Discover | Blackstone District

blackstone district omaha mural

I spend a lot of time in the Blackstone District and it surprises me how many Omaha residents don’t know that it exists. Greenslate Development Company started the redevelopment of this area in 2014. The location near the UNMC medical center plus the future potential of the Farnham Street corridor make this a wise investment. The neighborhood is technically part of the Gold Coast District of Omaha. It is West Omaha circa 1915.

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Best Pizza in Omaha

We are lucky enough to have many great pizza restaurants in the city of Omaha. There are a wide variety of style from a thin crust Neapolitan to a thick crust Italian classic. My top 6 recommends are in neighborhood districts from Little Italy to Blackstone.

I suggest that these are my top 3 favorites right now. You can view the full list Here. I look forward to discovering more amazing pizza as I explore the city. (These are not in any order.)

  • Orsi’s because it is a classic from our Little Italy
  • Noli’s because it is authentic NYC style
  • Via Farina because it is a classic Neapolitan style

Find more of the Nebraska Tour Company Free Omaha Guides at: FREE GUIDES>

Guidelines on Tipping for Great Service

I know that tipping is a challenging subject in America since it isn’t mandatory. However, you have to keep in mind that your servers are often dependent on tip income and generally are grateful for any tips received. Tipping is the way to acknowledge good service and exceptional service.

Let’s start with the most common tipping situation: the sit down restaurant. The staff at these venues are not making minimum wage and do need tips to make a living. Many of you might not know but there are venues that require the service staff to split their tips with bus staff, bartenders and sometimes even the back of house cooking staff.

A similar tip situation: a bar. The bartender who created your cocktails or explained the local craft beers to you most likely also depends on tips. They also will probably have to split their tips with the back of bar staff.

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4 Things That Create a Great Dining Experience

4 things that create a great dining experience graphic

I have been described as a ‘foodie’ but I don’t claim that title since I don’t have the culinary expertise needed. I definitely enjoy trying new taste creations. However, it takes more than a flavorful dish to convince me that a new venue is worth a repeat visit. I consider 4 things when I evaluate a dining experience.

  1. The MENU has to have options that are intriguing yet understandable. When a server has to explain everything it doesn’t create a comfortable start to the experience. There are also some places that have menu overload; too many options isn’t a good thing.
  2. The SERVICE needs to be sincere, friendly and attentive. The staff should be able to answer any questions you have about the menu. They should be genuinely glad that you are sharing the dining experience together. They should be ready to help you when you are ready but not bother you too much so you feel rushed. This is true for the ordering, dining and closing phases.
  3. There should be solid DRINK choices. I always value an establishment that offers hand crafted cocktails, craft brew options and an appropriate wine selection. This is another section that can have too few or too many options. The drink options should balance with the food menu options. It is very common at this point to expect a bartender at a restaurant to be able to make some classic off menu cocktails as well as have wine recommendations.
  4. The FOOD should be delicious and prepared as described on the menu. We all expect it to arrive at the table at the appropriate temperature. This is the star of the show so it should be presented well.

I appreciate and reward venues that can accomplish all 4 components of a great dining experience. These are the strengths that we look for in the restaurants we include in the Nebraska Tour Company Culinary Tours>

Experiences not Things

young couple having a fun experience

We have witnessed a shift in what people find important to spend money on. A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. In the past, young adults placed high value in a car and home, many are now seeing them as major commitments. The trend started before millennials but is gaining momentum: Since 1987, Harris group found that the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending increased 70 percent.

Today, owning a product is easy. Even the poorest person can own a cell phone. Owning something means nothing. It’s possible to say that it’s become something that’s expected of people. Millennials are looking elsewhere. They saw their parents spend on material goods in order to show off their wealth and success. It often led to them becoming chained to debt, and in some cases they even lost their homes because they were so tied up in mortgages.

We can see more of what other generations are doing today with social media. Therefore, Millennials are the cultural trailblazers for older and newer generations. Consumers today are broadly catching on to the notion that experiences make you happier and are as valuable (or more) than buying fancy things. Various psychological studies are showing that all people — not just millennials — are happier when their money is spent on living, rather than on having. Mintel’s 2015 American Lifestyles report projects that over the next five years, total spending will grow by nearly 22%, with the so‐called “non‐essential” categories, including vacations and dining out, expected to see the greatest gains. They want the chance to connect with new people, according to 72 percent of millennials spending money on experience-related purchases.

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