Tag Archives: Johnny’s Café

Obviously Omaha

July 9, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For many food lovers, there’s nothing like a good steak. A steak with plentiful marbling and a ton of flavor. A steak perfectly cooked with a seared crust and tender, juicy center. While local gourmets and gourmands have embraced an influx of new restaurants, many still crave the city’s long-standing steakhouse tradition. For a timeless dining experience, it’s hard to beat a classic steakhouse dinner at one of these 10 spots (listed in alphabetical order) exclusive to the Omaha metro.

Anthony’s Steakhouse
7220 F St.
402-331-7575
anthonyssteakhouse.com

The family-owned-and-operated business has been satisfying steak lovers since 1967, when the late Anthony “Tony” Fucinaro Sr. opened the restaurant. A giant fiberglass steer hangs out front. Inside, diners savor tender, flavorful cuts of Nebraska beef, which the restaurant expertly dry-ages and hand-cuts. Pasta, seafood, chicken, and pork are also on the menu. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Anthony’s gets better with age.

Brother Sebastian’s Steakhouse & Winery
1350 S. 119th St.
402-330-0300
brothersebastians.com

Opened in 1977, this West Omaha eatery boasts some of the best rib-eye steaks in town, as well as an extensive wine list and classic steakhouse sides. Skip the baked potato and get the mashed spuds—they’re ridiculously good. Adding to the restaurant’s appeal is its monastery theme. Gregorian chant music echoes in the parking lot, and servers wear monk-inspired garb. The dark interior is divided into multiple dining rooms warmed by fireplaces and adorned with casks, bottles, and books.

Cascio’s Steakhouse
1620 S. 10th St.
402-345-8313
casciossteakhouse.com

The sons of Italian immigrants, brothers Al and Joe Cascio opened the steakhouse south of downtown in 1946, and a third generation of family members runs it today. Cascio’s uses certified Angus beef that’s hand-cut and aged. High-quality steaks, scratch-made soups and salad dressings, breadsticks baked on-site, and spaghetti sauce simmered for hours have kept the local landmark filled with faithful diners for decades.

The Drover
2121 S. 73rd St.
402-391-7440
droverrestaurant.com

Generations of steak lovers have walked through the heavy wooden doors of this rustic, cozy central Omaha spot. It opened as a Cork ’N Cleaver in 1969 and became the Drover in the late ’70s. Featuring cowboy/Western decor, the restaurant is known for its whiskey steaks, which are soaked in a secret whiskey-based marinade for 15 minutes. A warm loaf of bread and a trip to the salad bar, complete with chilled metal plates, prime the appetite.

Farmer Brown’s Steak House
2620 River Road Drive
Waterloo, Nebraska
402-779-2353
farmerbrowns.com

Located on Omaha’s outskirts, this popular Waterloo steakhouse has been wooing diners with slow-roasted, tender, and flavorful prime rib since 1964. That’s when Charles and Daphne Stenglein opened the steakhouse, which their sons now run. Customers love the no-frills, homey atmosphere and menu of comfort foods. For several decades, Daphne Stenglein and her identical twin, Dagmar Luenenburg, were fixtures at the restaurant, lending a hand and greeting guests. The sisters were inseparable and died 10 months apart in 2001 and 2002. A second Farmer Brown’s operated in Papillion for a number of years before closing, but the original is still going strong.

Gorat’s
4917 Center St.
402-551-3733
goratsomaha.com

A meat lover’s mecca since 1944, Gorat’s is among Omaha’s old-school Italian steakhouses. Louis N. Gorat Jr., known as “Pal,” the son of founders Louis and Nettie Gorat, sold the business in 2012 to Gene Dunn. The beloved midtown spot—one of Warren Buffett’s favorite local restaurants—continues to attract locals and out-of-towners, including Berkshire Hathaway shareholders who dine here during the company’s annual shareholder weekend in May.

Jerico’s Restaurant
11732 West Dodge Road
402-496-0222
jericosomaha.com

Diners have been sliding into the button-tufted booths and digging the old-school vibe at Jerico’s since 1978. For many Omahans, this is the go-to spot for prime rib. There’s also New York strip, filet mignon, rib-eye, porterhouse, and sirloin. Bacon-wrapped shrimp makes a great starter, and a slice of house-made chocolate, banana, or coconut cream pie is the perfect finish.

Johnny’s Cafe
4702 S. 27th St.
402-731-4774
johnnyscafe.com

An Omaha landmark, a time capsule, and one of the city’s oldest independently owned restaurants, Johnny’s has been operated by the Kawa family since the early 1920s. Guests love the succulent steaks, well-made cocktails, and kitschy décor, such as saddle-shaped bar stools. The longtime dining destination was featured in Alexander Payne’s 2002 filmAbout Schmidt.

Omaha Prime
415 S. 11th St.
402-341-7040
omaha-prime.com

An Old Market fixture since 1995, this upscale spot offers USDA Prime beef, the highest rating. Operated by local restaurateur Mahmood “Mo” Tajvar, Omaha Prime features an extensive wine list, attentive service, and an elegant ambiance. From the second-floor dining room, guests can enjoy their meal while taking in lovely views of the Old Market Passageway below. Seafood, chicken, and lamb are also on the menu, but steaks are the star. The restaurant’s star clientele includes Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett and retired New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who dined here together in 2006.

Pink Poodle
633 Old Lincoln Highway
Crescent, Iowa
712-545-3744
pinkpoodlesteakhouse.com

It takes a bit of a drive to get here—about 20 minutes from downtown Omaha—but diners don’t seem to mind. Steak lovers of all ages have been coming to the Pink Poodle for more than 60 years. The casual, independently owned spot offers unfussy food in a modest setting. The longtime Crescent restaurant is known for its slow-cooked, deeply flavorful prime rib, but there’s also rib-eye, sirloin, seafood, chicken, and numerous side dishes. While waiting for a table, take a few minutes to check out the décor—an eclectic collection of dolls, pianos, knick-knacks, and, of course, pink poodles.

This article appears in the July/August 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Now Serving Omaha

February 10, 2015 by

Ranked as a Top 10 Foodie City by Livability.com, Omaha’s reputation as a great dining destination continues to grow. In choosing Omaha, Livability.com raves, “Innovative chefs throughout the city are creating sensational menus that surprise many visitors.” The Grey Plume and Boiler Room are constantly receiving high praise from national food critics. Open Table’s “100 Hottest Restaurants in America” list includes Pitch Pizzeria in the Dundee neighborhood, and the Food Network has featured Big Mama’s Kitchen, California Taco, and Brewburgers on its national broadcasts.

To capitalize on the growing interest and to increase awareness about Omaha’s culinary landscape, the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) just started its own web series called “Now Serving Omaha.” Each month a new restaurant is featured in a short video webisode that is distributed to more than 165,000 people from all over the country via the CVB’s social media network. There is also a dedicated webpage featuring all of the videos at visitomaha.com/nowservingomaha.

In addition, the Omaha CVB partnered with Food and Travel magazine, a national publication with a readership of more than 81,000, to create a full-page editorial showcasing many of Omaha’s beloved restaurants such as The Drover, Piccolo Pete’s, Dundee Dell, Johnny’s Café, Crescent Moon, and Blue Sushi. Thanks to a Nebraska Tourism-sponsored media tour, Omaha restaurants have also received media coverage in magazines in Austin, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo.

So is all the attention focused on promoting Omaha restaurants worth it? Consider this: Research shows out-of-town visitors spend more than $274 million a year dining out in Omaha restaurants. So the answer is a resounding yes—Omaha is serving up travel-worthy food and visitors are eating it up.

Dana Markel is Executive Director of the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau. Questions or comments? Email the Omaha CVB at info@visitomaha.com.

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