Dispatches From Omaha: The Foodie Report

So yeah, I’m a foodie, after a fashion.

Whenever we move to a new town/area we usually scope out the restaurants and compare to what we left behind. It’s not like we go out to eat every day, but we get a pretty quick feel for what’s available.

Omaha has most of the big chain places – Applebees, IHOP, Denny’s, etc. And the standard fare for fast food joints – McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Taco Bell, Arbys, Sonic and Chik-Fil-A. Carl’s Jr. is here, but under the Hardees banner (same menu, different name).

But some notable absences are Jack In The Box. The nearest one is in Kansas City, about a three-hour drive south. Fortunately, we’ve planned a trip down to K.C. to check out a couple of museums (TWA and a World War I museum) and we’ll definitely hit Jack’s house for some monster tacos. (Really, the only thing worth getting there.)

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Whataburger is the best hamburger you will ever eat. Period.

Nor is there a Del Taco here and that hurts. The nearest one of those lies 370 miles south in Oklahoma. Ouch. Of course, Nebraska also lacks a Whataburger and that too would require a visit to Oklahoma to get to the closest one of those. The good news is that Omaha does not have an In’n’Out and thank the almighty for that!

I was surprised to discover there are no Baskin-Robins here. There is one in Lincoln, less than an hour away. But who wants to drive that far for ice cream when there are Dairy Queens all over the place?

Omaha does have a Taco Johns, which was surprisingly good but doesn’t have the variety of Del Taco. (Now I’m Jonesing for a Double Del Cheeseburger, krinkle-cut fries and a cherry coke.) Fortunately, there a burger chain here called Runza and they are dang close to matching Del Taco in the burger and fries department.

But they also have an honest-to-god Winchell’s Donut Shop here and I pay it a visit once a week. I’ve almost got the donut maker talked into recreating my favorite Winchell’s donut from the 1970s. If I get him to do it, I’ll post a photo. They also have Schlotzsky’s here. It’s a sandwich shop and more.

Yes, they have a Starbucks seemingly on every major intersection. But drive right on by the Evil Empire’s satellites and look for Scooters. They are usually on a corner of an intersection. You drive up, place your order and drive off with it and never get out of the car. The coffee is perfect. The breakfast burritos are fantastic and the cinnamon rolls are to die for.

charlestonsomaha

Heaven lies beyond these doors.

We’ve been trying some of the local non-chain places – although Village Inn (an IHOP with pie!) is a regional chain – and discovered a place called Charleston’s.

It was the best prime rib I’ve ever consumed. If you come to Omaha, you have to go there. Just off 144th Street, north of W. Dodge. It’s worth every penny you will spend there.

Of course, there have been some misses along the way. The less I speak of Don & Millie’s, the better. And the donut shop that made the worst donuts I’ve ever attempted to eat shall remain forever nameless. Yuck!

We’ve been here less than two months, so we have a few more places to try. If I come across one meriting special notice I’ll let you know about it. But just know that you won’t go hungry here in Omaha.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Most of the places you mentioned are big chains or fast food which doesn’t qualify as actual food in my opinion. You missed the Bohemian Café by a few years. It was an Omaha landmark for decades and the center of local Czech culture and community (my Mom’s Mom was Czech, so I remember it fondly as I was growing up).

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