Tag Archives: orsi’s bakery and pizzeria

Ways to Warm up your Weekend

February 22, 2018 by

PICK OF THE WEEK—Saturday, Feb. 24: Yeah, baby. Feeling nostalgic for 1960s London? OK, probably not, but you should still experience Perfect Pour: A Craft Cocktail Competition at Slowdown, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Your favorite bartenders will be showing off their significant skills, competing to make the best gin cocktails you’ve ever had. We’re not talking about your momma’s G&Ts here, this is quality stuff. You’ll also get the chance to bid on local art and listen to music from the Beatles tribute musicians, the Come Together Band. All this fun isn’t just so you get to use the word “shag” again. It’s to raise money for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. Ticket sales were extended, so get yours here.

Thursday, Feb. 22: Need a little pop of happiness in your life? Then catch The Shineys at the Harney Street Tavern Thursday night at 9 p.m. These women are known for powerhouse harmonizing and catchy ukulele beats. They come fierce with both original songs and unique takes on several covers. Forged from the fires of their respective troubled times, their music is a surefire pick-me-up to get you over the dreariness of the work week and ready for the weekend. But don’t take our word for it. Head downtown, grab a Manhattan, and listen to them tell you all about it. Find out more about the duo here.

Friday, Feb. 23: Lent is all about the fish. But it doesn’t have to be. Save a Fish, Eat Pasta! Lenten dinners at St. Stanislaus Church start this Friday and last through March. If fish just isn’t your thing but you still want the camaraderie of eating Friday night dinner with a group of like-minded fun seekers, get to St. Stans tomorrow. Enjoy pasta, Orsi’s pizza, and/or handmade pierogis. And of course, beer. Get there by 5:30 and skip the dinner planning. Learn all about it here.

Friday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 25: More music, because music heals and with all the sickness going around, who doesn’t need a little healing? Matt Whipkey is just the kind of soul-healing, unabashed rock and roll to get you back on your feet. Literally. You can see his always-energetic performance at Reverb Lounge, starting at 9 p.m. on Friday (with Stephen Sheehan) and 6 p.m. on Sunday (with Charlie Ames), just in case you miss it the first time around. Or if you just want to see an encore performance. Get more info here.

Saturday, Feb 24: Music fans, you heard right. Country music singer and songwriter Dylan Schneider is going to be at the Bourbon Saloon this Saturday. This rising star is on tour and he’ll be right here in Omaha this weekend. This fan fanatic is breaking out on his own and you can be there to see him live. Get more information and your tickets here now, because they’re going fast!

Photo contributed by: Omaha Public Library

Sunday, Feb. 25: Is there a more relaxing way to end the weekend than by reading to a dog? Well, sorry adults! The Read to a Dog at the Omaha Public Library event is really more for the children. Take the kids to the Milton R. Abrahams branch and let them learn to read by entertaining the incredible registered therapy dogs graciously brought in by their owners. Plus, who’s to say you can’t read along? To find out more about this puptastic experience, bound on over here.

Little Italy, Big Flavor

August 12, 2014 by and
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

One recent Sunday, the delicious scent of fresh-baked bread and a hodgepodge of other yummy smells wafted outside the Orsi’s building at 6th and Pacific. A steady stream of customers flowed in and out of the building. They made friendly conversation with employees while grabbing bread for Sunday dinner along with domestic and imported meats, cheeses, and olives for the perfect antipasto plate. Others snagged a prized and piping hot pizza to go.

In the back, hustling to make it all happen, was Jim Hall.

Hall’s first job was at Orsi’s. Times and labor laws have changed since a then 8-year-old boy wrapped bread and buns in paper bags. Now he and his wife, Kathy, own the Little Italy landmark.

“It’s been part of me my whole life,” Hall says. Before he returned full-time as owner, Hall worked at UPS and OPPD, but always kept a weekend shift at Orsi’s.

Founded by Alfonso and Raphael Orsi in 1919, the bakery descended through the family over the years. In 2006, Hall and Bobby Orsi Jr. took ownership from Bob Orsi, adding a deli counter with meats, cheeses, olives, oils, and dry goods around 2007. In 2010, the Halls became full owners.

If anyone thinks that the Halls’ full ownership signaled the changing of the family guard, they’d be at least figuratively wrong. Hall, an informally adopted Orsi, has been part of the lifeblood of the iconic South Omaha outfit most of his life.

By age 12 Hall was entrusted with a set of keys and, along with an older neighborhood kid, opened up early each Sunday morning to start baking bread.

“I’ve been here on Sundays since 1967,” says Hall. “I’m German-Austrian by heritage, but I’m an adopted Italian.”

He describes the South Omaha of his youth as an ethnically diverse place where “everyone got along,” but each proud population had their own churches, groceries, bakeries, and bars. Unfortunately, this tradition of niche family businesses isn’t as prevalent as it once was.

“This is all that’s left of Little Italy besides Cascio’s now,” Hall muses. “These places were the special gems of the city.”

But the pendulum is always swinging.

“People are moving back down here now and it’s revitalizing the area,” he says. “It’s a lot more vibrant again.”

Hall still works long hours along with Kathy, who handles bookkeeping. They suspect that many such businesses shutter when a family’s sons and daughters aren’t keen on the grueling time commitment involved in many small businesses.

“If there’s no one in the next generation to take it over,” he notes, “a lot of them have faded on.”

Hall says it may not be his kids, but perhaps one of the next generation of neighborhood kids—just like he once was—who pick up the Orsi’s baton when the time comes.

But not just yet. It’s Orsi’s 95th year in business, and Hall says he will see it to the century mark and beyond.

“I was always part of the family,” he adds, “and I want to keep going.” I know our customers and like making them happy. And having new people discover us. Once they taste, they’ll be back.”

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