Tag Archives: Best of Omaha

After Hours with the Best of Omaha

September 18, 2018 by
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

Omaha Design Center is home to the nation’s fifth-largest fashion week. The Omaha Press Club roasted and toasted Greg and Doug McDermott there. Lili Cheng, Microsoft’s AI Developer, spoke there in August as part of Big Omaha.

Now, Omaha Magazine is joining forces with Omaha Design Center to bring you the Best of Omaha Soirée.

We previously held a Best of Omaha Festival, a casual event in which the public could learn more about the Best of Omaha winners, businesses they voted on during our summer voting period.

This event will celebrate the best of the best in the elegant atmosphere of Omaha Design Center.

“This will be a night to remember,” says publisher Todd Lemke. “It will be more targeted towards business managers and owners to celebrate winning the Best of Omaha.”

Business professionals will be interested in joining the fun, as one of the purposes behind this event is to find new contacts to add to their coteries. The dress code is business chic—wear a suit with a silk tie or scarf, or wear a tuxedo or little black dress. It will be a night to impress, and we know it will be a night that makes an impression on you.

“We are going to set the tone by having glamorous, back-lit scenery,” says Lemke. “We will have representatives of the Best of Omaha dining winners walking around with sample-sized bites and winners’ booths intermingled with
the sponsors.”

That vendor you work with and know simply by text message or email will finally have a face. 

Once checked in, visitors can enter the main venue—and prepare to be wowed. Omaha Design Center is a top-notch space, with white couches, dazzling chandeliers, and cocktail tables for those wishing to set down a drink in order to shake hands. The center of the space includes an entertainment area, and people will be able to witness extreme performances throughout the evening, all situated on a circular platform so that you can walk around and meet new customers or colleagues while taking in the show.

Best of all, this is the reveal to our Best of Omaha winners for 2019. This year includes fun new categories such as best board game cafe, best escape room, and best chimichanga. A copy of the Best of Omaha book is included in the ticket price. Those who don’t want to crack the spine on their copy that night can view the winners as their names scroll across audio-visual displays.

The winners from the 700 categories represented in the Best of Omaha represent less than 3 percent of Omaha businesses, so you can be assured everything about the evening will spotlight the best of the best. The dining section alone has more than 60 categories, so you could munch on anything from the city’s best appetizers to bites of the city’s best Italian food, sushi, and more.

And you can sip on a glass of wine or beer while meeting new friends. Each attendee will receive tokens for two free drinks, and there is a cash bar available for those who want more than two drinks. 

We also have 250 VIP tickets available. All VIPs receive entry one hour early, which includes unlimited drinks during that time. They also receive valet service and premium appetizers.

Beyond the Best of Omaha 2019 winners, attendees at the event include the 2018 Best of B2B winners, the 2018 Best Doctors, Lawyers, and Dentists recipients, and the 2018 Faces of Omaha. This will be a who’s who of Omaha that you will not want to miss.

“Omaha is known as a ‘big small town,’ where relationships are important,” Lemke says. “We can’t think of a better way to honor that ‘big small town’ feeling than by putting on an event like this.”


See the video at  youtube.com/watch?v=JOxl1938u18 then visit localstubs.com to purchase tickets.

Best of Omaha Soirée

August 29, 2018 by
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

Announcement of this year’s Best of Omaha winners will take place at the Best of Omaha Soirée: A Night of the Best, on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at the Omaha Design Center from 6-10 p.m.

Performances by Flowtricks Entertainment will astound guests throughout the evening, with OEAA-nominated DJ Shor-T setting the mood. Delectable appetizers from several Best of Omaha winners will be making the rounds, including: Granite City Food & Brewery; Le Bouillon; Attitude on Food; Noli’s Pizzeria; Pettit’s Pastry; Jason’s Deli; Smitty’s Garage Burgers and Beer; B&B Grill and Arcade (formerly B&B Hot Dogs); Scooter’s Coffee; and Futuramic’s Clean Water Center. Drinks will be provided by Granite City Food & Brewery and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

This event will feature networking with hundreds of fellow winners, business owners, and managers, in a magical setting with endless engaging entertainment. Attendees will include the Best of Omaha winners, Best Doctors, Best Lawyers, Top Dentists, and 2018 FACES of Omaha recipients.

There will be a lot of interesting new connections to be made—everyone from Greater Omaha Chamber President David Brown to school superintendent and business ownersso come dressed for success.

VIP tickets for this event are going fast, so buy one now and you will be entertained by one of Omaha’s best local bands, eNVy. VIPs receive complimentary drinks during the VIP hour (6-7 p.m.) and valet service and two drink tokens for the main event.

General admission tickets also include two drink tokens and food samples in addition to the live, entertainment from Flowtricks. General admission ticket holders can add valet parking for an additional $10. 

Sponsorship spaces are available now, but space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can purchase tickets ($40 general admission, $60 VIP) at localstubs.com.

Help us spread the word. We are very excited about the 2019 Best of Omaha Soirée! If you have any questions or would like to be a sponsor, please don’t hesitate to contact me at:

Tara Spencer
Event Director
W: 402.884.2016
tara@omahamagazine.com



#WeDontCoast

August 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

We Don’t Coast. That’s the official slogan of Omaha.

Here at Omaha Magazine, we don’t coast so hard that we will announce the 2019 winners of the city’s definitive “Best Of” contest in November 2018.

Although subscribers will receive the complete Best of Omaha book by January—with nearly 350 categories—you can catch a sneak peek of the winners list at the Best of Omaha Soirée on Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Omaha Design Center. 

It is going to be a fancy evening of celebrating the Best of Omaha. The dress code is business-chic. But everyone age 21 and older is invited to join the party. Purchase tickets at localstubs.com. 

From 7-10 p.m., folks can enjoy food from Best of Omaha winners, entertainment from a DJ and circus performances, and two drink tokens free with event admission; there will also be a cash bar. The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a special VIP networking hour with free-flowing liquor, wine, and beer. 

The Best of Omaha Soirée will take the place of the Best of Omaha Festival that we hosted for four years (2014-2017). We might bring the festival back again in later years. For now, however, we wanted to try a fresh approach to celebrating the Best of Omaha for 2019. After all, these businesses don’t coast. And neither do we. 

“We Don’t Coast” is not a rip on less landlocked locales, according to the brand explanation from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (the impetus for the brand). We don’t begrudge those wayward Omahans who have found success away from Home-aha.

Look no further than Adam Devine and Sarah Rose Summers. These superstars from Omaha have achieved international celebrity status. Devine is a big-shot comedian and actor returning to his hometown for a Netflix comedy special (to be filmed at the Orpheum this fall). Summers, aka Miss Nebraska, was crowned Miss USA in May. (She will be vying for the Miss Universe title in December.)

Their stories—and much more—are featured in the full city edition of Omaha Magazine sold at local bookstores and mailed to subscribers. 

This September/October issue, in fact, is full of stories about Omahans with coastal tendencies. Look no further than the Arts + Culture section; we profile Q. Smith (a North High School grad making waves on Broadway) and Omaha-based artist Stephen Cornelius Roberts (who has exhibited work on both coasts). 

All of these Omahans have made their city proud, and they don’t coast when it comes to resting on their laurels. 

The “We Don’t Coast” slogan is wonderful for social media hashtags emphasizing what Omahans do great: #WeDontCoast #WeCreateOpportunitiesWhereverWeGo.

To see how the slogan works so well, consider #WeDontCoast #WeImpact. The hashtag campaign was associated with the Omaha Chamber’s #24HoursOfImpact campaign on July 27, which Omaha Magazine staff joined. We bought school supplies and donated cash to the nonprofit Completely KIDS. 

This hashtag formula makes a great shareable gimmick for any campaign, i.e., #WeDontCoast #WeInsertVerbHere.

But sometimes, I’ll admit, I do wish Omaha would lift its foot off the gas pedal and coast for a bit. Especially when it comes to our notorious “talent” in dealing with historic properties. City and civic leaders have a rich history of tearing down historic buildings: #WeDontCoast #WeBulldoze?

Just consider the history of Jobber’s Canyon (the nation’s largest National Register of Historic Places district sacrificed to ConAgra), the Clarinda-Page Apartments (which remains an empty lot near Midtown Crossing), and more recent proposals from Douglas County to demolish a historic brick structure for a juvenile detention center, or the city’s plot to flatten the iconic Gene Leahy Mall and dump a philanthropy-backed fortune into a sprawling riverfront region that lacks fundamental infrastructure/road access.

There is not a category in the Best of Omaha contest for “Best Historic Demolition,” but—this being Omaha—maybe we should consider adding it for the 2020 contest.

Note: The online version of this editor’s letter has been modified to reflect updated schedule and features at the Best of Omaha Soirée.


Purchase tickets to the Best of Omaha Soirée hereThis letter was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

1992 First Annual Best of Omaha Award Winners

July 10, 2018 by and

Below are the results of the first ever Best of Omaha Survey contest. 100,000 ballots were distributed, and winners were selected in 56 categories. The results are reproduced here as published in the March/April 1992 edition of Omaha Magazine.

The 2019 contest winners will be announced at the Best of Omaha Soiree on November 8. Get your tickets here: https://localstubs.com/events/best-of-omaha-soiree.

Best Family Restaurant

1. The Garden Cafe
2. Grandmother’s Restaurant and Lounge
3. Old Country Buffet
3. Valentino’s

Best Salon

1. Salon Tino
2. Garbo’s
3. Haircrafters

Best Omaha Tradition

1. River City Roundup
2. College World Series
3. Mannheim Steamroller

Best Annual Event

1. River City Roundup
2. College World Series
3. Septemberfest

Best Travel Agency

1. Travel & Transport Inc.
2. AAA Travel Agency
3. Pegasus Travel Center
3. Younkers Travel Service

Best Bakery

1. The Garden Cafe
2. Gerda’s Bakery
3. Hy-Vee Bakery

Best Yogurt

1. TCBY Yogurt
2. I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt
3. Dannon

Best Nursery

1. Earl May Nursery & Garden Center
2. Mulhall’s Nursery
3. The Yard Co.

Best People Watching

1. Malls
2. Old Market
3. Airport

Best Place to Buy CDs and Tapes

1. Homer’s Record Store
2. Pickles Records & Tapes
3. Best Buy

Best Buffet

1. Old Country Buffet
2. Valentino’s
3. The Choice Smorgasbord

Best Happy Hour

1. Arthur’s
2. 3 Cheers
3. Grandmother’s
3. Mickey Finn’s
3. Sports Cafe

Best Financial Institution

1. First National Bank of Omaha
2. Norwest Bank Nebraska NA
3. FirsTier Bank

Best Live Music

1. Ranch Bowl
2. Orpheum Theater
3. Arthur’s

Best Sporting Event

1. College World Series
2. Lancer Hockey
3. Nebraska Football

Best Place to Dance

1. Arthur’s
2. Ranch Bowl
3. Peony Park

Best Place to Take Kids

1. The Henry Doorly Zoo
2. Omaha Childrens Museum
3. Showbiz Pizza Place
3. Peony Park

Best Free Entertainment

1. Jazz on the Green
2. Shakespeare on the Green
3. Music in the Park
3. Old Market

Best Picnic Spot 

1. Elmwood Park
2. Dam Site 16
3. Central Park Mall

Best Men’s Clothing Store

1. Landon’s
2. Dillard
2. Jerry Ryan
2. Younkers
3. Montage

Best Steak House

1. Ross’ Steak House
2. Gorat’s Steak House
3. Johnny’s Cafe

Best Not on Ballot

1. KKCD Radio
2. University of Nebraska at Omaha
3. Baker’s

Best Local Band

1. High Heel & the Sneekers
2. The Rumbles
3. Johnny Ray Gomez

Best Tourist Attraction

1. The Henry Doorly Zoo
2. Old Market
3. Boys Town

Best Deli

1. Spirit World
2. Baker’s
3. Little King

Best Mexican Food

1. Julio’s
2. Romeo’s
3. El Aguila Restaurant

Best Italian Restaurant

1. Grisanti’s Causal Italian Restaurant
2. The Olive Garden
3. Caniglia’s Venice Inn

Best Shopping Center/Mall

1. Crossroads
2. Westroads
3. Oakview Mall

Best Place to Meet Singles

1. Paradise Lounge
2. Grocery Store
3. Arthurs Church

Best Real Estate Company

1. CBS Real Estate
2. Home Real Estate
3. NP Dodge Co.


This article was printed in the March/April 1992 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Greatness

November 10, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It’s not a “Best Of” category that we consider, but we should.

There’s a guy who works on the Yard Waste Truck that services my neighborhood, who I noticed one day, who should be considered for one of our “best.” It’s easy to forget the folks who keep everything going—the people who are at the foundation of our society. This guy is great. I don’t use the word great lightly. His greatness can be traced back 2,350 years. Let me explain.

Back in the fourth century B.C.E., Alexander of Macedonia won so many battles, and marched his army over such great distances spreading Hellenistic culture, and named more entire cities after himself than our current president’s eponymous towers, he became “the Great,” or Alexander “the Best.”

Then other conquerors came along to challenge Alexander. Julius “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres” Caesar made his claim. He spread the Roman Empire across Western Europe right up to the Rhine—where my tree-worshipping German ancestors on the far side of the river gave him reason to yearn for another summer on the French Riviera. He was good, but Julius had a rich, united, populous, hyper-organized society at his back, a society that knew the difference between X and C. Alexander came from a cultural backwater. A rocky province far from the core of a quarrelsome, city vs. city, fragmented Greek civilization that had been weakened by years of internecine warfare and hemlock overdoses. Julius falls short—Alexander the Best.

Mehmed the Conqueror took down the last vestiges of the Roman Empire when he took Constantinople in 1453. He spread the Ottoman Empire across the Middle East, the Balkans, the Crimea, and into Central Europe where he even bested Prince Vlad III, best known as Dracula. But he too, was the beneficiary of a well-organized, large base of operations—the Macedonians were but a speck on the map in a time when most maps were covered with dragons, monsters, and blank spaces. Again, Alexander the Best.

Napoleon humbled army after army sent against him by the scions of a post-feudal, aristocratic system, that was, even then, feeling the tide of “modern” culture as it dampened the careworn threads of its fraying cloak. (But Napoleon had gunpowder, artillery, muskets, factories, powdered wigs, and crepes. Alexander had a one-eyed father and a homicidal mother. Nowadays the lad would have needed some serious therapy, but back then, he translated his trauma into a career of conquest. Alexander outranks him.

So what made Alexander the “Best?”

Was it his tactical skill in battle? His force of personality? His legendary horse Bucephalus? (Forget Roy Rogers and Trigger. Bucephalus was, by all accounts, the “best” horse ever.) All these factors are important, but the root of Alexander’s greatness starts in the forests of Macedonia’s rugged mountains and valleys. There was a tree in that wooded landscape that lent itself to being cut into long shafts. Tipped with a spearhead, these lances, known as sarissas, stretched up to 20 feet long. The Macedonian army, organized into square formations known as a phalanx, bristling with these elongated, fearsome weapons were simply unbeatable—at least until they ran into enraged elephants in the Indus. The wood of these trees has the perfect grain, the perfect blend of flexibility, weight, and strength that could be assembled in sections like fishing pole and used to conquer the world.

Which brings me to those same trees, the trees that made the lances, the trees that grace my front yard—the mighty ash.

My ash trees have grown old. They shed branches like I shed hair. I take those branches and cut, cut, and chainsaw them into shorter lengths that I bundle and leave at the curb. And then he arrives.

Announced with the rumble of the green Deffenbaugh truck, he balances with one foot on a pad and one hand holding a rung at the rear of the vehicle. He performs a perfect semi-jeté off the running board towards my pile of wood before the truck has even made a complete squeaking stop, pirouettes as he snags the broken bundles, and flings them without a single wasted motion into the maw of the compactor. Then, in a blink, he is back onboard and the truck moves on, now carrying scraps of the same wood that made Alexander immortal.

I watched it all from my porch. I thought to myself, “This guy is great.”

He is the best.

Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.

This column was published in the 2018 Best of Omaha results book.

List-O-Mania

Omaha Ranks as the best for a lot of reasons—from being the best city for drivers to ranking in the top three best cities in which to find a job. We also have a slew of best places, from Henry Doorly Zoo to the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center.

Omahans already knew that—it’s why we live here. But it’s nice to get accolades from outsiders, and we have received many of those recently. This list, compiled with help from the Omaha CVB, highlights some of the accolades we have received over the past two years. Check them all out, do you agree with them?

No. 1s

Best Cities for Singer-Songwriters

Livability.com—April 2016

Best Cities for Car Drivers

NerdWallet.com—May 2015

Top 10 Best American Cities to Work in Tech

SmartAsset.com—September 2015

Best U.S. Cities for Paid Internships

Time.com/money—June 2015

U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index

CastlightHealth.com—June 2015

Fastest Growing Tech Hubs in the U.S.

Uncubed.com—February 2015

Where People are Saving the Most by Refinancing in Nebraska (Douglas County)

SmartAsset.com—February 2015

Top Five Animal Attractions-
Henry Doorly Zoo

Family Fun Magazine—2015

No. 2s

Good Jobs,
Affordable Housing
and High Quality of Life

Gizmodo.com—June 2016

Best Place to Live 2015 (Papillion)

Time.com/money—August 2015

Top Theater Venues in the Midwest (Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center)

Venues Today—April 2015

Lowest Unemployment Rate in the U.S.

POLITICO Magazine—January 2015

Best U.S. Cities for Millennial College Students

OnlineColleges.com—March 2015

CNBC—May 2015

Top 10 Best Foodie Cities

Livability.com—2015

Best City for Recreation

WalletHub.com—July 2015

Best Cities to Find a Job

Fortune—June 2015

Most Debt Savvy Residents

SmartAsset.com—September 2015

No. 3s

Best Cities to Find a Job

ZipRecruiter.com—January 2016

No. 4s

Great Small Cities for Food Lovers

Wall Street Journal—March 2015

No. 5s

Best Cities to Work for a Small Business

WalletHub.com—May 2015

Best Metro Area for STEM Professionals

WalletHub.com—January 2015

Best Big Cities in the Midwest

Time.com/money—August 2015

No. 6s

Best Large City for First-Time Home Buyers

WalletHub.com—July 2017

The 12 Metro Areas with the Least-Stressed Commuters

LawnStarter.com—October 2016

Best Cities for First-Time Homebuyers

SmartAsset.com—March 2016

Best Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save Money

GOBankingRates.com —February 2015

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Homebuyers

SmartAsset.com—March 2015

Top 10 Beer Cities

TravelChannel.com—September 2016

No. 7s

Best Cities for Raising a Family

Forbes—2016

Best Cities to Get a Job

ZipRecruiter/msn.com—January 2015

WalletHub.com—January 2015

Top Ten Cities for Creatives

SmartAsset.com—January 2016

No. 8s

The Best Minor League Baseball Towns

SmartAsset.com—2017

Best Large Real Estate Market

WalletHub.com—2017

State Well-Being Rank

Gallup Healthways—2016

Top Cities for New College Grads

SmartAsset.com—2015

No. 9s

Best City for Renters

WalletHub.com—July 2017

Most Caring Cities in America

WalletHub.com—December 2015

No. 10s

2016 Digital Cities: Transparency, Security, Infrastructure (250,000-499,999 category)

Government Technology Magazine—March 2017

Best Large City for First-Time Home Buyers

WalletHub.com—July 2016

Top Tech Cities in the Midwest

ComputeMidwest.com—September 2016

Best Cities to Start a Career

WalletHub.com—May 2016

This list was originally printed in the 2018 Best of Omaha Results IssueTo view this article as it was printed, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/november_3adecember_20boo_20om1217/10

The Best Is Yet to Come

April 5, 2017 by

Wow! A city of “Bests!”

Omaha is filled with so many amazing businesses, innovators, artists, entrepreneurs, vendors, doctors, venues, restaurants, and… well you name the category. The “Bests.” They make us proud to be from Omaha.

And yet, how many times have you been on a trip to some exotic locale like Bora Bora, Paris, Costa Rica, Portland, or even Lubbock, and upon being asked where you’re from, you’ve mumbled, “Omaha,” furtively, under your breath?

Despite the fact that our hometown boasts a 6-foot-tall bronze statue of Chef Boyardee, and the archetypical power of our name emblazoned on the Wizard of Oz’s escape balloon, we feel shy about claiming our place as one of the best places on earth.

Admit it. We’ve always had a bit of an inferiority complex about where we’re from—where we live. But, why? Well, I suspect that bit of shame might be rooted in the lyrics of an old song that described this town of ours back in the early days:

“Hast ever been in Omaha,
Where rolls the dark Missouri down,
And four strong horses scarce can draw
An empty wagon through the town?
Where sand is blown from every mound
To fill the eyes and ears and throat?
Where all the steamers are aground
And all the shanties are afloat?
Where whisky shops the livelong night
Are vending out their poison juice;
Where men are often very tight,
And women deemed a trifle loose?”

Hardly a “New York, New York” or “April in Paris,” that’s for sure. The lyrics are no match for “Bombay Se Gayi Poona,” either.

We started with a pretty brutal musical self-image. Maybe this nagging sense of “less than” is rooted in the dearth of good tunes about our fair city.

Groucho Marx tried to lift our spirits with a ditty that included, “There’s a place called Omaha, Nebraska, in the foothills of Tennessee.” The geographical illiteracy, however, negated any positive image building.

Stan Freberg didn’t help with his musical Omaha! that included lyrics like; “Who me? Miss the weenie roast in Omaha?” and “Omaha moon keep shining. You shone on Council Bluffs last June. Leaving Dundee lovers pining. Please remember you’re an Omaha moon.”

Nobel Prize winner Robert Allen Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) sang, “I’m going to ride into Omaha on a horse. Out to the country club and the golf course,” in 1964—no comfort there.

Psychedelic ensemble Moby Grape did us no favors with their 1968 single, “Omaha,” which didn’t mention Omaha even once beyond the title.

Bob Seger sang about “A long and lonesome highway east of Omaha” in his paean to touring as a rock star but he never mentioned actually coming into town while he was in the neighborhood. So, thanks a lot, Bob.

We did hit it big in 1973 when Grand Funk Railroad sang about “four young chiquitas in Omaha,” in their No. 1 hit “We’re an American Band.” The problem was, Little Rock got top billing in the verses, and, after the chorus we ended up getting a hotel torn down.

So here’s the deal, we need an Omaha anthem. A song with the Omaha equivalent of “little cable cars,” and some parallel to “that toddling town.” We need to be where “little town shoes” are headed. Omaha needs a “Best Song About Omaha” winner next year. We need to patch up the psychic scars we’ve borne for all these many years.

It won’t be easy. Others have tried and failed. I’m counting on you, we all are.

Do you have an anthem for Omaha? E-mail a video of your song to Omaha Magazine at editor@omahamagazine.com to be considered for prizes.

This article was printed in Omaha Magazine’s 2017 Best of Omaha” issue.

Lenten Fish Fries

March 16, 2017 by
Photography by Joshua Foo

Lent in Omaha—a time of repentance and moderation for devout Catholics—is synonymous with crowded lines of happy, drunken people waiting for heaping piles of deep-fried fish.

Parishioners and non-churchgoers alike rejoice with the approach of Ash Wednesday. Non-Catholics who have never joined in the fun should not hesitate. All are welcome. Lenten fish fries (complete with raffles, pickle cards, and bake sales) are the biggest fundraising event of the year for many Catholic churches, schools, and charities in Omaha.

The beer-infused Friday fry-day gatherings are a popular annual ritual in Midwestern cities with robust Catholic communities. Omaha’s large Catholic population means that several dozen churches will host fish fries throughout the 40 days of Lenten fast (six weeks). Meanwhile, there are plenty of other community groups, such as the local Disabled American Veterans, hosting their own Lenten fish fries.

Some start the Friday before Ash Wednesday. Most begin after Ash Wednesday formally initiates the Lenten season. Some conclude after only a few weeks; others continue for the entire duration of the Lenten fast, including Good Friday two days before Easter.

Not all of them are bacchanals, with children running wild while parents and young adults socialize. A few are alcohol-free. But all are genuine family-friendly celebrations of community.

Expect to spend a few hours standing and waiting in line at Omaha’s most-popular fish fries. The long wait—and the chance to meet new friends while drinking beer—is sometimes the most fun part of the evening.

Omaha Magazine has compiled a list of six must-try fish fries for every week during Lent. But the list is hardly exhaustive. Other excellent fish fries are plentiful in the Omaha area. For those in a hurry, seeking out lesser-known gatherings might even save on the wait time. Or you might just discover a new Lenten favorite.

HOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

2901 Fontenelle Blvd., Omaha, NE 68104 . 402.451.6622 . holynameomaha.org

Omaha’s oldest Lenten fish fry event, the Holy Name “Fryday” is famous for its jam-packed line, fried Alaskan pollock, french fries, coleslaw, and Rotella’s bread. The BYOB line makes the event especially unique for the 21-and-over crowd. Those arriving at 6 p.m. can expect to find a line stretching out the church, through the adjacent Holy Name Elementary School, and circling around the building. A wait time of three hours is not unusual. The initiated come prepared with coolers full of beer to sustain drinking through the long wait. Upon entering the main building, a free cup of beer is offered. Another free cup of beer is offered if there’s a line out the cafeteria. More beer is sold inside the cafeteria, and a storeroom accommodates winter coats and coolers. Nebraska politicians are known to make appearances at the event, which averages an attendance of 2,300 people per night. Fridays (5-8 p.m.), February 24 (pre-Lenten) to April 7

MARY OUR QUEEN CATHOLIC CHURCH (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

3405 S. 118th St., Omaha, NE 68144 . 402.333.8662 . maryourqueenchurch.com

A packed line meanders through the halls of Mary Our Queen School, where intermittent refreshment tables allow visitors to replenish their beer pitchers/cups in one of Omaha’s most-popular Lenten fish fries. Young volunteers walk up and down the school’s hallway to collect emptied pitchers. Popcorn is available in the line near the cafeteria. A drive-through allows motorists to avoid the packed halls. Food options include: fried or baked fish, macaroni and cheese, spudsters, fries, coleslaw, bread, with assorted soft drinks and desserts also available for sale. Fridays (5-8 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH OF ELKHORN (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

20500 West Maple Road, Elkhorn, NE 68022 . 402.289.4289 . stpatselkhorn.org

The fish fry at St. Patrick’s features fried or baked catfish and/or pollock. Margaritas and a variety of beers offer a change of pace from the adult beverages typically available at area fish fries. Cheese pizza, fries, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and dessert round out the available food options. There’s a drive-through, and there are clowns and face-painting for the kids inside. Fridays (5-9:30 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH

14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha, NE 68164 . 402.496.7988 . svdpomaha.org

A cheerful and welcoming atmosphere radiates from the jam-packed line snaking through the halls of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School. The event features $3 cups, $8 bottles of wine, and $8 pitchers of Boulevard, Lucky Bucket, or Bud Light beer. For those seeking better quality beer on the cheap, St. Vincent de Paul’s fish fry is an excellent choice. Food options include fried or baked fish, cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and fries or baked potato, with assorted soft drinks and desserts also available for sale. Credit cards accepted. Fridays (5:30-8:30 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. JOHN’S GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

602 Park Ave., Omaha, NE 68105 . 402.345.7103 . stjohnsgreekorthodox.org

Alcohol is not sold at the event; however, St. John’s offers possibly the most delicious food available at any Omaha area Lenten fish fry. The church also offers historic tours of its Byzantine-style building from 5:30-6:30 p.m. A kitchen full of volunteers (some of whom grew up in Greece and migrated to the United States) cook and serve plaki—a Greek baked cod with Mediterranean sauce. Also available: panko-fried cod, breaded-fried shrimp, baked salmon, and vegetable moussaka (an eggplant lasagna), spanakopita (a pie filled with spinach and feta cheese), and piropita (cheese baked in phyllo dough). Specialty cheesecakes and baklava sundaes await at the dessert bar. Fridays (4:30 to 8 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

HOLY GHOST CATHOLIC CHURCH

5219 S. 53rd St., Omaha, NE 68117 . 402.731.3176 . holyghostomaha.com

Clam chowder is one of the unique offerings at Holy Ghost Parish’s annual Lenten fish fry. The varied menu offers: shrimp, baked or fried cod, macaroni and cheese, or a combo dinner. Each dinner comes with baked potato, salad, fruit bar, and a drink. Beer, margaritas, and “watermelons” (a mixed drink) are sold. While the line is long, the wait is neither the longest nor the most beer-soaked in town. Expedited takeout service is available at the west end of the church. Fridays (4-8 p.m.), February 24 (pre-Lenten) to April 7.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Omaha Magazine Wins 2015 Great Plains Journalism Award

April 14, 2015 by

Photo above: Director of Photography Bill Sitzmann, Creative Director John Gawley, Managing Editor Robert Nelson, and Senior Graphic Designer Kristen Hoffman with our award-winning cover at the 2015 Great Plains Journalism Awards ceremony in Tulsa, Okla.

Omaha Magazine won best magazine cover at the prestigious 2015 Great Plains Journalism Awards, one of five categories in which the magazine was named among three finalists.

The Great Plains Journalism Awards annually recognize the best newspaper and magazine journalism in an eight-state region comprising of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The awards were presented during a luncheon April 13 at The Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, Okla.

Omaha Magazine won the top award in the Magazine Cover category for the January/February 2014 Best of Omaha issue, executed by Creative Director John Gawley, then-Junior Graphic Designer Paul Lukes, and Ben Lueders of Fruitful Design.

We received two of the three finalist slots in the Magazine Cover category. Gawley and Director of Photography Bill Sitzmann were nominated for our November/December 2014 cover featuring local radio legend Otis XII in a story written by Managing Editor Robert Nelson.

Nelson himself was a finalist in the Magazine Profile Writing category for his July/August 2014 cover story on then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and again in the Magazine Column Writing category for his September/October 2014 “The Closer” column, titled “Slogan Explosion.”

Sitzmann was recognized for his portrait of Jeff Toma accompanying the story “The Handyman Diaries” in the January/February 2014 issue of Omaha Home. That story was written by Executive Editor David Williams.

Mike Lang and Corey Hart of Spectral Chemist were recognized for their video supporting our September/October 2014 story “Cricket: The Grandfather of Baseball is Making a Comeback in Omaha,” written by Robyn Murray.

“I am proud of our talented staff and we are honored to tell the stories of the people of Omaha,” Omaha Magazine Publisher Todd Lemke says. “It’s great to be recognized by our peers as being right up there with the best of the best in an eight-state regional competition where Omaha Magazine was the only Nebraska magazine recognized as a finalist—let alone a winner. We also congratulate the Omaha World-Herald for their strong showing at the awards.”

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Best of Omaha Festival

December 1, 2014 by
Celebrate all that Omaha has to offer with Omaha Magazine’s annual Best of Omaha Festival  from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Baxter Arena.
Come check out the top voted businesses, chosen by you, the public. With eight different categories: nightlife, family, dining, household, health and beauty, retail, services, and transportation there is something for everyone.
We believe that with our wonderful sponsors and exciting NEW non-profit partner (4-H youth development program of Douglas and Sarpy counties), this festival will be the best one yet!
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the paid door cash revenue will go directly to the Douglas-Sarpy 4-H Club.* Come out and support your local 4-H club, while listening to live entertainment and trying out delicious food and beverage samples. You won’t want to miss this!
*Excludes VIP and Complimentary tickets.
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