The long-gone Omaha of an earlier millennia is loaded with memories. And sideburns. And Easy Bake Ovens. It was a time when no presidential campaign would be complete without Paul Lynde making a valiant run for the Oval Office while you watched a war in a far-off land unfold on TV and prayed for an insanely high draft number. How many of these tidbits do you remember?
Plating this dish over waffles may be a thing today, but who can forget the crispy goodness of the chicken served at this legendary spot on the southeast corner of 78th and Dodge that is now the site of O’Daniel Honda?
C’mon, admit it. You teetered atop towering platform shoes while dancing The Hustle under that seizure-inducing strobe in this musk-scented nightspot located on the southeast corner of 72nd and Dodge. You know, the one just across from Kenny’s Steakhouse.
Occupying the third corner of the the city’s busiest intersection was the place you went to buy cheese when it was…well, just regular old cheese, dammit! Award yourself bonus points if you also remember that the grocer’s name came from “Mademoiselle from Armentieres,” the bawdy WWI song with the nonsensical lyrics hinky dinky parlez-vous.
And how about the Sunday ritual of a post-service visit to Bishop’s Buffet in your best “dicky” turtleneck or Nancy Sinatra, made-for-walkin’ go-go boots, even if that Cheese Frenchee, malt, and side of rings served by a King’s Food Host carhop the night before was still sitting pretty heavy?
Just any old cornfield would do—and there were plenty of them in the Omaha of old—when it came time for the rite of passage that was your first sickly sweet sip of Boone’s Farm wine accompanied by a (sicklier and sweeter) Swisher Sweet. Or so says our publisher (and former delinquent) Todd Lemke.
Speaking of Delinquents
Paper drivers licenses. That’s right, paper! All it took was an eraser, a steady hand and, voilà, you were ready to hit every dive bar across the river when the drinking age in Iowa was still 18. Remember the sensation caused when Coors’ 3.2 brew was first introduced on the prairie? Or the arrival of Olympia Beer? Par-taaaay! (Just be home by curfew.)
Didn’t Omaha used to have like a zillion Catholic high schools? You know you’re old in Omaha if you earned a sheepskin from a long-defunct school patrolled by nuns clad in acres of black who thought the church had gone “too far” with Vatican II. Mass in English? Saints preserve us!
No “freaky fast” sub or pizza deliveries back in those days. Sure, you had a milk box on your front porch like every other red-blooded American, but pizza was exotic fare served at a quaint tabletop illuminated by a candle stuck in an empty chianti bottle. Darn it, there’s just no way to phonetically represent that gross noise made by Hannibal Lecter when he uttered that famous line about fava beans and chianti.
There was nothing more “Omaha” than cruising Dodge on a balmy summer night in your dad’s snazzy Dodge Dart. Eric Burden growled on the radio that “we gotta get out of this place,” but we’re glad you stayed to help make Omaha the great city it is today.
We had fun with the recollections above, but it is important to point out that Omaha Magazine is a staunch opponent of underage drinking. Unless, of course, that drinking happened before 1975. And in a cornfield. And by our publisher.