Tag Archives: Hotel Deco

The Weekend of Hearts

February 14, 2019 by

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Thursday, Feb. 14: Sexploration is a week of fun, educational events related to sexual health. While the week is almost over, it’s not too late to participate. Today, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can visit with representatives from Get Checked OmahaOmaha Girls Rock, and NAMI Omaha. STI testing is available from 2-4 p.m. Tonight you can attend Sexploration Fest at OutrSpaces, where you can dance to music, listen to poetry, and view the art exhibit. Tomorrow, catch a lecture from sociology instructor Dr. Jenny Heineman. Find all the info here, and please RSVP here.

Thursday, Feb. 14: The Valentine’s is for Lovers Dance Party is happening tonight at Hotel Deco. But the name is a bit misleading. You don’t have to be lovers to dance the night away—especially when there’s no cover! With an interactive photo booth, prizes, and music from Omaha-famous DJ Shif-D, this party is the perfect way to celebrate the day of hearts and shake off some winter ick. Bring your lover, bring your friend, or bring yourself—just be ready to dance your heart out. Get the details here.

Friday, Feb. 15: Finish the week at Hi-Fi House with a First Listen of DEMOS: If It Wasn’t For You, the latest album from Omaha’s own Skylar “Scky Rei” Reed. Reed is also the frontman of BXTH (read more about them here). This is his first solo album in seven years. It explores Rei’s upbringing and the pride he has for his family, while paying homage to his hometown, specifically North Omaha. Show up at 7 p.m. for drinks and a social hour before listening begins at 8 p.m. for this free, all-ages event. Learn more here.

Saturday, Feb. 16th: Da Truth have become a fixture in the Kansas City live music scene, and they are bringing their versatile style to Omaha for Cocktails and Kisses at Love’s Jazz & Arts Center. DJ Chain will be the special guest, playing music from American jazz musician and composer Sam Rivers. Get a VIP ticket and you can meet the artists. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Keep the week of love going at Love’s. Buy tickets here and find other events at the center here.

Sunday, Feb. 17th: Show some love for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Great Plains Chapter at their Wine & Roses fundraiser, happening at WineStyles this Sunday. Proceeds help fund graduating high school seniors who have a permanent physical disability or have a parent with a permanent physical disability through the Ladies Auxiliary’s McAleer/Pierce Memorial Scholarship. For only $20 you can try 5 wines and nosh on an assortment of cheese and crackers and specialty desserts. Ladies get roses, and everyone can participate in a raffle. View the event here.

Chef Patrick Micheels

January 3, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It’s not easy to stay humble when everyone keeps talking about how great you are. But Patrick Micheels manages to steer nearly every compliment right back to other people. “I have a team in the kitchen that crushes it every day,” Micheels says when asked about the success of Monarch Prime & Bar. “I am so lucky.”

Actually, Omaha is lucky to have Micheels. Anyone who has dined at Monarch Prime knows as much. “I want to let the rest of the country know that Omaha’s not messing around,” he says.

Nebraskan by birth, Micheels hails from Scottsbluff. He grew up unusually curious about food, partially thanks to a mother who was willing to run to the store to buy the ingredients Micheels requested after watching cooking shows.

“I wanted more,” he says. “I was never really satisfied. I had a real love of cooking.”

Hunting trips with his father and brother also had a profound effect on his burgeoning curiosity about food preparation. “I learned to appreciate the whole animal. Killing a large animal is a big deal. It’s sad but rewarding. A lot of chefs don’t know about that.”

In 2005, he moved to Omaha to attend Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts. He was a chef at Dario’s Brasserie before taking on executive chef duties for Hotel Deco, the home of Monarch Prime.

The meat served at the sumptuous  restaurant (on the lower level of the renovated hotel at 316 S. 15th St., built in 1930 and listed on the National Record of Historic Places) is only there because Micheels spent a great deal of time deciding if it’s worthy. Locally sourced meats come from farms that Micheels himself spent hours visiting to ensure the animals are well taken care of. “These are small farms trying to make it for their families,” he says.

The meat must be fresh, he says, and then aged to perfection on-site at the restaurant. He’s spent a great deal of time figuring out the ideal aging for each type of meat.

Locally, he’s considered a pioneer in dry-aging meats on-site at Monarch Prime—if one can be a pioneer of an age-old practice. As Micheels explains, “It’s one of the oldest processes. To dry-age meat is super old school. People used to hang meat at the base of the mountain; it’s the way meat should be eaten.”

“Society is so impatient,” he says. Dry-aging takes time, but the benefit is enormous. When meat ages, Micheels explains, “it’s losing water. Think about it like sauce reducing on a stove. The water evaporating out of the meat condenses the flavor.”

Chef Patrick Micheels

“It has to be the freshest product possible—never frozen. The humidity has to be right, the wind speed has to be right, and the temperature has to be right. After that, it’s easy. Just wait.”

Wait for what? “Bacteria and enzymes break down the meat and make it more tender,” Micheels says. He’s echoing what he studied extensively and learned through trial and error. “We have an approachable dry-aging program,” he says. “We’re taking meat, putting it in coolers, and making it taste better.”

His star is rising, though he doesn’t seem to have allowed his growing fame to inflate his ego much. Recently praised and quoted in a New York Times article titled “An Omaha Restaurant Redefining the Steakhouse Experience,” he also appeared in a commercial for MCC.

He is involved with community projects, such as the Big Muddy Urban Farm Gala and the popular Pinot, Pigs & Poets annual event. “Giving back is one of the foundations of being a chef—it’s so important,” he says. He occasionally returns to the high school he graduated from in Scottsbluff to do demos for students.

Though he likes returning home occasionally, he’s developed a real fondness for Omaha. “I love the Omaha dining scene,” he says. “It’s so aggressive. We’re always looking for what we can do next.”

Micheels speaks about other Omaha chefs with admiration and a sense of camaraderie. He says he has often called upon chef buddies from The Boiler Room or V. Mertz for an assist preparing a special event (like a birthday or wedding), and they’re always eager to help.

“All the chefs in Omaha make me want to work hard,” he says, crediting his network of fellow chefs for helping him advance his skills and knowledge.

Beyond enthusiastically praising his kitchen team at Monarch Prime, Micheels is quick to express gratitude to his parents for encouraging him to pursue cooking—and for not growing tired of his tireless culinary curiosity as a kid.

He’s also quick to point to his motivation nowadays: his wife and son. “The reason I work so hard is because of them,” he says.

And in case you’re wondering, his 2-year-old son hasn’t yet started demanding exotic cuisine. Dad will be ready when he does.


Visit monarchprimeandbar.com for more information.

This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

A Taste of the Great Gatsby

November 3, 2017 by
Photography by Doug Meigs

The Monarch Prime & Bar resembles a scene from The Great Gatsby. Bartenders whip up whimsical cocktails; servers dance around with trays of food and drinks; meanwhile, poshly clad guests enjoy a whirlwind of happenings.

Omaha Magazine attended a preview dinner of the restaurant at Hotel Deco on Oct. 26. My dining partner and I sampled dishes composed of grasslands game meats and produce from local farms.

While waiting to be seated in the lounge area—connecting Hotel Deco’s lobby and the Monarch Prime dining area—my eyes fell on the top-shelf spirits, which included some of the most sought-after Japanese whiskies, such as Yamazaki and Hibiki.

A view of the bar

Although I normally prefer my whisky neat, Monarch’s “Blood & Sand” cocktail was tempting. Mixed with Johnnie Walker Black, Cherry Heering Cocchi di Torino, and fresh orange juice (with orange peel and olive garnish), the cocktail turned out to be an excellent aperitif.

My dining partner and I were escorted to our table through a short tunnel-like passage separating the lounge and dining area. A butterfly mural on the back wall provides the focal point of the restaurant. Other decorations include butterfly specimens displayed with preserved insects. Our server explained that the interior design incorporated themes of nature and royalty (after all, a monarch is a butterfly as well as a supreme ruler).

A view of the main dining area

On the main floor, tables are arranged intimately. Those who seek privacy, however, can reserve booths with curtains tucked into the arches. I particularly like the thoughtful lighting of the dining area; mono-point lights illuminate dishes in front of diners in an otherwise dimly lit, romantic atmosphere.

The menu features different courses in categories that range from “to begin,” “to continue,” “to dévour,” “to carve,” and “to add.” As our server told us about the game meats available and proudly introduced their in-house meat drying facility, the menu’s “elk osso bucco” and “30-day bison strip loin” piqued our interests.

She recommended we try the “potato and trout,” but we were torn between duck confit and chicken pate for an appetizer. We decided to go with the duck, “Monarch Burger with lamb bacon,” bison, adding a side of smoked maitake mushrooms, and ending the meal with donuts for dessert.

Meat aged on site

The duck was prepared by sous vide for 30 hours, rendering in duck fat, resulting in a creamy veloute formed into croquettes, lightly breaded and fried. Accompanied by a vibrant and sweet carrot puree, along with some crisp carrot and celery pickles, the duck is both rich and savory—my favorite dish of the night.

Our Monarch Burger, bison, and maitake mushrooms arrived at the same time. We dug into the bison immediately. Meat of bison is typically leaner and sweeter than beef; Chef Patrick Micheels grilled the aged bison and paired it with a light sauce that did not overpower the meat flavor. It reminds me of beef tataki and went really well with the earthy maitake mushrooms side dish.

Lamb bacon burger, bison, and maitake mushrooms

The burger came with frites and spicy aioli made of peppers from Spain. The ketchup, which they called “green tomato jam,” was a rich green and sweet with slight tang. We ordered lamb bacon with our burger—the bacon’s gaminess and fat added complexity to the flavor and aroma.

One note: you should always start with the burger before diving into other dishes as the house-made bun may soak up the cheese mornay sauce and become a little soggy—which is a shame, because their house-made bread tasted absolutely fantastic.

Our bill totaled about $130 before tip—including three dishes, two cocktails, one beer, and a dessert. While many of the items on menu were not yet available (or supply ran short on the night of our preview), we look forward to trying other game meats and unique desserts such as lemon goat cheesecake next time.

Visit monarchprimeandbar.com for more information.

Duck confit croquettes

Hotel Deco XV

April 1, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Providing a comfortable, sophisticated environment with a team dedicated to service is at the heart of Hotel Deco XV’s mission.  Since being acquired by Aparium Hotel Group, the historic 11-story Hotel Deco XV has been renovated and furnished in a neoclassical style reminiscent of its 1930 Art Deco origin.

Hotel Deco XV is both listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the only Historic Hotels of America property in Nebraska. The 89-room hotel is also an exclusive AAA Four Diamond luxury boutique property, due in part to its dynamic leadership team. General Manager Matt Korsos along with Assistant General Manager Brian Wenninghoff, Director of Sales and Marketing Laurie Czyz, and Nebraska-born Executive Chef Patrick Micheels bring their combined years of experience within the hospitality industry and a shared passion for creating unparalleled guest experiences to the Hotel Deco XV.

Hotel Deco XV and Aparium Hotel Group work to provide both locals and travelers alike unique experiences and distinctively tailored service through their philosophies of translocal hospitality, intuitive service and owner collaboration.

1504 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102

402.991.4981 • hoteldecoomaha.com

This sponsored content is a page from the publication Faces of Omaha.  To read the entire magazine, click the image:

Ben Rowe

June 10, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Benjamin Rowe creates cocktails that, quite frankly, say, “drink me.”  They are magical, but they won’t make you smaller. The magic comes from the fact that they are crafted with a lot of thought and care.

“I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to do for a living,” Rowe says of starting as a career bartender. “Bartending was something I had always done on the side.”

Rowe has worked in the bar industry for more than 10 years, and through that time he’s seen several changes.

“It’s only been in the past few years that you have been able to see bartending as  a career. It’s not just about slinging drinks anymore. It’s about being professional. I think it’s good for the industry to have someone in it for 20 years and impart that knowledge on to others.”

BenRowe1

He’s worked in several places, but came to the forefront of the bartending profession with an opportunity to work at the Dell in 2006, which, he says, had the best bartenders in the city then.

“It was a great opportunity to learn from who were at the time the masters of bartending,” Rowe says.

After learning from the best in Omaha, Rowe eventually wound his way to a bar that became synonymous with craft bartending and themed parties—the House of Loom.  The new wave of craft bartending reinvigorated Rowe for the profession.

“For me it really was the culture of The Loom that did it,” Rowe says. “From the beginning the motto at the Loom was ‘we care.’ We care about the customer experience, we care about the music that’s playing, we care about the cocktails that go across the bar.”

That care began to show in the passion he gained for the profession. He began wanting to know more about the spirits, about the ingredients. The House of Loom focused on a seasonal menu that encouraged people to try new drinks every quarter.

“For us it was more important to have you try a new drink. We put a lot of time and effort, and money, to develop these cocktails,” Rowe said. “They are still making great interesting seasonal cocktails.”

These days, Rowe can be found behind the bar at the Wicked Rabbit, a speakeasy near Hotel Deco serving a wide selection of pre-prohibition style drinks.

“Wicked Rabbit is a different animal,” Rowe says. “We find it is very much about the cocktails. It’s very much about the quality of the cocktails, right down to the glassware we choose to serve it in.”

While customers can, and are encouraged to, try a new cocktail, they can also serve the standards.

“A lot of this bar is about suspension of disbelief,” Rowe said. “You don’t go and watch Schindler’s List and then read it and expect the same thing out of it. Just to get into the bar you have to walk into a store, and then you have to walk through the shelf. That sets the tone for the bar. The rest of the experience should take you down that path. That being said, we don’t want to tell someone who has been drinking whisky and Cokes for 20 years that we can’t serve it.”

That attitude of serving what guests want was especially helpful when they first opened.

“We are technically a hotel bar,” Rowe said. “We get a very eclectic mix here. I appreciate that. The first week we were open there was a convention here that had something to do with farming. So they came in and looked around, and at first they thought they were a little out of place. But you put a whisky in front of them, and you chat with them, and soon they had a great time.”

But it’s the specialty cocktails that keep patrons coming back, and Rowe continues to create new specialty cocktails.

“As I progress, I want to push the boundaries of what is a great cocktail…At the end of the day, it’s liquid in a cup. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some of those bars that give out the best liquids in some of the best cups in the city.”

Whether someone wants to drink their standard cocktail or to try something new, Rowe’s commitment to caring about cocktails means he wants every patron to enjoy themselves.

“We want anyone who wants to experience this journey to come here and have a great time. I don’t care what walk of life you’re from. Anyone who wants to come here should be able to come here and have a great time.”