entrees. Small problems with both food and service led to a larger, overall problem at Bruno’s. Competition is tight in Omaha’s Italian scene; they must improve. Read more



China Garden

China Garden | 8441 West Center Road. 

Sichuan menu, in-table hot pot and Americanized Chinese all under one roof. For the adventurous eater who wants to try something new, the Sichuan menu is worth exploring. The in-table hot pot is worth experiencing. Also good: the spicy beef hot pot that comes assembled and the cold Sichuan noodles on the appetizer list. Read more



Mahogany Prime Steakhouse

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse | 13665 California St.

The bone-in filet is $58.99. The ribeye, $46.99. The 8-ounce filet, $41.99. Certainly these are premium prices, but so goes the new high-end steakhouse, complete with a la carte side dishes sized for sharing. If you’ve been to a Ruth’s Chris, or, locally, to 801 Chophouse, you know what to expect. Read more.



Vis Major Brewing Co.

Vis Major Brewing Co. | 3501 Center St.

Vis Major is keeping it simple. The brewery serves a succinct list of food that happens to pair perfectly with its robust list of house beers. The menu is mostly sausage, sourced locally from Frank Stoysich Meats, along with pretzel bites and flavored popcorn that’s addictively good. Read more.



Ryan’s Food and Spirits

Ryan’s Food and Spirits | 12221 Mary Plaza

At Ryan’s Food and Spirits, diners have a choice to make because Ryan Gish is aiming to create a casual sports bar and a fine dining concept under one roof. Read more.



The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck

The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck | various locations

There are very few Omaha outposts where a diner can get fish and chips, bangers and mash and a ploughman’s sandwich, along with other English specialties. Isaiah Renner and Dakota Kelsay realized the gap in Omaha’s food offerings and decided to fill it with Dire Lion last June. Read more.



Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings

Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings | 120 S. 31st Ave.

The thing that Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings does best is right there in the name. It makes sense. Ray Bullock has been making wings since the mid-’70s, when he was a kid working in a Buffalo, New York, pizza joint. He first made them for Omahans in the early ’90s. Read more.



The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina

The Corner Kick Street Tacos & Sports Cantina | 13806 P St.

Owner Juan Magana has played soccer his whole life, he said, but it’s been hard for him and his friends to find an Omaha spot outside of their homes to watch matches. He took over The Corner Kick space with plans to change that, and to offer something other than the burger you can “get anywhere else,” he said. Read more.



Tired Texan BBQ

Tired Texan BBQ | 4702 S. 108th St.

If there’s some sort of rule that says good barbecue comes only from restaurants in really random locations, well, Tired Texan fits that bill. Read more.



Gold Mountain at Aksarben Village

Gold Mountain at Aksarben Village | 6750 Mercy Rd.

One of the first things that hits diners when they walk in the door is that this new location is a lot swankier than the one out west, and it’s also got a full bar. Read more.



Della Costa

Della Costa | 220 S. 31st Ave.

The vast coastal Mediterranean menu at Della Costa meant that only about half the dishes we tried worked as well as they should. The restaurant excels in three areas: small plates, cocktails and desserts, which are exceptional. Read more



Virtuoso Pizza by David LoSole

Virtuoso Pizzeria by David Losole | 6056 N. Maple St.

I appreciate owner David Losole’s restraint and thoughtful approach — each slice we tried was good from tip to crusty edge. All pizza slices we tried were great, balanced in flavor and ingredients. A dipped Chicago-style beef sandwich is worth trying. Read more



Riva Steak & Seafood, Ameristar Casino

Riva Steak & Seafood, Ameristar Casino | 2200 River Road, Council Bluffs

I hoped Riva might have been a hidden gem — a fine dining spot in the most unexpected of places. But aside from a few winning dishes, I didn’t find many winners. Read more.



Charred Burger + Bar

Charred Burger + Bar | 1150 Sterling Ridge Drive

When Charred is able to cook its burgers as customers request, they’re great. But often, they come out different than requested, often overcooked. The classic burger, with its simple toppings, lets the meat shine. Read more



Culprit Cafe

Culprit | 1603 Farnam St.

Culprit started out as a coffee shop, but has matured into a weekend brunch destination worth visiting. Try the egg white sandwich, savory scones and well-prepared coffee. Read more



Maresco's Italian Market

Maresco’s Italian Market | 2821 S. 108th St.

Maresco’s offers several types of pastas, spices, wines and other Italian products you can’t find elsewhere in Omaha. The hot Italian beef sandwich, featuring a thinly sliced roast in a hot marinade, is hard to put down. Read more



Umami

Umami | 1504 Galvin Road South, Bellevue

Omaha’s best, most refined sushi. Chef Keen Zheng moved here from New York and is prepared to make waves; he’s importing fish almost daily from New York and Japan and will soon introduce chef’s choice omakase. Read more



Sertinos Cafe

Sertinos Cafe | 3669 N. 129th St.

Service was what stood out at Sertinos; the food didn’t blow us away. The shop makes a wide variety of good coffee drinks. The toasted sandwiches, including a ham and turkey club, were the best of the bunch. Read more



Oma's Deli

Oma’s Deli | 1217 Leavenworth St.

A nice Old Market alternative during the lunch hour that’s serving quick but carefully made cuisine and coffee. Read more.



Stirnella

Stirnella | 3814 Farnam St.

The bar and cocktail-heavy Blackstone District has its first grown-up restaurant. I recommend a chicken dish made with locally raised meat from Plum Creek that let the flavor of the meat shine through and an oxtail and mushroom spaetzle appetizer with rich flavor and varied texture. Read more.



Smitty's

Smitty’s | 7610 Dodge St.

Smitty’s is an easygoing, family-friendly, fast-casual spot with a retro service-station theme. While most of what we tried during two recent visits satisfied, some dishes could benefit from a tune-up. Read more



Lombardo’s

Lombardo’s | 13110 Birch Drive

Lombardo’s is the kind of reliable, Italian-American neighborhood restaurant that the people living nearby — around the 132nd Street and West Maple Road area — must really appreciate. It’s not a chain. It’s affordable. And it’s serving giant portions of things like saucy pastas, classic lasagna and a few surprisingly good appetizers, including a fried eggplant that I’d recommend without hesitation. Read more



Ollie & Hobbes

Ollie & Hobbes | 310 E. Gold Coast Road, Papillion

I get why Ollie & Hobbes opened where it did, in the heart of suburban Omaha in Papillion, a spot particularly popular with chain restaurants. It’s an area almost devoid of local cuisine. But what I don’t get is why the restaurant isn’t better. I wished for higher quality ingredients across the board, and for more refined cocktail preparation. I wished for less predictable pastas, sandwiches and entrees. Read more



Mercury

Mercury | 329 S. 16th St.

Mercury has the ethos of your favorite worn-in dive bar: comfortable couches; a laid-back atmosphere; friendly, unpretentious service. But from there, its character takes a turn toward the modern, with a menu of updated ’60s-era small bites; a well-priced, fun wine list; and a bartender who can make you — almost literally — every cocktail known to man, if you ask for it. Read more



Beacon Hills

Beacon Hills | 6750 Mercy Road

With all of the other offerings in Aksarben Village, many of which cater to the college crowd, Beacon Hills offers something different. It’s a good happy hour destination for the after-work crowd, it’s a good pregame dinner spot before an event at nearby Baxter Arena, and it’s a good place to get a much-needed midwinter comfort food fix that will make you feel cozy and happy. Read more



Au Courant Regional Kitchen

Au Courant Regional Kitchen | 6064 Maple St.

Chef Benjamin Maides and business partner Carlos Mendez are hitting all the right notes for Benson and for Omaha right now: good cocktails, a hip atmosphere, a menu that’s cutting edge but not scary. Read more



Swartz’s Delicatessen

Though it might be more Omaha than New York’s Katz’s, Swartz’s is serving reliable versions of the classics that, until now, were tough to get your hands on regularly without a plane ticket. Read more



Herbe Sainte

Herbe Sainte | 1934 S. 67th St.

What started out as a New Orleans-inspired cocktail lounge has quickly — mostly because of customer demand — morphed into a full-service restaurant and bar that is smack in the heart of Omaha. The spirit inside Herbe Sainte captures some of the best things about the city of New Orleans itself, including hearty but simple food and a focus on serving tasty spirits. Read more



The Boiler Room Restaurant

The Boiler Room Restaurant | 1110 Jones St.

In 2016, this-ahead-of-its-time restaurant has settled comfortably into its spot in our city’s dining scene. It’s one of Omaha’s most adventurous and creative dining experiences. Its service is precise and thoughtful. Its menu, now under the talented hand of chef Tim Nicholson — Kulik plans to step away from the restaurant at the end of the year — is refined and rustic, confident and full of contrasts. Read more



The Omaha Bakery

The Omaha Bakery | 608 S. 72nd St.

On Oct. 1, Michelle Kaiser opened in Omaha as The Omaha Bakery. The new location, positioned in the middle of a strip mall at 608 S. 72nd St., offers the same assortment of baked treats she made at Alotta Brownies, as well as a cozy lunch menu, with several locally sourced, scratch-made choices that are as friendly and personal as Kaiser herself. Read more



Ugly Duck

Ugly Duck | 3201 Farnam St.

During two recent visits to the new Ugly Duck, which took over the former Pana 88 spot about two months ago, it became clear that A.J. Swanda’s vision has grown beyond just broth and noodles. Of course, there’s still a healthy selection of ramen, but the new Ugly Duck is perhaps at its most exciting when it’s got nothing to do with soup. Read more



Paragon Dundee

Paragon Dundee | 5018 Underwood Ave.

If there’s one thing you can say about restaurateur Willy Theisen, it’s that he knows how to open a hot, hip spot. He’s done it again with his latest, Paragon Dundee. The atmosphere makes diners — this one included — feel like they’re part of something vibrant and fresh. The comfort food menu has moments when classic dishes take a turn toward the modern, though that didn’t always happen. Read more



Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese Cuisine | 6909 S. 157th St.

The latest local spot offering piping-hot bowls of pho and other classic Vietnamese dishes is the small, casual, family-run Vietnamese Cuisine, which opened in March in a strip mall near 156th and Harrison Streets. At just one page, the menu is relatively short. But what the restaurant lacks in quantity it makes up for in friendly, attentive service and a kitchen that for the most part handles homestyle Vietnamese food with skill. Read more



Cask Republic

Cask Republic  | 5003 Underwood Ave.

Though the owners have indeed come up with some creative varietals on the classic dish, only half of the ones I tried worked. And, frankly, I’m unsure that poutine on its own, with its rich, greasy heaviness, makes for the kind of dining experience I’ll want to revisit regularly. (No offense, Canada.) Read more



Tacoville

Tacoville | 3044 S. 84th St.

After three visits, I will concede that Tacoville does have some commonalities with Taco Bell, one of which is the fact they are both located within throwing distance on 84th Street. But there are also several differences between the two, such as the quality of Tacoville’s homemade hot sauce and the fact you can order a beer. Read again



High Vibe Cafe

High Vibe Cafe | 6706 Frances St., inside the Lotus House of Yoga

I’ve written much about the new trend in restaurants focused on healthy foods and so far, High Vibe is easily my favorite of these kinds of eateries. It’s succinct, well-executed menu is full of juices, smoothies and bowls that are good for you, yes, but also that don’t overlook one essential thing: They have flavor, and lots of it. Read more



Papa Reno

Papa Reno | 2861 Capehart Road, Bellevue

Though Papa Reno pies are decidedly in the after-the-softball-game pizza category — it’s middle-of-the-road, reliable pizza — what I really liked about this dinky spot were its surprisingly good signature sandwiches. Read more



Tavern 180

Tavern 180 | 203 N. 180th St.

At first glance I was lukewarm on the strip mall location and the somewhat antiseptic look of the dining room. But after two dinners, I have to give the restaurant credit for serving an approachable blend of steakhouse-meets-casual food that was, for the most part, really nicely executed. And it’s also got a really flashy bar, if you’re into such things. Read more



Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema | 12750 Westport Parkway, La Vista

During two recent visits to the company’s La Vista location, which opened in November 2015, we liked the convenience of the dine-in theater experience, and most dishes we tried were well prepared, nicely seasoned and made with seemingly fresh ingredients. The wait staff was friendly and attentive, and food and drinks were delivered in a timely manner, with only one exception. Read more



Blackstone Meatball

Blackstone Meatball | 3910 Harney St.

Over three recent visits, the majority of the sauces and meatballs I tried were only OK. Execution was uneven. And while service was attentive during one lunch, the two evenings we found the staff at best forgetful and at worst more interested in chatting with one another and looking at smartphones than helping customers. Read more



Baela Rose

Baela Rose | 4919 Underwood Ave.

I like Baela Rose so much because it’s bridging the gap between fine and casual dining, and proving that you can, in fact, enjoy a well-composed, creative meal on a regular basis for a price that won’t make you gasp. Read more



Suji’s Korean Grill

Suji’s Korean Grill | 1303 S. 72nd St.

Suji’s Korean is designed to present such dishes — and some even less-familiar ones — in a recognizable fast-casual setup, where diners order at a counter and move through a line where they can see all the dishes in front of them. Read more



La Barbacoa

La Barbacoa | 360 N. 114th St.

I have to give La Barbacoa — a new Latin barbecue place off 114th Street and West Dodge Road, and its owner, Clint Almaguer — credit for trying a new idea. There’s nowhere else in town doing barbecue topped with house-made salsa, or barbecue in wraps, both his concepts. Here’s the problem, though: the menu is small to begin with, and only a couple of dishes pleased. Read more



Freshii

Freshii | 6750 Mercy Road

This I can say for sure: All the ingredients at Freshii are really fresh. Diners can see, Subway-style, little metal bins full of freshly chopped vegetables and fruit, nuts, grains, beans and other ingredients through a little window while they wait for their meals, which are made promptly after diners order at a counter. When I ordered mango on my frozen kefir yogurt, for example, I had to wait while they chopped the fruit. Read more



Fiesta Brava

Fiesta Brava | 14220 Fort St.

While many of the restaurant’s customers might not be into the more traditional parts of the cuisine, I am. When I put it up against my favorite spots, most of which do happen to be in South Omaha, it doesn’t compare. But that seems, mostly, to be beside the point. Read more



Via Farina

Via Farina | 1108 S. 10th St.

The ease with which the owners conceived, opened and run Via Farina translates to the diners’ easy, comfortable experience. The food is simply good. The atmosphere, fun and vibrant. The neighborhood is clearly hungry for such a place. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recent Omaha opening as good as this one. Read more



Mercy Thai

Mercy Thai | 4741 S. 96th St.

Southwest Omaha can add one to the list with Mercy Thai, which opened in March and is serving a mostly tasty array of Thai favorites. Read more



Lighthouse Pizza

Lighthouse Pizza | 1004 S. 74th Plaza

Pizza in Omaha is a divisive topic, and it’s my guess that most of you reading this already have a favorite. I’m urging you, though, to break form and give this place a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I wasn’t. In fact, I left pleasantly surprised, already plotting a return visit. Read more



Sakura Sushi & Hibachi

Sakura Sushi & Hibachi | 3502 Metro Drive, Council Bluffs

The evening I ate hibachi at Sakura, in Council Bluffs, was one of the more hilarious dining experiences I’ve had in a while. The food is acceptable, both at the hibachi grill and in the dining room, where the restaurant serves a full slate of sushi, rolls and cooked appetizers. But Sakura is all about the experience, and it proved entertaining both nights I visited. Read more



Thai House

Thai House | 2101 N. 120th St.

Thai House offers an expansive menu of rice and noodle dishes, curries, stir-fries and soups. Like many of the city’s Thai spots, it doesn’t offer much beyond the usual suspects, but there are a few delicious surprises that are reason enough to drop by. Read more



LeadBelly

LeadBelly | 3201 Farnam St.

LeadBelly’s original location sticks mostly to basics: a wide variety of burgers, good bloody marys that I’ve had pre-Nebraska games and a ton of meatless sandwiches. In expanding beyond those offerings in Omaha, the restaurant may have lost course. Read more



Wild Rice Sushi

Wild Rice Sushi | 248 Olson Drive, Papillion

Some of the sushi and cooked dishes we tried are worth checking out. But with service problems to overcome, diners might leave feeling the same way I did: more frustrated than satisfied. Read more



Muscle Maker Grill

Muscle Maker Grill | 2835 S. 170th St.

A few dishes, including a wrap and a stir fry, packed hefty flavor next to relatively minimal calorie counts. But by and large, the menu at Muscle Maker fits what you might expect from low-cal fare: Salads. Brown rice bowls. Lots of grilled chicken. Creative? Not terribly. But good for diners looking for a healthier option that’s still quick and relatively inexpensive? Sure. Read more



Pho 382

Pho 382 | 2403 Towne Centre Dr., Bellevue

The broth of any bowl of pho is key, and here, it’s spiked with gingery, beefy flavors, with a clean, bright finish. I liked the meats — rare beef, just pink in the middle; sliced meatballs; a few bits of almost-transparent tripe. It came with the usual sides on a small plate, including fresh cilantro, a wedge of lime and a healthy pile of bean sprouts. Read more



R Taco

R Taco | 14919 West Maple Road

R Taco, which opened in March near 150th Avenue and West Maple Road, isn’t the kind of place where I usually find such legit street tacos. And though not every single taco I tried was a hit, most were pretty great. Read more



Blue & Fly

Blue & Fly | 721 S. 72nd St.

What’s really exciting about the little restaurant that opened last September is that it has a lot of dishes you won’t recognize, dishes that you’ve likely never had before. And that’s when things get fun. Read more



Ika Ramen and Izakaya

Ika Ramen and Izakaya | 6324 Maple St.

The four bowls of ramen I tried were my least-favorite items on the succinct menu; every bowl suffered from some broth-related malady — too salty, too bland or too greasy. But it wasn’t all so grim. The “izakaya” portion of the menu, focused on small bites and rice and noodle bowls, is better. The bowls, one made with octopus especially, are worth eating. Read more



DeLeon’s Mexican Food

DeLeon’s Mexican Food | 11345 Davenport St.

The well-known 24-hour drivethru that’s uber popular in Lincoln opened an Omaha outpost in 2012, but I hadn’t visited that one. It turns out that even at the noon hour, the food remains pretty tasty. Read more



Le Bouillon's lunch menu

Le Bouillon’s lunch menu | 1017 Howard St.

The new lunches at Le Bouillon are classic Omaha Old Market. There’s a view of bustling brick streets and, on the menu, French onion soup, hearty sandwiches and the kind of satisfying but artful entrees that chef and owner Paul Kulik has become known for. Read more



Nebraska Brewing Co.

Nebraska Brewing Co. | 7474 Towne Center Parkway in Shadow Lake Towne Center, Papillion

The beers are perhaps the best of what we tried. The menu, mostly of classic pub food, is best when a diner sticks to the basics: burgers, flatbread pizzas, chips and queso, mac and cheese. Read more



Adana's Kebab House

Adana’s Kebab House | 3604 Twin Creek Drive, Bellevue

Adana’s is small and plain in decor and location, but it is offering Omaha diners something new and refreshing: a taste of Turkey. Read more



Burrito Envy

Burrito Envy | 6113 Maple St.

I didn’t love everything I tried — the burritos and burrito bowls needed more spice and seasoning, as did the house-made cucumber pico de gallo. But I understand the concept and how it will work in Benson. With a few tweaks, many that owner Bryan Baumgart is already planning to make, I think it’ll work in an area full of trendy bars and young Omahans. Read more



Flagship Commons

Flagship Commons | 10000 California St., inside Westroads Mall

Across the board, dishes were well-executed and tasty. But there’s also some similarity between the new food hall and the food court of yore: There’s nothing that pushes the city’s food scene forward. The food is good, but it’s also safe. Read more



PizzaWest

PizzaWest | 12301 West Maple Road in Omaha and 12040 McDermott Plaza in La Vista

I was pretty curious to find out where PizzaWest — which in January opened a second location near 120th Street and West Maple Road — would fall in the Omaha pantheon of pizza. The verdict: Somewhere in the middle. Read more



Burlington League

Burlington League | 1002 S. 10th St.

The macaroni and cheese burger set a theme for my visits to the restaurant, a well-designed, comfortable corner bar that’s putting out surprisingly good food using homemade ingredients. There’s lots of risky, borderline state-fair dishes (hello, corn dogs) on the restaurant’s menu, but they’re elevated versions that are well-executed to boot. Read more



Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar | 140 Regency Parkway

The highs on two visits to Fleming’s included a buttery, mid-rare fillet and two fine fish dishes; crispy-charred Brussels sprouts; and thoughtful but not too formal service. The lows included a hair in a pile of French fries that weren’t hot to begin with, a prime rib more fat than meat and a manager who shuttled us to a bar seat because she said the dining room was filled with reservations, but those diners never appeared. Read more



El Basha Mediterranean Grill

El Basha Mediterranean Grill | 7503 Pacific St.

El Basha is so consistently good it’s not a stretch to call it one of the most underrated spots in the city for gyros, kabobs, shawarma and especially falafel. Read more



Upstream Brewing Company

Upstream Brewing Company | 514 S. 11th St. and 17070 Wright Plaza

The kitchen works seasonal dishes, some with local ingredients, between the expected gouda beer soup and artichoke dip on its menu. And the Upstream’s team of brewers keeps a list of seasonal beers rotating quickly — in a given year, beer lovers can choose from up to 50 small-batch beers, some using locally sourced hops, along with the brewery’s signature beers like Dundee Scotch Ale and Flagship IPA. Read more

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