Tag Archives: Instagram

September/October 2018 Instagram

August 23, 2018 by

Here are the nine images featured in our September/October issue. Click on the photos to view the contributors’ Instagram accounts. Include the hashtag #OmahaMagazine with your Instagram photos to be featured in the next issue of Omaha Magazine.

Follow Omaha Magazine on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Find us at @omahamagazine.

@_jules_photoshots_

@bartyandlalo

@ben271

@cooper_333

@huskertiara

@ian_ziegler_photography

@patriciayocum_

@sarxcasey

@wanderrockphotography


This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Fashion Nomad

August 19, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In the fashion world, often known for inflated egos and shameless self-promotion, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is in it for money and fame. 

Up-and-coming local fashion designer Paige Modlin isn’t buying into those ideals. And, like her clothing, it’s downright refreshing. 

In person, her demeanor is quiet. She is hesitant when speaking about herself and her sentences occasionally trail off. One look at her social media tells a different story, though. When modeling her own clothing or just hanging out with friends, her confidence in herself and her personal style is clear. 

Her style, by the way, is very street. She says she likes to focus on shape and silhouette, though color clearly plays a key role in her designs. But most importantly, she likes to make clothes that people feel comfortable in, no matter their gender. “I definitely design clothes for men and women, but that either gender could wear.” 

She adds that her personal style is “sort of all over the place.” One day, she might be feeling the sporty look, the next she may want to do super preppy. Or maybe she’s just feeling a certain color. 

“I was trying to wear all pink today, but I didn’t really have the jacket for it.”

Modlin says she got interested in fashion as a sophomore at Westside High School, from which she graduated last year. She says it’s “crazy how good the program is” there.

She says she was already interested in clothing and shopping, so she decided she “might as well try” making her own. 

Her mother, Pam Modlin, says Paige is the artsy one out of her five children. She was the one who liked to draw or wanted to play the flute. However, “It wasn’t until high school when she started sewing that she really blossomed on the art scene.”

“I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist, but ever since I started making clothes, I was over painting,” says the 19-year-old Modlin. 

She says she finds inspiration everywhere. For her clothing designs, she especially enjoys searching thrift shops, which she visits at least once a day. And of course, “definitely the internet,” specifically Instagram, where she tends to follow others interested in vintage clothing.  At first it may be difficult to see where that vintage inspiration is represented in her designs, but she says it’s usually in the color palette. “I like the bright, retro jumpsuits.”

Modlin says one of her favorite creators is Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons, which makes sense once you’ve peeped his classic yet contemporary designs. While they both emphasize the structure of a piece, Modlin’s clothing is definitely more colorful. That bit of inspiration stems from her affection for Japanese streetwear and designer Takashi Murakami. 

Her love of fashion also drives her to travel. She recently visited her father in Mexico, and before that she travelled to Europe to “self-study” fashion. She was in France and Italy during fashion week, though she didn’t get to attend the actual shows. But she says she found the street art very inspiring, although she did think the lack of color was odd. 

“All the young kids were wearing black or neutral colors, and I was wearing these bright colors. I stood out so much,” she says. “I have this picture [taken] in Rome of me wearing one of the shirts I made and everyone in the background is wearing a black coat…like I’m some crazy girl.” She adds that the people in Amsterdam were more relatable and “way nicer.” 

Next up on her travel list is Japan. “Streetwear is very big in Japan, and that’s where a lot of my inspo comes from.”

When it comes to the future, Modlin says she will continue to study fashion, and she plans on taking classes at Metropolitan Community College. “They have a lot of fun classes there,” she says. Besides fashion design, she also really enjoys photography. Graphic design is another medium she would like to get into more. Plus, she adds, it would be a good skill to have to fall back on. Not that she plans on falling. 

“I want to be able to make my own brand and sell it, and graphic design would definitely fit in with that.” But for now, where she’ll end up is a mystery. “I don’t know,” she says. “I never know!”


This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Encounter. 

See more on the designer’s instagram instagram/@__unknown.jpg

July/August 2018 Instagram

August 13, 2018 by

Here are the nine images featured in our July/August issue. Click on the photos to view the contributors’ Instagram accounts. Include the hashtag #OmahaMagazine with your Instagram photos to be featured in the next issue of Omaha Magazine.

Follow Omaha Magazine on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Find us at @omahamagazine.

@aureum.vitae

@alisontoppphotography

@boipinoy

@eternal_and_unchanging

@huskertiara

@jfnlife

@kdkader

@sherry_591

@wanderrockphotography


#OmahaMunchMadness 2018

July 6, 2018 by and
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

For the main feature article (read it here) in Omaha Magazine’s July/August issue, we determined there are 49 zip codes in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. 

We worked with a freelance food writer and a team of foodie-influencers on Instagram to assemble a list of one dish for every zip code.

Once we compiled the list, writer Sara Locke, editors, and the Instagrammers collaborated on narrowing the list down to the 32 most popular dishes in the zip code guide. 

Why did we narrow the field to 32?

Because it is time for Munch Madness! 

Munch Madness is Omaha Magazine’s take on March Madness (but with dishes representing zip codes). And instead of one month, this contest will span July and August.

We will announce the date pairings in this initial Round of 32 zip code picks at our July/August magazine launch at the Florence Mill on July 8. Zip codes will be randomly paired for the Round of 32. The subsequent round of Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship will be determined by polls on Facebook.

Come back to this page for updates on the bracket and times. We will update the bracket as Munch Madness progresses. Each pairing will have 24 hours before a winner is declared.

Voting will take place on Facebook at @OmahaMagazine. We will tag each poll with the hashtag #OmahaMunchMadness to make the polls easier to find on Facebook.

Do you disagree with our team’s selections for each zip code? If you disagree with any zip code picks, let us know on Instagram at @OmahaMagazine by following these steps; we will repost your alternate zip code pick to spread the love:

  • Upload a photo of the dish you think is more worthy to Instagram.
  • Check in at the restaurant.
  • Write the name of the dish along with the hashtag #OmahaMunchMadness in the caption of the Instagram post.
  • Tag us at @OmahaMagazine

Most of all, we hope Munch Madness makes you hungry. Whether you agree or disagree with our zip code picks, don’t forget to vote in the Best of Omaha contest here: http://omahamagazine.com/best-of-omaha/.

Updates

Round of 32

July 9th
Azteca Burrito Supreme (68138) vs. Crispy Mushroom Sandwich (68028)
WINNER: Azteca Burrito Supreme (68138)

July 10th
Bolognese Bianco (68132) vs. Whole Catfish Dinner (68110)
WINNER: Bolognese Bianco (68132)

July 11
Oven-Fried Chicken (68111) vs. Hummus with Beef Shawarma (68114)
WINNER: Oven-Fried Chicken (68111)

July 12
Stuffed Eggplant Papoutsakia (68134) vs. Barbacoa Short Ribs (68106)
WINNER: Barbacoa Short Ribs (68106)

July 13
Negi Hamachi Roll (68164) vs. The Mia (68118)
WINNER: Negi Hamachi Roll (68164)

July 15
Pan-Seared Salmon (68046) vs. Pizza Rosso (68122)
WINNER: Pizza Rosso (68122)

July 16
Beef Bulgogi (68127) vs. Diavolo (68131)
WINNER: Diavolo (68131)

July 17
Thai Salmon Salad (68154) vs. Omakase (68005)
WINNER: Omakase (68005)

July 18
Wings with Habanero Sauce (68007) vs. Chicken Tikka Madras (68144)
WINNER: Chicken Tikka Madras (68144)

July 19
Classic Gyro (68130) vs. Flaming Saganaki (68105)
WINNER: Flaming Saganaki (68105)

July 20
Tonkotsu Ramen (68104) vs. Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124)
WINNER: Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124)

July 23
Croque Garcon Burger (68102) vs. Menudo (68107)
WINNER: Croque Garcon Burger (68102)

July 24
Tacos (51510) vs. Fried Ice Cream (68069)
WINNER: Fried Ice Cream (68069)

July 25
Pop Tarts (68135) vs. Country Sunrise (68137)
WINNER: Country Sunrise (68137)

July 26
Prime Rib (51526) vs. Egg Yolk Raviolo (68108)
WINNER: Prime Rib (51526)

July 27
Lust (68123) vs. Vermicelli Rice Noodles (68136)
WINNER: Vermicelli Rice Noodles (68136)

Sweet Sixteen

July 31
Azteca Burrito Supreme (68138) vs Bolognese Bianco (68132)
WINNER: Bolognese Bianco (68132)

August 1
Oven-Fried Chicken (68111) vs. Barbacoa Short Ribs (68106)
WINNER: Oven-Fried Chicken (68111)

August 2
Negi Hamachi Roll (68164) vs. Pizza Rosso (68122)
WINNER: Pizza Rosso (68122)

August 3
Beef Bulgogi (68127) vs. Omakase (68005)
WINNER: Beef Bulgogi (68127)

August 7
Chicken Tikka Madras (68144) vs. Flaming Saganaki (68105)
WINNER: Chicken Tikka Madras (68144)

August 8
Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124) vs. Croque Garcon Burger (68102)
WINNER: Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124)

August 9
Fried Ice Cream (68069) vs. Country Sunrise (68137)
WINNER: Country Sunrise (68137)

August 10
Prime Rib (51526) vs. Vermicelli Rice Noodle Bowl (68136)
WINNER: Prime Rib (51526)

Elite Eight

August 14
Bolognese Bianco (68132) vs. Oven-Fried Chicken (68111)
WINNER: Bolognese Bianco (68132)

August 15
Pizza Rosso (68122) vs. Beef Bulgogi (68127)
WINNER: Pizza Rosso (68122)

August 16
Chicken Tikka Madras (68144) vs. Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124)
WINNER: Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124)

August 17
Prime Rib (51526) vs. Country Sunrise (68137)
WINNER: Prime Rib (51526)

Final Four

August 20
Bolognese Bianco (68132) vs. Pizza Rosso (68122)
WINNER: Pizza Rosso (68122)

August 21
Whiskey Steak Sirloin (68124) vs. Prime Rib (51526)
WINNER: Prime Rib (51526)

The Pick of the Zip

June 29, 2018 by
Photography by William Hess

Omaha has been named one of America’s “Best Cities for Foodies,” yet we often find ourselves in a self-imposed rut by heading to the same diners for breakfast, the same cafes for lunch, and the same restaurants for dinner.

It’s time to break the cycle and explore outside our daily routines. Whether you’re looking to find a new lunch place near your work, or if you’re planning date night logistics around soccer games and play rehearsals, we’ve developed a list of must-try dish picks for every zip code in the Omaha area (one dish per zip).

Along with zip codes in Omaha city limits, we expanded coverage to incorporate outlying areas (with the Platte River as our western and southern boundary). We also included three Iowa zip codes for a more complete presentation of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro. Zip codes are arranged numerically in order.

We couldn’t do this on our own, so we reached out to some of Omaha’s leading food Instagrammers. These foodies know a thing or two about a beautiful meal. We sent them a list of the Omaha metro’s zip codes, and they replied with their dish picks. I curated excerpts from their contributed lists—supplemented by a few picks of my own—to complete this guide. 

Bon appetit!


Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area Zip Codes


Meet Our Instagram Foodie Consultants

@OOOOmaha_Eats (Heba Abdel-Rahim)

I started @OOOOmaha_Eats because when I lived in Austin, Texas, I always kept up-to-date with hip, new food joints through foodies’ Instagram accounts. When I moved to Omaha, I wanted to try new places and explore Omaha. I thought, ‘What better way to do so than through food?’ I already was taking pictures of all the new places I was trying, so I started my own foodie account.

@EatOurWorld (Margaret Davenport and Levi Campbell)

Our Instagram account, @EatOurWorld, is a shared endeavor. It began a few years ago when Levi had to design a website for a class and asked Margaret for help. We knew we wanted to do something food-related, so we decided to focus on local dishes, farmers, and products that make any region that we are visiting really stand out. There’s so much good food in Nebraska that has been made or produced here; some of our local dishes are just as good, if not better, than dishes you may find in the world’s leading food tourism destinations. Although we are primarily focused on Lincoln, we also frequent Omaha for dinner excursions.

@TheWalkingTourists (Tim and Lisa Trudell)

Our goal with @TheWalkingTourists Instagram account is to highlight and showcase the sights, eats, and fascinating activities from explorations of our backyard in Omaha and beyond. We hope to inspire people to get out and find new adventures. Together we wrote the book 100 Things to do in Omaha Before You Die, which is available for sale online and in local bookstores. We are also working on another book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha, scheduled for spring 2019 release.

@OmahaEat (Yuko Dobashi)

I started my Instagram account to practice food photography and share my recipes and restaurant reviews in Omaha. Posting photos and interacting with other foodies gives me motivation to keep learning about my camera and Photoshop. My goal is to have more photos and recipes published.

@Omaha.Feast (Meredith George)

Instagram has been such a fun way to continue exploring Omaha and connect with friends and family—people love to talk about food and what their favorite places are. Running a “foodstagram” has helped me expand my tastes and push me outside my comfort zone. It’s also encouraged me to #eatlocal and continue to prioritize our awesome local restaurants and chefs.

@FoodOmaha402 (Neal Bierman)

I have loved going out to eat at local restaurants in Omaha ever since my parents started taking me out with them in the ’90s. I want to show Omahans, people in town for business, or folks vacationing in the Big O that there are so many amazing restaurants here. I truly admire and respect all the local restaurant owners, the risk and hard work they put in to start a restaurant, and the staff who make the dining experience so enjoyable. People in Omaha love going out to eat for entertainment, and I want to showcase that through Instagram.


Zip: 51501

Specializing in deep-fried catfish, carp, and Alaskan “walleye” (pollock), Council Bluffs’ Mo Fish (2403 Nash Blvd.) dips customers’ taste buds in an array of fried-fish flavors. Throughout the establishment, fish nets, fish replicas, and other fishy decorations hang from the walls and ceiling. Carpe diem with the carp dinner, which comes with toasted bread and two homemade sides: fries, coleslaw, or baked beans.  

  • Dish pick: carp dinner at Mo Fish
  • Price: $11.95
  • Website: mofishcafe.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Top of page

Zip: 51503

Barley’s (114 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs) offers a broad menu and generous portions of upscale pub food. The Chicken Hawk Sandwich is a big bite: lightly breaded, fried chicken breast topped with ranch dressing, bacon, and Swiss cheese, served with a side of fries. Our foodie consultant declared, “Chick-fil-A had better watch out!”

  • Dish pick: Chicken Hawk Sandwich at Barley’s 
  • Price: $9
  • Website: barleysbar.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Top of page

Zip: 51510

Tacos at Jonesy’s are a local Tex-Mex classic. They aren’t fancy (with their fried shells and processed American cheese), but they are humongous, tasty, and filling. Fans of Jonesy’s can get their fix at four area locations. Two brothers started the restaurant with locations in Aksarben and Council Bluffs; their children expanded the franchise with additional locations in Carter Lake and Council Bluffs. The Carter Lake location (1116 Locust St.) is an offshoot of the Aksarben branch, and it features more American dishes than available at the parent location.

  • Dish pick: tacos at Jonesy’s Taco House Carter Lake
  • Price: $3 (beef or chicken), $3.25 (fish), $3.75 (steak tacos), $2 (beef and chicken) during weekly Taco Tuesdays
  • Facebook: Jonesys Taco House Carter Lake
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Top of page

Zip: 51526

For more than 25 years, Pink Poodle Steakhouse (633 Old Lincoln Highway in Crescent, Iowa) has served sock-hop nostalgia with delicious fare. It was a throwback even when it first opened. Nowadays, not much has changed at the Pink Poodle (including the onion rings, décor, and friendly service). All dinners are served with soup and salad, and come in hearty servings with a poodle…er…doggie…bag that is almost guaranteed to be going home with you.

  • Dish pick: prime rib at Pink Poodle Steakhouse
  • Price: $25 (12-oz. regular cut), $35 (cut-and-a-half), $48 (Diamond Jim cut)
  • Website: pinkpoodlesteakhouse.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Top of page

Zip: 68005

In Japanese, “omakase,” translates to “I’ll leave it up to you.” Although pricey, the meal selection is worth considering at any renowned sushi restaurant—especially when the chef is Keen Zheng, who spent roughly 13 years training and working alongside several of the world’s top sushi chefs at Michelin-starred eateries in New York City. Before moving to Bellevue, Zheng worked under Daisuke Nakazawa (head apprentice of Jiro Ono, featured in the Netflix documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Make the reservation a day in advance for the dining experience at Zheng’s Umami (1504 Galvin Road S.), sit at the sushi bar to watch the master at work, and enjoy. Presentations and fish selection varies. The meal may consist of several dishes of individually presented delicacies.   

  • Dish pick: omakase at Umami 
  • Price: $75-$100 per person
  • Website: umamiasianne.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Top of page

Zip: 68007 

If you’re visiting Bennington, roughly 10 miles outside of Omaha’s city limits, you’ll find there are only six or so options for dining. This includes fast food. So where should you dine in Bennington? The short answer is The Warehouse (15835 Center West Hadan Drive), which is known for their friendly service, late hours (they’re open until 11 p.m. or later), and wing sauces. 

  • Dish pick: wings with mango habanero sauce at The Warehouse
  • Price: $6.95 (six wings), $13.25 (12 wings), $24.75 (24 wings)
  • Website: benningtonwarehouse.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Top of page

Zip: 68010

The Visitor’s Center Café at Boys Town (13603 Flanagan Blvd.) offers a basic menu of comfort foods when comfort is just what you’re after. With standard cafeteria-style dining, it’s a taste of home, without the dishes and chaos. Open weekdays and open to the general public, breakfast is served 6:45-9:45 a.m.; lunch is served 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Dish pick: western omelet at Boys Town Visitor’s Center Café
  • Price: $4.19
  • Website: boystown.org 
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Top of page

Zip: 68022 

It’s easy to imagine Omaha is an island surrounded not by water, but by cornfields. An oasis of civilization surrounded by a rustic escape to homestead living. While that used to be an accurate portrayal, the cities and towns outside of Omaha’s limits have been growing, and now boast a burgeoning cultural scene for which you might want to make the drive. A day in Elkhorn isn’t complete without a stop at Bella Vita (2620 N. Main St.) for a hearty plate of tortellini di manzo, cheese tortellini tossed with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and beef tenderloin tips in a black peppercorn brandy cream sauce.

  • Dish pick: tortellini di manzo at Bella Vita Ristorante
  • Price: $19 (served dinner only)
  • Website: bellavitane.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke 

Top of page

Zip: 68028

Situated in Nebraska Crossing (21351 Nebraska Crossing Drive), Local Beer & Patio’s Gretna location brings variety to an area saturated with fast food. The freshest ingredients and the most artfully crafted beer pairings will be the highlight of a day of outlet-mall shopping. The menu’s sandwich choices are legit gourmet. Try the crispy mushroom sandwich: pretzel-breaded portobello mushroom, mayo, spinach, Swiss cheese, artichoke hearts, and tomato on a brioche bun. 

  • Dish pick: crispy mushroom sandwich at Local Beer & Patio
  • Price: $11.50
  • Website: localbeer.co
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Top of page

Zip: 68046

Papillion has seen a lot of growth in the last several years, attracting families and businesses alike. As the restaurant scene catches up to the traffic, a front-runner has emerged in Ollie & Hobbes Craft Kitchen (310 E. Gold Coast Road). The establishment is known for its family-friendliness, and your child can count on being treated like a patron rather than simply patronized. Adults are treated to a 3-6 p.m. happy hour and a tantalizing menu that ranges from elegant pesto shrimp gnocchi to hearty pork schnitzel. Our expert chose the pan-seared salmon, which is served with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, hollandaise, and fried leeks. Make it an Oscar (add crab) for just $5 more. 

  • Dish pick: pan-seared salmon at Ollie & Hobbes Craft Kitchen
  • Price: $19 ($24 with crab)
  • Website: ollieandhobbes.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Top of page

Zip: 68059

The crispy Buffalo chicken sandwich at Trojan Tavern (167 Main St. in Springfield) is worth the drive. Served in the pub’s famous Ozzie Deluxe sauce, covered in melted Swiss cheese, onions, and tomato, this sandwich is then drizzled with ranch dressing to offer the perfect amount of cooling to the sticky heat between the buns. Also, look for the daily drink specials.

  • Dish pick: crispy Buffalo chicken sandwich at Trojan Tavern
  • Price: $9.95
  • Website: thetrojantavern.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Top of page

Zip: 68064

Just outside of Omaha in Valley, Simply Delicious (215 N. Spruce St.) has a big name to live up to. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy, the pan-fried chicken will transport you to your mother’s dinner table. A dish that’s never quite as good when you make it for yourself, Simply Delicious adds a pinch of love to get it just right.

Top of page

Zip: 68069

If you’re into cheese, check out El Bee’s (3200 N. 240th St. in Waterloo). While the establishment has been open for decades, they have no official website or Facebook page, but fans of the Tex-Mex spot have maintained a page for them since 2009. Although known for their friendly service and strong margaritas, the fried ice cream takes the prize at this spot. Sweet and crunchy, it’s the perfect ending to the spicy and savory meal.

  • Dish pick: fried ice cream at El Bee’s
  • Price: $5.90 (cash only)
  • Facebook: El Bees
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke 

Top of page

Zip: 68102

It seems nearly impossible to choose a place to eat while wandering the Old Market’s endless options, and no matter where you finally stop, you’ll find something a local food artist has tortured themselves to present to perfection. When we finally held their feet to the fire, two of our consultant foodies chose not only the same establishment, but the same dish—Block 16’s Croque Garcon (available at 1611 Farnam St.), a one-third pound, locally-sourced burger with ham, a sunny-side-up egg, mustard, and truffle mayo. How good is the Croque Garcon? Ask Food Network host Alton Brown, who named it his favorite burger in America. 

  • Dish pick: Croque Garcon Burger at Block 16
  • Price: $8.25
  • Website: block16omaha.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast and @EatOurWorld

Top of page

Zip: 68104 

Booming Benson has turned Maple Street into the place to be when you’re hungry. Your many moods are sure to be satisfied somewhere between the upscale Au Courant and the cozy Leo’s Diner. While choosing one dish from the many options was difficult, our team of foodies couldn’t seem to keep the name Ika Ramen (6324 Maple St.) out of their mouths. Whether it’s the ancient tradition, the painstaking broth process, or the warmth of a bowl of hot, sticky noodles, Ika Ramen takes great care with each dish, and Omaha has taken notice.

  • Dish pick: tonkotsu ramen at Ika Ramen and Izakaya
  • Price: $12
  • Website: ikaramenandizakaya.com 
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Top of page

Zip: 68105

The picks for this zip were split, with almost an even number of votes for Greek Islands, Mother India, and Stirnella. So, we consulted Yelp to settle the score. Blame it on longevity, but the winner was the family-owned-and-operated Greek Islands (3821 Center St.). For 35 years, Laki “Bill” and George Sgourakis have offered their loyal patrons a taste of the Mediterranean and a seat at their table. The can’t-miss dish is the saganaki, a thin brick of warm baked cheese. It is brought to your table still sizzling from the oven, where it is doused with brandy and ignited to the festive cry of “Opa!” before being extinguished with the juice from a lemon slice and served on house bread.

  • Dish pick: flaming saganaki at Greek Islands
  • Price: $8.25
  • Website: greekislandsomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Top of page

Zip: 68106

Jennifer Coco has gained a reputation for being one of Omaha’s best chefs. Her establishment, J. Coco (5203 Leavenworth St.), ran away with this nomination for the barbacoa short ribs, which are served with creamy corn risotto, tomatillo salsa, and queso fresco. 

  • Dish pick: barbacoa short ribs at J.Coco
  • Price: $27 (served dinner only)
  • Website: jcocoomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast 

Top of page

Zip: 68107

Taqueria Tijuana (5139 S. 24th St.) is known as one of the most traditional and authentic of Omaha’s Mexican restaurants. Reviewers praise the menudo, a labor-intensive dish consisting of tripe (beef stomach) and chili base. This dish is often made communally and is part of many family celebrations. Taqueria Tijuana believes that anytime you join them for dinner, it’s reason enough to celebrate with a warm bowl.

  • Dish pick: menudo at Taqueria Tijuana
  • Price: $7 (served weekends only)
  • Facebook: @TaqueriaTijuana402
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Top of page

Zip: 68108

For their intense, three-day pizza crust-making process, ornately tiled wood-fired oven, and their handmade pastas, Via Farina (1108 S. 10th St.) was the uncontested winner in 68108. Just outside the Old Market, the restaurant is intimate and friendly, with a knowledgeable staff and extensive wine list. The majority of our foodie consultants chose Via Farina, but there was some disagreement about which dish deserved the crowning glory. After cross-referencing online reviews, the egg yolk raviolio beat out the bianco pizza for the top spot.

  • Dish pick: egg yolk raviolo at Via Farina
  • Price: $14
  • Website: goviafarina.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

Top of page

Zip: 68110

Get-N-Go Fish (1706 N. 24th St.) is only open Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. How did a restaurant that’s only open half of the week (and closes before most people have even realized they forgot to thaw something for dinner and need to order take-out) make this list? Simple. The catfish. When you do something really well, you get to choose when you do it. 

  • Dish pick: whole catfish dinner at Get-N-Go Fish
  • Price: $12
  • Website: getngofish.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Top of page

Zip: 68111

When Big Mama’s Kitchen (3223 N. 45th St.) lost owner and chef “Big Mama” Patricia Barron earlier this year, the family pulled together to maintain her legacy and mission: to bring you to her table. Her special-recipe fried chicken never lost its ability to get the family to sit down and hush, and the owners make sure you know that even though Big Mama is gone, you’re still family. The restaurant is currently located in the 68104 zip code, but is scheduled to move into the 68111 zip code (2112 N. 30th St.) after the Highlander Accelerator’s construction completes. 

  • Dish pick: oven-fried chicken at Big Mama’s Kitchen
  • Price: $9.29 (two pieces with one side), $10.89 (three pieces with one side); $11.99 (two pieces with two sides), $12.99 (three pieces with two sides)
  • Website: bigmamaskitchen.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402 

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Zip: 68112

A former food truck has emerged as one of Omaha’s hottest barbecue joints. Fat BBQ Shack (7440 N. 30th St.) still honors its former identity with heavy traffic from carry-out customers. But you might want to dine in, with blues music on the house speakers and wafting aromas of savory, sweet barbecue hot off the grill. Out of all the meat and sandwich options on the menu, the Shack Attack stands out. This mouth-watering behemoth comes with hand-cut fries topped with your choice of meat, barbecue sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, jalapeños, and chives. Don’t forget to share.

  • Dish pick: The Shack Attack at Fat BBQ Shack
  • Price: $8.99, add $1.49 for extra meat
  • Website: fatbbqshack.biz
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

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Zip: 68113

Offutt Air Force Base has its own zip code, but the meal options are limited to those with base access (or retired military and their families); however, Offutt does welcome the general public during certain special occasions. The public relations team at Offutt claims that Resa’s Famous Spaghetti at Peacekeeper Lanes has been a hit “for many, many years.” But for those lacking base access, there is the wonderful Korean House Restaurant (2413 Lincoln Road)—which is technically just outside Offut’s zip code in Bellevue—situated just beside the entry gate to the base. The restaurant looks a bit sketchy on the outside, but the tables are clean and the juicy kalbee (fried chicken bulgogi and beef bulgogi) is well-seasoned and comes with free kimchi side dishes. 

  • Dish pick: Resa’s Famous Spaghetti at Peacekeeper Lanes (for those with base access); house special at Korean House Restaurant (for those without base access)
  • Price: $6.25 full portion, $5 half portion (Resa’s Famous Spaghetti at Peacekeeper Lanes, served Wednesdays during lunch); $9.75 (bulgogi, chicken, kalbee, and drink at Korean House)
  • Facebook: @Offutt55fss & Korean House
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke (Peacekeeper Lanes) and @OmahaEat (Korean House Restaurant)

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Zip: 68114 

“El basha” was an Arabic term for “the elite society” during the Turkish and Ottoman empires. The unassuming atmosphere at El Basha restaurant (7503 Pacific St.) combined with the very reasonable prices may not strike you as “upper crust,” but the expertly balanced dishes and deep spices create the richest of flavor experiences. Our team chose the tender beef shawarma (which can also be made with chicken) from the extensive menu.

  • Dish pick: hummus with beef shawarma at El Basha
  • Price: $7.50
  • Website: elbashagrill.com
  • Chosen by: @OOOOmaha_Eats

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Zip: 68116

Wave Bistro (4002 N. 144th St.) boasts a large but focused menu of European- and Asian-inspired dishes created by chef/owner George Liao. His wife and co-owner, Connie, runs the front of the house, and the family’s warmth and charm are as much a reason to enjoy Wave Bistro as the exceptional food. 

  • Dish pick: shrimp roll with firecracker sauce at Wave Bistro
  • Price: $8.95 (served dinner only)
  • Website: wavebistrorestaurant.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

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Zip: 68117

Puerto Vallarta (4871 L St.) is a Tex-Mex party any day of the week. The restaurant serves various forms of meat and beans on tortillas and also has an exceptional salsa. But don’t miss the molcajetes: tender slices of ribeye, chicken, pork, shrimp, chorizo, scallops, or tilapia grilled with mushrooms, squash, Mexican onions, and nopal (cactus) served in a molcajete, a traditional grinding bowl. 

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Zip: 68118

An Omaha favorite for years, Pitch West (17808 Burke St.) offers house-cured meats, house-made pastas, and coal-fired pizza with an artistic touch. The Mia (pizza) features San Marzano tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, house-made fennel sausage, and pepperoni. 

  • Dish pick: The Mia at Pitch
  • Price: $20
  • Website: pitchpizzeria.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld and @Omaha.Feast

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Zip: 68122 

Chosen by three of our reviewers, each for a different dish, Mangia Italiana (6516 Irvington Road) has something for everyone. For a truly unique experience, get there in March and try their Italian Reuben pizza featuring an olive oil and fresh garlic base, roasted red pepper dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut, and provolone on Mangia’s signature crust.

  • Dish pick: pizza rosso (whole milk mozzarella, asiago, romano, parmesan, and provolone) at Mangia Italiana
  • Price: $13.99 (10-inch), $16.99 (13-inch), $19.99 (16-inch) 
  • Website: mangiaitaliana.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

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Zip: 68123

The most devilish spot on our list—Sinful Burger (4005 Twin Creek Drive)—has an offense to fit any occasion. Choosing from the sins themselves is a crime, but Lust has never steered anyone wrong. A half-pound patty smothered in basil pesto, bleu cheese, and from-scratch garlic mayo.

  • Dish pick: Lust at Sinful Burger
  • Price: $8.99
  • Website: sinfulburger.com 
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68124

This area boasts at least two spectacular steakhouses, but we chose The Drover (2121 S. 73rd St.). The steakhouse has made a science of seasoning and artistry of marinade. Your cut doesn’t receive the whiskey treatment or the secret spices until after you order it. At that point, it sits and waits until the optimal flavor window before being grilled to your specifications. Time-consuming? Yes. Worth it? Yes. (Tip: Try adding marinated mushrooms to the order).

  • Dish pick: whiskey steak sirloin at Drover (served dinner only)
  • Price: $26.95, add $8.50 for a bowl of mushrooms (enough for two or three people) 
  • Website: droverrestaurant.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68127

Korea Garden Restaurant (5352 S. 72nd St.) offers authentic Korean cuisine in Ralston. The restaurant provides a range of fresh dishes, from plates of stir-fried octopus to bowls of bibimbap or the classic beef bulgogi (a popular Korean dish of marinated beef slices in a special house sauce cooked over a tabletop grill). Also, make sure to savor the banchan—appetizer dishes such as kimchi, gimbap, japchae, and potatoes—and don’t be shy to ask for free refills on the sides. 

  • Dish pick: beef bulgogi at the Korean Garden Restaurant 
  • Price: $10.95
  • Website: koreangardenomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

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Zip: 68128

The La Vista area food scene is expanding, but nothing can overcome Omaha’s affection for any dish named after, well, us. The Omaha Potato Casserole at Summer Kitchen Café (12010 Giles Road) features lean ground beef grilled with onions and mushrooms, American, Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, sliced tomato, and pickle chips.

  • Dish pick: Omaha Potato Casserole at Summer Kitchen Café
  • Price: $9.99 (junior), $11.99 (regular), $13.00 (king), add $1.39 for an egg on top
  • Website: summerkitchen.net
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68130

Legacy Gyros (16920 Wright Plaza) had some stiff competition but still managed to win this vote. Reviewers mentioned the Turkish coffee—which isn’t easy to find in Omaha—and the pride the owner takes in his establishment as reasons to visit.

  • Dish pick: the classic gyro at Legacy Gyros
  • Price: $6.99
  • Website: legacygyros.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

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Zip: 68131

While Blackstone has no shortage of must-try eateries, Dante Pizzeria Napoletana (3852 Farnam St.) still manages to stand out for its quality ingredients, friendly staff, and fast-fine atmosphere. Choosing a single dish from the menu is akin to traveling with Virgil to the third circle of the inferno. Our reviewers failed to come to a consensus, so we executed judgment after much deliberation. The Diavolo was the eventual front-runner, with soppressata, link sausage, Calabrian chili, garlic, and mozzarella. It is truly sinful. 

  • Dish pick: Diavolo at Dante Pizzeria Napoletana
  • Price: $13
  • Website: dantepizzeria.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402 and @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68132 

Chef/owner Dario Schicke doesn’t serve food he wouldn’t serve his family, and his Northern Italian-inspired Avoli Osteria (5013 Underwood Ave.) is no exception. The seasonal menu always has something new to try, but the Bolognese bianco (pork and veal Bolognese) with toasted hazelnuts and pecorino Romano cheese on rigatoni won our reviewer’s vote.

  • Dish pick: Bolognese bianco (now simply called “rigatoni” on the menu) at Avoli Osteria
  • Price: $18
  • Website: avoliosteria.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

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Zip: 68133

Some zip codes on the periphery of Omaha offer slim pickings aside from national franchise chains and fast food. The southern reaches of Papillion are a case in point. The Hop House Bar & Grill (11425 S. 72nd St.) offers an alternative. Now to choose from the most-delicious deep-fried morsel on the menu. Why not get it all? The sampler platter offers just this opportunity with mac & cheese bites, onion rings, jalapeño poppers, fried spicy pub pickles, and fried battered cauliflower.

  • Dish pick: sampler platter at The Hop House Bar & Grill 
  • Price: $12.99
  • Website: hophousebar.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

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Zip: 68134

A small spot with big, fat Greek portions, Jim and Jennie’s (3026 N. 90th St.) offers a vast menu filled with flavor. Loved for their generous dishes, authentic flavors, and warm atmosphere, Jim and Jennie’s was the destination of choice among our contributors, but the winning dish was up for debate. Ultimately, the stuffed eggplant papoutsakia came out on top. Eggplant filled with seasoned ground beef and béchamel, the dish is topped with kasseri cheese and served with Greek potatoes.  

  • Dish pick: stuffed eggplant papoutsakia at Jim and Jennie’s Greek Village
  • Price: $11 (served Saturdays only)
  • Website: jimandjennies.com 
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68135

Locally sourced, fun, and delicious, Over Easy (16859 Q St.) was the runaway winner for West O. While the establishment received hard nods for the corned beef hash, roasted portabello sandwich, and hash brown rounds, they won for their clever, house-made Pop Tarts. Choose between the seasonal fruit and Nutella, whether dining in or hitting the drive-through. Whatever you do, choose to pop by.

  • Dish pick: Pop Tarts at Over Easy
  • Price: $3.99
  • Website: overeasyomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402 and @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68136

Ling’s Asian Cuisine (6909 S. 157th St.), previously known as “Vietnamese Restaurant,” sits humbly in a strip mall, just waiting to offer you a cup of iced Vietnamese coffee. You’re treated with the same hospitality whether you’re dining in or carrying out, and the menu offers most pan-Asian favorites, from pad thai to kung pao. The owners are originally from Taiwan and used to run a popular Chinese restaurant in Lincoln. They are bringing a special Taiwanese beef noodle soup to the menu in the future.

  • Dish pick: vermicelli rice noodle bowl at Ling’s Asian Cuisine
  • Price: $10
  • Website: lingsasiancuisine.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

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Zip: 68137 

Shirley’s Diner (13838 R Plaza) hosts a cult following for being as warm as a greasy spoon, minus the grease. A clean and well-managed establishment, the staff is warm and the décor is updated old-school. The comfort-classic praised by our foodie was the Country Sunrise. The homemade biscuit with a sausage patty, scrambled eggs, and creamy sausage gravy will keep you satisfied until lunch…tomorrow.

  • Dish pick: Country Sunrise at Shirley’s Diner
  • Price: $9.99
  • Website: shirleysdiner.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

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Zip: 68138

Azteca (9429 S. 142nd St.) is an easy stop off I-80 at 144th Street. The restaurant is a welcome place to rest for weary travelers, but locals make the stop for a variety of reasons. The generous portions, friendly staff, and the piña colada are all reason enough to pop in. Azteca offers a mostly basic Tex-Mex menu, but they do it well. The Azteca Burrito Supreme stands up to its name, showcasing the best of the basic. The monster starts off with rice, beans, and choice of ground beef, pork, or chicken in a flour tortilla, which is then smothered with burrito sauce and topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole.

  • Dish pick: Azteca Burrito Supreme at Azteca Mexican Restaurant
  • Price: $9.95
  • Website: aztecaomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

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Zip: 68142

A fun spot to watch a game, grab a drink, or enjoy a casual dinner with friends, Ryan’s Food & Spirits (12221 Mary Plaza) does more than catering. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available at the sports bar, with an extensive upscale menu available on the bistro side. The steak lafa wrap is a stand-out dish from an exceptional menu. The dish features herbed cream cheese, balsamic cranberry chutney, caramelized onions, and mixed greens with marinated grilled skirt steak.

  • Dish pick: steak lafa wrap at Ryan’s Food & Spirits
  • Price: $11.95
  • Website: rgcateringevents.com 
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

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Zip: 68144

Several of our foodie consultants selected Little España as their Rockbrook favorite, possibly unaware that the establishment closed April 14. (Don’t tell them, OK?) The other name on their lips was Jaipur Indian Restaurant and Brewing Co. (10922 Elm St.). Delicious, from-scratch Indian fare is perfectly paired with their jalapeño ale (brewed on-site), friendly staff, and biryani. The winning dish was the chicken tikka madras, spiced boneless chicken in coconut milk sauce. 

  • Dish pick: chicken tikka madras at Jaipur Indian Restaurant and Brewing Co.
  • Price: $18.95
  • Website: jaipurindianfood.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

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Zip: 68147

Known for their signature “Toad” (a unique take on a fried taco), Nettie’s (7110 Railroad Ave.) is an old-school community favorite. The huevos con chorizo comes with two eggs scrambled with Mexican sausage, served with rice, beans, and tortillas.

  • Dish pick: huevos con chorizo at Nettie’s
  • Price: $14.95
  • Facebook: @NettiesFineMexicanFood
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

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Zip: 68152

The Cabin Bar and Grill (9226 Mormon Bridge Road) is not fancy. But it is filling. Frontier pioneers would have approved of these portions. The prime rib is as big as the plate, and comes with a hearty serving of veggies and potatoes on the side. The gizzards are hand-breaded. But our pick comes from the menu’s “signature items,” the Triple Decker Reuben. The Cabin’s signature Reuben comes with home-cooked corned beef and the traditional fixings of sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, and is covered in melted Swiss cheese. 

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Zip: 68154

Generous portions of nutritious food in an eco-friendly environment make Greenbelly (210 N. 114th St.) a go-to destination for Omaha’s health-minded. Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options abound in the green-themed eatery, which also offers compostable, corn-based containers and cutlery. The Thai salmon salad won out, with grilled salmon, mixed spring greens, green onion, cilantro, and peanuts in a sweet Thai chili sauce and a side of Thai peanut dressing.

  • Dish pick: Thai salmon salad at Greenbelly
  • Price: $9.99 (baby), $10.99 (regular)
  • Website: thegreenbelly.com
  • Chosen by: @OOOOmaha_Eats

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Zip: 68157

The kitschy and fun 80’s Snack Shack (4733 Giles Road) that opened early this year across from Bryan High is an unassuming spot you may not notice if you aren’t looking for it. A glass of strawberry water is a fun twist and a refreshing kick after any of the spicy dishes on the Mexican menu. 

  • Dish pick: pork tamales with two street tacos at 80’s Snack Shack
  • Price: $6
  • Facebook: @80sMunchies 
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

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Zip: 68164

Hiro 88 in West Omaha (3655 N. 129th St.), which famed Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura helped design, is a premier Omaha destination for high-end Japanese and pan-Asian cuisine. Three Instagrammers suggested separate dishes: tempura udon (soup with creamy noodles and crispy shrimp), the Golden Gate roll (with tuna, shrimp, crab mix, avocado, and cucumber), and the negi hamachi roll (with yellowtail and green onions). Call us biased, but we deferred to the judgment of the Instagrammer with Japanese heritage.

  • Dish pick: negi hamachi roll at Hiro 88
  • Price: $7.50
  • Website: hiro88.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

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Zip: 68178

Creighton University has its own zip code, but the campus dining options are restricted to students. In the 68102 zip code, across the street from campus, China Taste (1702 Cuming St.) is popular for affordable Chinese meals. The all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is only $7.75, and the steamed dumplings received rave reviews from Creighton students and staff. But when it comes to eating on campus, the Rev. Lorn Snow suggests the public drop by St. John’s Church for Mass at 10:30 a.m. Sundays, and stay for the free coffee and donuts after the service. 

  • Dish pick: Steamed dumplings at China Taste (next to campus); coffee and donuts at St. John’s Church (on campus)
  • Price: $4.65 (for six steamed dumplings); free (coffee and donuts)
  • Website: chinatasteomaha.com and stjohns-creighton.org
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

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Do you have a local food Instagram account we should be following? Drop us a comment, and be sure to follow us back @OmahaMagazine. 

This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. 

May/June 2018 About the Cover

May 11, 2018 by

Last summer in the far northwest corner of Nebraska, an Omaha-based photographer (who goes by the handle @ONElapse on Instagram and Facebook) set out to capture a timelapse of sunset. This issue’s cover image was taken from the timelapse, which spanned several hours. It was windy and raining lightly, but no sign of inclement weather can be seen in this frame. Look for the photographer, accompanied by his dog, setting up another camera along the ridge in the vicinity of Fort Robinson.


2018 May/June Instagram

Here are the nine images featured in our May/June issue. Include the hashtag #OmahaMagazine with your Instagram photos to be featured in the next issue of Omaha Magazine.

Follow Omaha Magazine on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Find us at @omahamagazine.


 

March/April Instagram

March 1, 2018 by

Here are the nine images featured in our March/April issue. Include the hashtag #OmahaMagazine with your Instagram photos to be featured in the next issue of Omaha Magazine.

Follow Omaha Magazine on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Find us at @omahamagazine.

@sarxcasey

@rayheckert

@eternal_and_unchanging

@boipinoy

@cooper_333

@bartyandlalo

@sherry_591

@wanderrockphotography

@lolasblest

These photos were printed in the March/April 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Show Of Hands

February 22, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

If you love trips to the museum and trips to the manicurist, Imagine Uhlenbrock is your one-stop shop for a day of art, style, and self-care all rolled into one stunning experience.

Uhlenbrock is the “nail genie” and artist behind Just Imagine Nails. Keratin is her canvas and her work is constantly showing on the hands of happy clients throughout Omaha.

“I started doing my own nails when I was about 4, because I was an only child and it was something I could do for myself,” Uhlenbrock says.

Her interest in nail art grew through middle school and high school, culminating in her first steady nail job at a downtown Omaha salon. It was meant to be her college job, but Uhlenbrock loved the craft so much she launched her own business doing natural, ethical nails at age 19.

For those skeptical that a manicurist can be a “real” artist, one look at Uhlenbrock’s vibrant Instagram portfolio provides ample evidence of her artistry and talent. Intricate, hand-painted designs, patterns, and messages mingle with hand-placed bling. Colors and textures pop, and unique, creative themes inspire the urge to scroll right on down the rabbit hole because no two sets are alike and your eyeballs will want to collect them all.

 

 “It’s just like commissioning any other piece of art,” Uhlenbrock says. “I always have ideas, so I have clients who just come in and let me do whatever I want every two weeks, or sometimes they come in with a theme or idea in mind. Most of the time it’s a collaborative process and we customize it based on the vision and what they’re feeling like that week.”

This process has resulted in galaxy nails, Vegas- and beach-themed vacation nails, desert sunset nails, snowflake and Christmas nails, Fourth of July “red, white, and bling” nails, Ouija board nails, Netflix and chill nails, ice cream and French fry nails, nails that are geometric, plaid, rainbow, floral, color-blocked, gradient, holographic or chrome, and nails that mimic abstract paintings, among others.

“I take inspiration from everywhere. The print of your dress, the pattern of that chair, the texture of this pillow, someone’s artwork,” Uhlenbrock says.

Then there are the pop culture nails. She’s done sets that honor artists including Eartha Kitt, Prince, Beyoncé, and Frida Kahlo, that appreciate cultural icons ranging from Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson to Grumpy Cat, that recognize the Broadway Hamilton phenomenon, that reference literature from Harry Potter to local author Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, and that celebrate TV shows from The Golden Girls to The Powerpuff Girls. Her popular annual Halloween special has taken inspiration from The Addams Family, Stranger Things, The X-Files, and Hocus Pocus sets, as well as one of her personal all-time favorites: Michael Jackson “Thriller” nails.

“You can see from my themes that I like weird,” Uhlenbrock says. “I’ll put anything on a nail as long as it’s not problematic.”

Uhlenbrock’s political work is also incredibly compelling. She’s done anti-pipeline nails, Black Lives Matter nails, and nails that read “Go Vote,” among others.

“One of the roles of an artist is to get people to think or to spread certain messages. Nail art is no different than any other art form in that way,” Uhlenbrock says. “That’s how art and social justice can intersect by creating visuals, sounds, or whatever the medium to raise awareness, to educate, or to relieve pain and pressure for the oppressed. So, a lot of what I do is people’s regular self-care.”

In December 2016, Uhlenbrock opened her Hand of Gold Beauty Room space in the Fair Deal Village Marketplace, near 24th and Lake streets. She currently shares the space with two subcontractors, Qween Samone and Ria Gold, who help support the service menu of natural nails, makeup, and braiding. Uhlenbrock enjoys working in the thriving area among neighboring small business owners and she’s committed to using her space to support her peers.

“We support small businesses here,” Uhlenbrock says. “Economic disenfranchisement has been a huge tool of oppression against people of color. So, it’s really important to me as I grow and have my own economic development to reach out and empower others through that as well.”

Uhlenbrock stocks body care products from Lincoln-based Miss Kitty and Her Cats, pieces from Omaha’s Amaral Jewelry, and gets all of her regular polishes from Ginger + Liz, a black woman-owned, vegan-friendly, toxin-free nail lacquer company. She also sells jewelry from her other business, The Bigger the Hoops.

Besides providing an important platform for a network of artists and makers, the petite Hand of Gold Beauty Room just feels like a place you want to be. A plush, amber-colored couch beckons from the pedicure platform that Uhlenbrock and her mother hand-built. The walls are decked with striking work by Lincoln artist Brittany Burton, featuring black-and-white depictions of “thick” women with sparse flashes of green and yellow. Soul music fills the air and large windows let ample natural light stream in.

“Everyone should probably go to a therapist, but not everyone does—some people get their nails done instead,” Uhlenbrock says. “They can come here, have a good conversation, and leave feeling like a million bucks with something good to look at for a couple weeks. It’s a lot easier to feel like you have your shit together when your nails are on point.”

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

The Other World-Renowned Kobe

January 7, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Kobe Paras had never heard of Omaha when Creighton called this past summer.

He spent the first 15 years of his life in the Philippines before moving to Los Angeles to chase a basketball scholarship. At the time, Creighton was just one of dozens of prominent basketball programs in pursuit of the high-flying 6-foot-5-inch tall guard. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott had coveted Paras since he first spotted the native Filipino while recruiting his high school teammate. Paras had committed to UCLA at the time, but he withdrew from the school in early June after failure to meet academic requirements. With Paras back on the open market, McDermott wanted to make him a Bluejay.

During his July visit to Creighton’s campus, Paras toured the $13 million Championship Center and posed for pictures with McDermott’s Naismith player of the year trophy, but it was the personal connections Paras made that led him to pick Creighton as his future home.

“I got to bond with the coaches and my teammates, and it really felt right,” Paras says.

He will need those bonds. Paras enjoys celebrity status in his home country, as the basketball-obsessed nation looks to him as a potential NBA player. The Pacific archipelago has never produced a professional player in the world’s most coveted league.

“I am not a regular student-athlete,” he says. “I have a lot of people looking up to me.”

Paras’ earliest memories are of hoards of fans stopping to ask his father, Benjie Paras, for autographs and pictures. Benjie was a two-time MVP in the Philippine Basketball Association, and has since become an actor. His father’s fame caused the younger Paras to grow up in the limelight, but Benjie tried to instill a sense of perspective in his son.

“When he was my age, he had to do laundry for other people to have enough money,” says the younger Paras of his father. “He kept telling me how blessed I was.”

Basketball was not something Paras picked up until the third grade. Before that time, he played badminton and table tennis. A growth spurt in seventh grade helped the now-taller young man to fall in love with basketball. Meanwhile, basketball continued to grow in popularity throughout the Philippines.

“Basketball in the Philippines is a religion,” Paras says. “Wherever you go, you see people playing basketball.” 

NBA games were constantly broadcast throughout the country, which helped Paras, whose first name pays homage to the recently retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, become familiar with the sport’s biggest stars.

In 2013, an encounter with his favorite player, Lebron James, took Paras’ fame to a whole new level. During a trip to the Philippines, James took part in a camp for the country’s most promising young players. In a pre-game warm-up, Paras slammed home a one-handed dunk as James leapt to the side of him in a half-hearted effort to play defense.

“I didn’t really plan it,” says Paras about the moment. “My friends were like, ‘do you realize who you just dunked on?’”   

The original video of the dunk received over 2.5 million views. That clip would bring about a whole new level of fame for the then-15 year old.

Paras’ move stateside to aid his basketball skills would come just months after the dunk. It was at Cathedral High School, under the guidance of coach William Middlebrooks, that Paras, living away from his family, honed his leadership skills and focused on building his brand.

“I told him, now that you are here, your popularity can only grow,” says coach Middlebrooks. “Especially as people better understand Kobe Paras the person.”

Paras also developed as a basketball player with more than just raw athleticism. He will bring those skills to a Creighton team poised to make a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

“He already has the body to play at this level,” says McDermott of Paras. “He also really knows how to put the ball in the basket.” 

And even thousands of miles from the Philippines, Paras’ enthusiastic fans have been able to follow his every move.

“We found out pretty quick that the media in the Philippines was going to find him wherever he went,” says McDermott, who has spent many a Skype session this fall with the media outlets in Paras’ home country.

Paras also keeps in touch with many back home via social media. On Twitter he has over 114,000 followers and on Instagram he has more than 454,000 followers.

“On social media people always reach out to me,” Paras says. “Anywhere I am, I feel the support.”

Even though he knew almost nothing about Omaha before his visit in July, he has come to appreciate his new home. He says his favorite place is the gym, and he loves that there is less traffic here than in Los Angeles. He also knows that the start of basketball season means winter is coming.

“He is getting ready for that snow,” Middlebrooks says. “He called me and said, ‘coach, I think I need boots.’”

Visit gocreighton.com for more information.

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