June 5, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Nick Bartholomew sat across from his father, Kent, at the Village Inn near 180th and Center. Breakfast for Kent was always the same—coffee with cream and sugar accompanied by two eggs served over easy with bacon and toast. Nick couldn’t remember what he ordered that morning, but he did recall how that meal marked a major personal and professional transition. After a lifetime of wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, to do as Dad did, Nick wanted to break from the family securities business and follow a new path as a restaurateur.

Kent was supportive of his son’s new venture, but a bit skeptical of Nick’s idea to open a breakfast and lunch spot without omelets on the menu. Nick, however, knew what he wanted for the corner of 168th and Q—a cozy place that reflected the community surrounding it, locally sourced food, and a chef-driven drive-thru menu. Less than a year later, Over Easy, the home of the Clementine Pop-Tart and other amazing meals, was born. No omelets. No weak coffee. No rubbery pancakes or chicken-themed art allowed.

Inside is a mix of modern décor and barn wood, which has almost become a design requirement of restaurants serving local food, but Over Easy makes it work. Large windows are lined with flowers, and photos of relatives who worked in Iowa diners rest high on shelves behind the breakfast bar. For Nick, a passion for sentiment extended to the neighborhood’s most recognizable landmark, a 204-year-old cottonwood tree the city removed from the corner of 168th and Q last winter. Though his efforts to save the tree failed, he did end up with a portion of the stump, which will be converted into a bench for waiting diners and a picnic table for the restaurant’s garden.

“I have been in that pocket of the community for as long as I can remember. I went to Millard West High School, I still live in southwest Omaha and my office is on 168th and Center,” says Nick, whose voice practically bursts with enthusiasm. “I drove by that corner every day; it was just waiting for a place like this where people can come together, enjoy a good meal and each other’s company.”

He likes the idea of connecting people, but he is also a man of reason and knows that sometimes life won’t stop for breakfast, which is why he insisted on the commuter-friendly value of a drive-thru window. Chef Tim Maides developed creative versions of breakfast staples for morning commuters such as hash browns, bacon, and eggs, all with a twist. Potatoes are served as crunchy, savory rounds, and the eggs and bacon are baked into a Le Quartier baguette, which are easy to eat on the go. While you can’t order two eggs served over easy at the drive-thru, you can pull up a chair inside this little West Omaha breakfast place and order them to stay.

Nick’s dad is just fine with that. No omelet required.

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