With about 30,000 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders coming to town, we've decided to give some lost visitors to Omaha a guide to Where to Shop, Eat and Drink while in town for the weekend. Most of our suggestions are in the Old Market area as this is within walking distance of the Qwest Center where the main activities are taking place.
Friday night, many folks head over to Borsheim's for their cocktail party. Who doesn't want to drink some fine alcoholic beverages and then shop for fancy jewelry? If new jewelry isn't in your budget, but a stiff drink is, we suggest you head over to Hiro, at 3655 N. 129th Street, off Maple. This is where you get all the sake bombs, saketinis and a full menu of bar drinks in addition to some yummy sushi and Japanese fare. For those who spent all their money on a new bauble (or two), we suggest you make your way to Hiro's Reverse Happy Hour..with half-price select sushi rolls, appetizers and drinks! Reverse Happy Hour takes place from 10pm-midnight.
Wake up bright and early the next morning and head downtown over to Delice, at 1206 Howard (right next door to Trocadero). This European-style bakery has croissants and pastry goods with a full coffee and tea selection. Another suggestion is to head to Aromas at 1033 Jones Street where you can get your java lift with their "Black as Hell" drip coffee (which has twice the grounds of their house French roast) or their delicious dirty Chai, which has a shot of espresso. While there, grab some coffee cake or a scone at Bickford Bakery.
Then rush on over to the Qwest and take your seat to watch the Oracle of Omaha in all his grandeur. Actually, watching Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger speak is quite the treat. In their next life, they could be a comedy duo on the road. I would pay to see them for sure.
During the break, inflate the BRK stock price and shop the booths at the Qwest: get bargains on See's Candies, Justin boots, Ginsu knives and a host of other items from companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway. After your fifth, free ice cream bar and pack of Wrigley's gum, (and if you're seeking some fresh air) walk on over to the Old Market and do some more shopping and eating.
Check out Trocadero at 1208 1/2 Howard Street, (you can't expect us to not plug our own little shop in Omaha, right?), the city’s accessories Mecca with lifestyle gifts. Lotus across the street carries natural fiber clothing while Second Chance (on Jackson and 12th) and Bellwether (right around the corner from Delice) are the stops for vintage and antiques. Pulp Gallery in the Passageway carries charming paper goods while Drastic Plastic and Homer's are the stops for music-philes (both on Howard Street around 12th Streets). Jackson Street Booksellers at 11th Street offers reading material for even the most discerning, including Omaha native Kurt Andersen. Other notable stops in the Old Market include: Room for modern home decor goods, Nouvelle Eve for women's clothing, Urbane, Sirens or Hair Market for a shampoo, blowout, manicure or facial and the Omaha Healing Arts for various types of therapeutic massage as well as detox teas.
If you're feeling peckish, we suggest you take a load off and go to where Gorgeous George (as in George Clooney) recently visited: La Buvette, my favorite little watering hole and restaurant. There's nothing better than grabbing a bottle of wine from the shelves and sitting down to a plate of cheeses and charcuterie and homemade French bread. Divine! Can't get a table? We suggest a slew of other places such as M’s Pub for their classic casual fare, like a Omaha-original reuben or their house specialty: a lavosh with delightful toppings. If it's dinner time, head over to the newest addition to the restaurant scene: The Boiler Room for their inventive cuisine in a great space in addition to a master sommelier to pick out a perfect bottle. Ahmad’s has wonderful Persian, Indian Oven for your tikka masala and lamb vindaloo fix and Twisted Fork serves up southern-style eats. We also suggest Stokes for southwestern cuisine and tex-mex flair and Blue Sushi for tasty sushi rolls, Japanese eats and a lively, fun atmosphere with live DJ on some nights. For something more upscale and for an excellent meal, go to V. Mertz in the Passageway. Craving Italian food? Try out Nicola's on 13th and Jackson or Vivace down on Howard and 11th. If you want to head out of the Old Market for some tasty "big portion" Italian, check out Malara's around 21st and Pierce or Lo Sole Mio on 3001 S. 32nd Ave.
If you want ice cream, then it's absolutely necessary to stop by Ted & Wally's in the Old Market for some flavorful treats; they change them daily and if you're lucky, you'll get them on a night when they have their "Guinness" (yes, Guinness!) flavored ice cream. Speaking of beer... check out Upstream Brewing for their house made brews on tap.
Time for some more drinking? We suggest you leave your credentials at home and have a glass of champagne on tap at the Homy Inn, one of Esquire’s best U.S. bars. Hear live music at the Slowdown or at The Waiting Room. The Dundee Dell is the place for scotch lovers while Dario’s has Belgian beers with frites. Sample a flight of wines or just a glass at Urban Wine Company, or head next door and sip martinis and take in the live DJs at Nomad.
On Sunday, if you're still hungry after the Borsheim's brunch (or are staying downtown and don't want to drive back out west), make a reservation for brunch at Dixie Quicks, featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Order any of their "scrambles" though we're really partial to the house "Dixie" one. The tomato cream sauce is to-die-for. We also love the butterscotch pancakes and basically anything at Lisa's Radial Cafe, a little dive coffee shop that is known for its speciality of the house: the Radial Raft, sausage and biscuits in a pool of gravy. For an excellent omelet and house-made ricotta and blueberry pancakes, eat at Amato's on 64th and Center. Later, skip the crush for an Omaha Sirloin at Gorat's and instead get a delicious whiskey filet at the Drover near 72nd Street and Mercy.
Now how's that for a quick 48 Hour Guide to Omaha? Consolation prize is that there's always next year to take in all these treats. It's never too early to make your reservations now for next year. BRK Weekend is April 30th-May 2nd next year!