Kathleen Connor; Among Other Things

kathleen connor of among other things omaha

Among Other Things opened on September 10th, 2015 in central Omaha. The furniture consignment shop combines antique and contemporary furniture with locally made artwork and home accessories. AOT’s eclectic style is curated by shop owner, Kathleen Connor. An Omaha native, Kathleen left Omaha for an art history degree at Princeton University and work in the interior design field in New York City as a young adult. She returned to Omaha in 2015 to open the specialty shop. When you stop in the shop, you will often find Kathleen designing or fabricating custom lampshades in her workshop. Customers leave with all sorts of finds, varying from a Mid-Century dining set, to locally sourced homemade caramels, to an antique map of Nebraska. You can also find AOT at pop up markets around the city.

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Top Patio Dining in Omaha

la burette summer patio in omaha

We hopefully have a couple more months of beautiful midwest weather to enjoy patio dining. My top 8 recommendations are from the Old Market up to Benson.

These are my top 3 picks based on food, ambiance and fun. These 3 all have uniquely different vibes. You can see the entire list HERE.

  • La Buvette is an Old Market tradition frequented by the service industry and those who have great taste.
  • Benson’s 1912 is one of Omaha’s only rooftop patios which is very busy on a summer weekend.
  • Mr. Toads is always full on a nice summer day because it is a classic people watching location… with drinks.

Find more of the Nebraska Tour Company Omaha Guides in FREE GUIDES>

Tim Maides; Master of All Things

tim maides of omaha

You may have already met Tim Maides because he seems to be involved in everything in Omaha. He is a hard working fun loving man who has been living in Omaha for about 22 years after moving here with his family from Switzerland.

His Chef brother, Ben Maides, got him his first job as a dishwasher for Espana Tapas Bar in Benson when he was in high school. He never wanted to become a chef but there weren’t enough hard working people around so he worked his way up in the kitchen.

Some of the things he is most proud of is being part of what makes people happy. Whether it’s a pop-up, a private catered dinner, or just a Saturday day night service. He says, “Bringing people joy is what makes all the long hours worth it. It’s really the little things in life.”

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Discover | Little Italy in Omaha

I think that the Little Italy District is one of the biggest secrets in the city. I have met many people who didn’t know we had one. You would expect that this area has pizza; it does! You can find Orsi’s Bakery & Pizzaria which has been around since 1919 as well as Via Farina which is a new addition to the area. You can find an original landmark restaurant, Cascio’s Steakhouse, which has been in the area since 1933. It is also home to the Blue Barn Theater.

You can discover Little Italy around Pacific Street between from 10th Street to the River. This area was the source for a lot of Omaha’s bootlegging during the Prohibition era. Sicilian immigrants came to the area to work for Union Pacific Railroad. According to one expert, Little Italy native Tony Biase was the “leading Mafioso in Omaha” through the 1970s.

Little Italy has already seen new developments in housing. It and it’s neighboring Little Bohemia have a lot more improvements planned in the coming years. A new grocery coop is planned along 10th street. Keep your eye open to catch the quick new developments in this area. If you haven’t been to Little Italy, give it a try this weekend. Read More

Hello Jill Dudzinski from Hello Ruby

Jill Dudzinski from Hello Ruby Fashion Truck

Jill Dudzinski loves to shop and wants to be ahead of the fashion curve. She started the Hello Ruby truck for fashionable ladies like her. The truck is named after her dog, Ruby. It launched in April and she describes it as “a fashion experience that is unique and innovative; think shopping for the most stylish, yet affordable clothing & accessories.”

Jill grew up in Omaha and graduated from UNL with a Marketing degree. She plans to stay in the city with her husband Austin. You can often find her at Archetype Coffee in her favorite part of the city, the Blackstone District. She loves Omaha because it keeps her close to her family and it’s easy to get around the city.

As a Buyer for her fashion truck, she gets to go to apparel markets to shop for upcoming fashions. She will be going to MAGIC market in Las Vegas again in August. She keeps the newest styles on her truck all the time. You won’t likely see everyone else wearing fashions from her shop because she only has 6 pieces of each item. You need to Shop quick and Shop often. Read More

Omaha Coffee Shops

omaha coffee latte

We must need a lot of caffeine in Omaha because we have a lot of coffee shops in the heart of the city. My top 6 recommendations are from Downtown out to Aksarben.

These are my top 3 picks based on coffee, ambiance and food selections. You can see the entire list HERE.

  • Zen Coffee Co is the newest shop in an upcoming are of Midtown that has great coffee, tasty pastry and a nice atmosphere.
  • Himalayan Java has coffee beans from the Himalayas as well as a full pastry and lunch menu.
  • Roast Coffeehouse has a nice atmosphere with a very friendly staff. Trust me, you want to try an apricot croissant with your beverage.

Find more of the Nebraska Tour Company Omaha Guides in their FREE GUIDES.

New Place, New Food, New Drink

I often get asked about how I find new great restaurants and bars. When I move to a new city or visit a city I start by looking through Yelp. I am a craft cocktail guy so I will search for that category. I scan through reviews and I look at the pictures that patrons have posted. I don’t simply look at the rating because that can be misleading since the bad reviews may have been from the past while things have improved lately. I usually look at the recent reviews to see how the ratings are now.

I visit the few cocktail bars that I selected in my research. You can pick a brewery or a restaurant but my reason for a cocktail venue isn’t just for the drink. A local bar with a friendly staff is a wealth of information. Ask them about their favorite districts, restaurants or bars. Ask them what their customers are saying about places they have visited. Ask them about new places that have just opened and find out if they think it’s worth a visit. These bartenders can be the center of their part of the city because the service industry professionals communicate with each other. Many of them have worked together in the past and keep in contact about openings, closings and local industry news.

In Omaha, I found Wilson & Washburn and stopped in for brunch and knew it was a friendly place. In a few weeks, I knew the wonderful staff and had learned a lot about Omaha. I had some excellent food and drink as well. I learned a lot from the staff and from the other patrons I talked to.

If you are learning a new place, I also suggest sitting at the restaurant bar to order dinner and drinks instead of a table. Again, this gives you the opportunity to talk to the staff behind the bar. Read More

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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Jon Vlach Moves Omaha

jon vlach in omaha nebraska

Jon Vlach has lived in Omaha his entire life and he definitely has a unique worldwide skill. Fitness is a major part of his life since he works at Genesis Health Clubs. He tries to keep his nutrition on track so he avoids fast food and sugar foods. He gets to exercise everyday at work; however, it is dance that keeps him in great shape. Read More

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>

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