Tag Archives: Countryside Village

Pick Your Poison

August 23, 2018 by
Photography by Todd Ashmore, Kathy Rae Photography (provided) and contributed

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, August 25: Like quick road trips? Like books? Maybe even enough that you would like to write one? Then you won’t want to miss the Nebraska Book Festival this weekend in Lincoln. You can catch appearances by authors, workshops, book signings, exhibitors, poetry readings, and family activities. Best of all, you can commiserate with like-minded, book-loving fools about the loss of appreciation for physical, paper books and the enticing smell they emit. Plus, you can swing by the Omaha Publications booth to pick up our latest issues. Read more about it here. (You know you want to.)

Thursday, August 23rd to Saturday, August 25Fashionistas, unite! Omaha Fashion Week started on Monday, but things really get rolling tonight with the Harmony: Featured Designer Showcase. On Friday, you can catch the Movement: Featured Designer Showcase, with the VIP Runway Finale blowing things up on Saturday night. Be sure to arrive fashionably early to these events for the Pretty in Patina pre-parties. Be sure to check out this Encounter story on tonight’s ethereal headliner, AD Delgado. Learn more about this weekend’s schedule and get your tickets for Omaha’s most fashionable affair here.

Saturday, August 25Wondering what to do with that six-pack of Natty Ice your friend left in your fridge? Don’t wait for desperate times. Instead, bring it in for Brickway’s Fourth Annual Beer Amnesty Week. Bring in your swill, and they will replace it with a six-pack of their own flavorful brews for only $1. The week culminates in a fourth annual Slip & Slide Celebration at Sumtur Amphitheater where there will also be giant Jenga, live music, food, and of course, beer. A showing of Back to the Future Part III will happen once the sun goes down on the DeLorean. (And yes, there will be a DeLorean. No, you can’t drive it.) Learn more here.

Saturday, August 25Tired of the usual brunch regime? Check out theAugust Cars & Caffeine show this Saturday at Countryside Village. This is a monthly event from April through October, put on by Countryside Cars and Caffeine on the last Saturday of the month from 8-10 a.m. It’s a good reason to knock the dust off that classic beauty or to show off your new, high-end honey. Find out more here.

Sunday, August 26Get to HutchFEST’s third annual Maker’s Fair this Sunday for all the handmade goods you could want. With over 250 vendors showing off their wares in NoDo, you are sure to find that one thing to tie that room together—or that one thing you didn’t even know you needed until you saw it. Worried this will interfere with your Sunday funday plans? Don’t. There will be beer gardens and bloody mary/mimosa stations throughout, plus brunch-style food trucks on hand to feed your cravings. Throw in live music, lawn games, some swag, and the fact that this event benefits local non-profit New North Makerhood, and there’s really no better way to spend your last day of the weekend. Purchase your tickets (for only $5) here.

May the Swartz Be With You

March 2, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

After being offered a third helping of matzo ball soup, Marilyn Monroe once famously quipped, “Isn’t there any other part of the matzo you can eat?” While the classic Jewish soup may not be everyone’s thing, when it’s done right—like it is at Swartz’s Delicatessen & Bagels in Omaha—it’s hard to turn down. I’d happily eat a bowl of the restaurant’s matzo ball soup any day.

Swartz’s house-made matzo balls (round, bread-like dumplings) have just the right texture: not too dense, not too soft. The broth is just as good. It gets its deep, savory flavor from a whole chicken boiled with carrots, onions, and celery. The mixture is strained, leaving a clear, aromatic broth that’s light yet flavorful. It’s that extra effort, along with quality ingredients and time-honored recipes, that makes the dish a menu highlight.

Swartz’s Delicatessen owner Shervin Ansari calls the soup “Jewish penicillin” for its ability to cure whatever ails you. Since opening in fall 2016, the restaurant has become a popular spot to savor not only soup—in addition to matzo ball, there’s chicken noodle and chicken with rice—but other Jewish deli staples such as pastrami on rye, bagels with cream cheese and lox, potato latkes, knishes, and more.

Ansari grew up in Maryland, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and later owned a deli on the East Coast. He moved to Omaha and spent 15 years working as an executive at Kiewit Corp. After noticing a lack of traditional Jewish deli fare in the city, he opened his own place in Countryside Village at 87th and Pacific streets. Business is strong, and the restaurant is already slated to expand. Ansari plans to open two additional locations in Dundee and Aksarben Village by late 2018/early 2019.

In true Jewish deli fashion, the menu includes heaping sandwiches stuffed with corned beef, pastrami, and other meats prepared in-house. Most are offered in three sizes: JV (small), regular, and piled high. Highlights include corned beef on rye that, when ordered Reubenized, comes grilled with tangy kraut, melted Swiss, and a slathering of sauce. Also good is the pastrami sandwich with chopped liver: a generous stack of lean, thinly sliced pastrami and a rich, smooth spread made with beef and chicken liver.

The deli uses fresh bread from Rotella’s Italian Bakery in Omaha (except the light rye, which is imported from back East). Bagels are shipped from New York and then baked in-house. Deli salads, including egg, tuna, chicken, and whitefish, are made fresh each day. Meat sourced from Nebraska and Iowa farms is cured, smoked, and cooked in-house. “There’s no preservatives, no nitrates,” Ansari says. “It really makes a big difference.”

Avocado burger with side of coleslaw and pickles

Prices are higher than a typical sandwich shop, but portions are generous, and the food is made in small batches using fresh ingredients, Ansari says. Guests order and pay at the counter, and there are a few stools with a view of the kitchen. The dining area is stylish and inviting, with black-and-white flooring, globe light fixtures, subway tile, spacious booths, and tables with French-style bistro chairs.

Like many Jewish delis, Swartz’s isn’t fully kosher but does offer some kosher items. Customers can order kosher sandwiches, which the staff prepare using designated cutting boards and separate knives. The kitchen knows its way around Jewish comfort food classics such as potato latkes and sweet noodle kugel. And there are modern touches, too, including more healthful options, brunch specialties, and online ordering.

The deli case up front is loaded with brisket, lox (cured salmon), potato and spinach knishes, assorted salads, and other specialties. But save room for dessert. A big slice of carrot cake—ultra-moist layers full of warm spices, nuts, and cream cheese frosting—is the perfect sweet finish.

Visit swartzsdeli.com for more information.

Western Omelet (with onions, green peppers, brisket, and tomatoes), with a side of hashbrowns and toast

This article was printed in the March/April 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

The Divine She.la

May 10, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“I’m divinely happy where I am,” She.la owner Sheila Christ says of her store’s new location. In fact, you could almost say her choice of location for her women’s and children’s apparel business, in the Sterling Ridge development near 132nd and Pacific streets, was “divinely” inspired; Christ was attending a memorial service at nearby Temple Israel when she was struck with the realization that she had finally found the perfect site—after a year of searching—for relocation.

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“I looked around and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, the light out here is magical,’” she says. “It turned out to be a beautiful fit for us. We knew our lease was up and we had been looking at all kinds of options including the purchase of our own building, and we just couldn’t find the right size and the right corridor of the city…long story short, I come out here after looking and looking and looking and struck a deal with the Lockwood Development people within about 36 hours. It was very quick.”

So, in November, after 18 years (and two remodels) at Countryside Village, She.la moved three-and-a-half miles directly west into its new 4,000-plus square-feet location. Excited to have the opportunity to start with a vanilla shell for the first time, Christ worked with Eddy Santamaria of Contrivium Design + Urbanism to design the new space. Santamaria, who Christ calls a “visionary,” had served as Christ’s architect for several residential projects and the last remodel for the former She.la.

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“He ‘gets’ us,” Christ says. “His architectural eye will weigh in and make you think outside of what (you think) is possible…If the architecture will allow for it and the pocketbook will afford it, anything is possible.”

The former location encompassed two floors, and Christ says having all operations on one level ensures all employees feel connected. The new She.la also boasts a flexible space including a kitchenette, which was first put to the test with a successful trunk show in January. And the sky’s the limit for potential events; Christ is considering everything from wine tastings to meditation seminars to hands-on art demonstrations for children.

“It’s a space that allows for complete intimacy but you’re able to have a connected event happening,” Christ says.

Moving after 18 years was an inspiration to streamline, Christ says, and the new store has an upscale, spacious feel. It retains, however, some longstanding features familiar to established patrons, including its signature shade of orange. A careful selection of lighting elements and major fixtures were transferred or replicated. New décor was incorporated, including creations by local Hot Shops artisans like fabric art from Kris Khan, metalworks from Chris Kemp and glass art by Valerie Spellman Batt. With both northern and southern exposure, the space is filled with natural light that showcases both environment and merchandise.

“It’s high-style but it has warmth. That was important to me,” Christ said. “And it’s an absolutely unbelievable space to work in.”

It sounds magical.

Visit shopshela.com for more information.

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On the Move

April 10, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Originally Published in March/April/May 2015 B2B.

This isn’t the first time the owners of The Bookworm have done this whole move thing. Beth and Phil Black have owned the independent bookstore for nearly 30 years and last fall they moved into their third location, anchoring the new Loveland Centre at 90th Street and West Center Road.

It’s a move the couple felt necessary for the future of the store.

Since the recession, the climate for brick and mortar booksellers, like many other industries, has been less than kind. Yet The Bookworm, which opened at Regency Court in 1986 and then moved to Countryside Village in 1999, continues to serve a faithful reading public.

“We’ve got loyal customers,” says Beth Black. “Omaha supports local. Omaha is incredible in how it gets behind local businesses. And we’ve got wonderful workers here who really love books. Who want to put the right book into people’s hands.”

“We are noticing more young families coming in and it’s a better layout—everything on one level,” Black says. “The expansion is good. There are a lot more people saying it’s easier to get here and we are seeing more people from Council Bluffs, Papillion, and Ralston. It’s been a good move.”

The layout is different, and the wide-open look has led some people to think the store is a new business. A lot of the “coziness” of the old Countryside Village location was out of necessity due to cramped spaces. For some customers, the change has taken some getting used to, Black says.

“We went through the same things when we moved from Regency,” she says. “It’s just different—it’s a change. Our customers take ownership in the store. It’s their store. The physical store has changed, but nothing else. We’ll hear moms come in and say, ‘See they still have cookies’ and, ‘Look. Carl the dog is still here.’”

Several recent trips to The Bookworm, both during the week and on weekend days, saw a good number of browsers, very similar to typical traffic at the old Countryside Village location. Black says another thing the store has going in its favor is the support of the city. Omaha, she says, doesn’t just shop local; it’s also a very intelligent city.

“People read here,” she says. “Even people with all their electronic devices they still like a book. And whenever there is an event in Omaha people call us to sell books.”

Black says The Bookworm will be selling books at the Holland Lecture Series for the upcoming appearance of activist and author Angela Davis on March 4. The Bookworm is involved every year in the Berkshire Hathaway weekend.

“Everyone wants to know what Warren and Charlie are reading,” she says. “They both are big readers and promote reading.”

Black says she’s sure this is the final move for The Bookworm. She says that the staff looks forward to being a part of Omaha for a long time to come.

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Fashion: A Sophisticated Tune-Up

July 22, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Model Joanna Kingsbury of Omaha shows off beautiful summer styles from Gramercy in Countryside Village, Garment District in The Shops of Legacy, and The Mix in Countryside Village. Hair by Kali Rahder of Sirens at the Loft. Makeup by Chevy Kozisek of Sirens at the Loft. Special thanks to Ben McDonnell for providing the Honda S2000.


Photo 1: Corey “Cara” Shift Dress ($182) and NYC Jewelry Bracelets ($30-38) and Earrings ($38) from Gramercy, 8711 Countryside Plz. 
Stuart Weitzman “Glossy” Pump ($435) from The Mix, 11740 Stonegate Cir.

Photo 2: Rory Beca Roller Top ($136) and James Jeans “Twiggy” Jeans ($160) from Garment District, 16939 Wright Plz. #123. Sam Edelman “Opal” Heel ($125) from The Mix, 11740 Stonegate Cir

Photo 3: Parker “Lila Dress” ($238), Belgo Lux Ladies Belt ($25), and NYC Jewelry Chain Link Necklace ($38) from Gramercy, 8711 Countryside Plz.

Jo Anderson

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Jo Anderson adores Midlands art, and she loves showcasing the talent of those who create it.

Anderson is founder and owner of Anderson O’Brien Fine Art, an upscale art dealer and gallery that has been a fixture of Countryside Village at 87th and Pacific streets for more than three decades. Two years ago, she opened a second location in Omaha’s Old Market.

“I always had my eye on it,” Anderson says of the space at 1108 Jackson St., which housed Jackson Artworks for nearly 18 years. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a gallery downtown and have a broader audience?”

When the owners of Jackson Artworks announced they were closing, Anderson stepped in and took over the space in summer 2010. It’s since become one of downtown’s leading galleries.

The gallery in the Old Market has a different energy, audience, and atmosphere than the one in Countryside Village, says Anderson. Housed in a former warehouse, the downtown space is sleek and contemporary with white walls, exposed ductwork, concrete floors, and an open, airy feel. It’s also larger, so viewers have more room to get further back from the work and admire each piece fully, whether it’s an oil painting or sculpture.

Anderson’s gallery represents about 60 artists from Nebraska and surrounding states. Many are professional artists and art educators from area universities and colleges. Anderson says she prefers to represent established artists rather than up-and-coming talent.

“We have a consistency of work that is solid,” she says.

“Every day is different. It’s very rewarding. It’s just a great life.”

Keeping the number at a manageable 60 allows Anderson and her staff to give artists the time, attention, and resources they need. She takes great joy from being around art all day. “You’re dealing in beauty,” she says.

Anderson’s love of art goes back to childhood. She often accompanied her physician father to Indian reservations, where he treated patients. The visits sparked an interest in ethnographic art. Years later, Anderson opened the Plains Gallery at 78th and West Dodge Road, which she operated for more than a decade before selling it.

She then opened a poster gallery/frame shop near 76th and Pacific streets with business partner Sharon O’Brien. They didn’t have enough money to invest in original art, so they sold poster art.

In the early 1980s, the duo launched Anderson O’Brien Gallery in Countryside Village. They started out slow by representing a few artists, building clients, and upgrading their art collection. By the early ‘90s, O’Brien had gone on to pursue other ventures, leaving Anderson as sole owner.

As gallery owner, she has a variety of responsibilities. She meets with artists to discuss details of current and future exhibits, including determining how many pieces to feature and choosing an image for the event invitation. Other duties include handling bookwork, waiting on customers, and scheduling delivery and pick-up of artwork.

The gallery sells artwork to a mix of customers, from businesses to private collectors. It offers shipping, framing, hanging, appraisals, and other services. Anderson also works with interior designers and architects to place art in homes, offices, and other spaces.

“Every day is different,” she says. “It’s very rewarding. It’s just a great life.”

For more information on the gallery, its artists, and upcoming shows, visit aobfineart.com.