Tag Archives: Mama’s Pizza


October 29, 2018 by
Photography by provided

Of all the flavors of Omaha, one of our most famous is the Reuben. First served at the Blackstone Hotel in the 1920s (and named after local grocer Reuben Kulakofsky), the sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus worldwide. Omaha’s love for the sandwich is apparent in all the ways we recreate it. For decades, Omaha chefs have been pulling apart the historical combo of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread, and reassembling the ingredients to create new ways of celebrating the dish. The result is a range of fare, from those that closely resemble their breaded ancestor, to others more deserving of the title “Reubenesque.”

Here are just a few of the places you can grab a fresh taste of an Omaha classic remixed, right in the city where it all began.

Located just across the street from the old Blackstone Hotel, Crescent Moon (3578 Farnam St.) dedicates an entire week every November to the Reuben sandwich and its many variations: Reubenfest. Last year, Reubenfest brought in an estimated 500-600 visitors per day, with more than 4,000 Reuben-themed dishes served by the end of the week. Reubenfest 2018 runs from Nov. 5-10 and will see the return of many crowd favorites, including Reuben pizzas, burritos, egg rolls, and calzones, as well as new Reubenesque offerings. If you hope to catch a bite of the action, plan your visit to avoid peak meal times when the restaurant is packed and tables are hard to come by.

Crescent Moon Reuben Sandwich

Ever in the mood for Tex-Mex and a Reuben, and you simply can’t decide? Omaha’s got your back—and your taste buds. You can head on over to Dundee’s Place (7024 Maple St.) for that Reuben flavor stuffed inside a shell with their tasty Reuben tacos. Or drop by Two Fine Irishmen (18101 R Plaza) and ask for a plate of their Reuben nachos.

Two Fine Irishmen Reuben Nachos

Is a hot dog a sandwich? What about a Reuben sandwich/hot dog mashup? Find out for yourself with this tribute to a tribute, the Kansas City Reuben at B&B Classic Dogs (1020 Lincoln Road in Bellevue). The Bellevue dog was inspired by a concessions item at Kauffman Stadium. Stoysich House of Sausage (multiple locations) offers the Round Reuben, a fully cooked sausage made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for those looking to take the Reubenesque home. Chicago Dawg House’s food truck, the Weenie Wagon, also offers the Stoysich Round Reuben on St. Patrick’s Day.

Aside from Crescent Moon’s Reubenfest, you can find Reuben egg rolls at a variety of restaurants around town, including Paddy McGown’s Pub & Grill (4503 Center St.), Dundee Dell (5007 Underwood Ave.), or further west at Clancy’s Pub (2905 S. 168th St). For those reminiscing over Localmotive Food Truck’s famous Reuben rounders, stop by Over Easy (16859 Q St.) on a weekend night, where the food truck’s menu is served seasonally.

Dundee Dell Egg Roll Reuben

You might know that March is National Reuben Month, but did you know that Omaha declared a Reuben Sandwich Day? March 14, 2013, was the inaugural Reuben Day. If you missed the holiday this year, you can always join the fun in March at Mama’s Pizza, where they serve a Reuben pizza all month long at all of their three Omaha locations.

Mama’s Reuben Pizza

Veggie lovers can celebrate Rueben pride, too. At Wilson & Washburn (1407 Harney St.), order a traditional-style Reuben sandwich with their original beet dressing added. For more animal-friendly takes on the Reuben, Modern Love (which recently moved to 3157 Farnam St.) has offered Reuben Mac & Shews (a variation of their vegan Mac & Shews) and recently added the Seitan Beet Reuben to their permanent menu.

Modern Love Veggie Reuben

Still want more Reuben? Try the gluten-free California Reuben at Big Green Q (6023 Maple St.), a sweeter take on the original recipe. If you’re looking for a slightly leaner version of the sandwich, try the Rachel, a variation made with turkey instead of corned beef. The Rachel can be found at a variety of restaurants around Omaha, including Brazen Head Irish Pub (319 N. 78th St.). Or if you’re looking for a little extra on your plate, head on over to Gorat’s Steakhouse (4917 Center St.), where you can order a triple-decker Reuben. 

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

Dundee’s Place Reuben Taco

From me to you

March 10, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It was Mother’s Day 2012. My friend Jen Rabine thought she was having an unbearable migraine. Her husband, Chris, drove her to the doctor.

“My blood pressure was 265 over 170,” Jen recalls. “That’s stroke level.”

She was rushed to the hospital where she spent twelve days. Eventually, the prolonged high blood pressure affected her kidneys; she was told they were functioning at 10 to 15 percent. She was constantly cold, her feet, ankles, and legs swelled, and the fatigue was overwhelming.

Jen received her first round of dialysis on her 40th birthday. The next day, she was finally able to go home to Chris and her three kids, Morgan (17 at the time), AJ (10), and Kiel (9). The hope was that the dialysis would restart her kidneys.

However, Dr. Alexander Maskin, Assistant Professor of Surgery on the Kidney Team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, equates kidneys on dialysis to a car that breaks down all the time. “It can kind of get you where you’re going, but it needs repair a lot.”

The dialysis didn’t do the trick, and six months later, Dr. Maskin recommended that Jen sign the papers to get on the kidney transplant recipient list.

“I didn’t tell a lot of people what was going on,” Jen says, “because it’s my health issue, and I didn’t want people talking about my health, especially when I wasn’t there.”

We football moms started to miss our friend at practices and games. I knew what was going on, but few others did. Out of respect for Jen’s privacy, we said nothing.

“Chris is my best friend, and I just wanted to keep it between us,” Jen says of her husband. “It put a lot on his shoulders. I’d do the same for him.”

One day in June of 2013, Chris confided in my husband (also a Chris) and me that Jen needed a kidney.

I’ve lost people in my life that I wish I could have done something for. Here was an opportunity to do something for my friend. After prying the number out of Jen’s husband, I made the call to see if I could be a match.


A transplant nurse coordinator took it from there. A coordinator’s job is to protect the donor and make sure you understand every aspect of the donation process. Should you ever have any reservations, she’s like your big sister (the good one)—she’ll back you up and support you, no questions asked.

For example, my coordinator is Connie Lykke. I say “is”, and not “was”, because even after donation, she keeps in touch and continues to answer any questions or concerns I may have pertaining to my kidney donation.

I started with a blood draw, and then there was the tissue match test. After a couple of visits to the UNMC lab and a few phone interviews, I eventually got the call: I was a kidney donor match for Jen.

Jen and I had the blood, and then the tissue matches. We had one genetic marker match, out of six possible matches. But according to Lykke, “A zero antigen (marker) match with a living donor is still way better than a perfect match with a cadaveric donor.”

Dr. Maskin explains further: “A living donor is a better quality kidney. It takes minutes to transplant as opposed to hours, and it lasts twice as long.” According to Dr. Maskin, a living donor kidney transplant lasts 15-20 years, maybe longer. A cadaver kidney transplant typically lasts 6-10 years.

I wanted to tell Jen immediately because I wanted her to know she had a match. I wanted her to just feel some relief.

On a rainy day at Mama’s Pizza, at a long table of adults, coaches, and kids, I leaned over to my friend and quietly said, “Um, hey, I’m a match for your kidney.”

Jen’s reaction was a mixture of shock, confusion, gratitude, and speechlessness.

My twins, Max and Lucy, are 11 years old. Old enough to understand what was happening. We encouraged them to ask any questions or talk over any concerns. They were excited to be included in the process.

On a Tuesday last October, Jen and I went in for transplant surgery. Hours later, my kids assessed my state, swollen from the surgery, and were concerned. When I kissed them goodbye for the night, they cried. That was difficult, but we talked through it.

I was home and in my own bed by Thursday. Jen was home on Friday. I’d wake up achy about 6 a.m., and my husband would jump out of bed to bring me toast, coffee, and a large water. I’d eat that so I could take my pain pills, then go back to sleep for a bit. I’d work hard to get out of bed—I had no idea you use abdominals that much to get out of bed, but you do. Within a week, I was still tender, but the severe abdominal pain was gone. I was healing.

Hours after her surgery, Jen’s swelling had gone down. Jen giggles and says, “The boys said, ‘Hey Mom, your Fiona feet are gone!’”

A week after that, I was back at the football stadium, surrounded by our football family, watching our boys win a game. I returned to work after two and a half weeks. Though the UNMC Transplant team prepared me to have pretty good fatigue for at least eight weeks, my only restriction was to lift no more than 10 pounds for six weeks. It actually took me nine weeks to get my normal energy back.

Eight weeks after surgery, Jen and her husband traveled to Hawaii. Ten weeks after surgery, my husband and I took Max and Lucy to Mexico.

Someone asked a friend of mine, “How could she do that? She has young kids!”

I donated a kidney because I have young kids. I’m trying to teach them to look out for themselves by looking out for others, to be kind and smart, and help people.

There’s also the added benefit of the thorough physical I received to assure my safety during the transplant process. My dad died of heart disease, and I have a family history of cancer, so I got some peace of mind thanks to the detailed examination of my lungs, heart, kidneys, spleen, and bladder.

Jen and I are closer after the surgery but don’t get to talk every day. I gave her my kidney so that she could go back to busy mom life. We couldn’t be happier for each other that we’re both back to the busy life of a mom.