Tag Archives: The Cooler

Look to the Skies

August 9, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, August 11: It’s that time again! Time for the Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival, and this year is bigger and better than ever. The expanded event has a new location at Leo Royal Park, just south of 204th Street and Cornhusker Road. Need a reminder of what to expect? Well, there’s hot air balloons, live music, good food and drink, shopping, paragliders, skydivers, and a KidZone area—with pony rides! If you’re lucky, on Saturday you can take a helicopter ride around the area. And of course, there’s the wine. And beer. And if you make it to the end, the beautiful, glowing hot air balloons. Get your tickets from Local Stubs here.

Friday, August 10: You know how we love partying for a good reason, and the Holy Smokes BBQ 2018 is giving us one this weekend. This annual celebration has been going strong for 13 years. This year is no different, as they will have everyone’s favorite local cover band, Secret Weapon, serving up tunes. North Omaha’s famous icy treat station, The Cooler, will be slinging sno-balls to help beat the heat alongside that sweet barbecue buffet. It all goes down at the Diamond Room in NoDo. For more information or to support the Heart Ministry Center click here. If you would like to purchase tickets to the event please email Angeles Llanas here.

Saturday, August 11: There are so many talented artists and makers in Omaha, it’s hard to take them all in. But this weekend there’s just one art show you need to get to. North Omaha Summer Arts presents An Arts Crawl 7 this Friday evening from 6-9 p.m. Started by local artist Pamela Jo Berry because she thought her neighborhood needed more art options, the event is now on its seventh year (hence the “7”). Get out and experience the arts, music, and yes, food, Berry’s neighbors have to offer. Check it out here.

Saturday, August 11 to Sunday, August 12: Thinking about teaching your old (or new) dog some tricks? You may want to check out DogstockOmaha this weekend for some pointers. If you don’t already have a dog, don’t fret. Rescue groups will be out in full force promoting adoptions of their adorable pooches. Did we mention Canines in the Clouds will have three separate performances each day? Those dogs will be diving off docks, chasing frisbees, and even climbing walls. Plus you can pick up a new collar for your favorite doggo. Sniff out more info here.

Sunday, August 12: Hosted by Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative, the Tri-Faith Picnic will provide an afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship. It kicks off at 12:30 p.m. and goes until 3 p.m. With face-painting, balloon artists, games, and a bounce house, the kiddos are sure to find something to keep them entertained while the big kids commune. Halal burgers and kosher hot dogs will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share (but no pork, shellfish or gelatin please!), and a jar or two of peanut butter to donate to the Countryside Community Cupboard. The Tri-Faith Initiative is made up of individuals who practice one of three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and strive to promote acceptance in trust in the community. Learn more about the organization and its upcoming events here.


Encounter Destinations

February 27, 2018 by


Moving Day is coming to Aksarben Village in more ways than one. Moving Day is a national day created by the Parkinson’s Foundation that is dedicated to raising awareness about Parkinson’s Disease. It is sponsored by the Omaha-based corporate headquarters of Right at Home (which happen to have their national HQ in Aksarben Village). The Omaha Moving Day walk takes place for the first time in 2018 (on April 28). Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. 

Also, rumor has it that Right at Home is considering the relocation of its headquarters.  They are looking at developing a new flagship building at one of the undeveloped plots of land in the Aksarben Village area. So, although their national headquarters might be moving, you could say they are staying “right at home.”


Get on the right side of the B Side at Benson Theatre during March and April with two side-splitting nights out with Big Canvas. The nonprofit improv comedy troupe performs at the B Side (6054 Maple St.) March 17 and April 21. Each show is 100 percent original, emerging from audience suggestions—anything from a game show in which the audience votes to a story told based on a one-word suggestion.


With the return of spring comes the return of…Bockfest! Crescent Moon and its downstairs Huber-Haus German Bier Hall host the 12th annual Bockfest Saturday, March 24, starting with the blessing and tapping of the potent Bock Bier, which has higher nutritional and alcohol contents than other beers. That’s one of the reasons, it’s said, why German monks drank it while fasting during Lent. The Crescent Moon/Huber-Haus Bockfest at 3578 Farnam St. is indoors/outdoors no matter the weather and will feature bock beers poked with a hot iron, live music, a fire pit, and plenty of delicious fare. Bockfest runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and admission is free.


Talk about “build it and they will come”…just months after Omaha Marriott Downtown at The Capitol District opened, five establishments announced they were moving into the neighborhood. Most intend to open this spring, occupying various spots in the building located along the district’s north side, bookended by the hotel and Capitol District Apartments. The list includes:

J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood

This Kansas City-based steakhouse that specializes in USDA Prime steaks and seafood cooked over open wood fire by master grill chefs.

Lighthouse Pizza

The locally owned shop with a flagship location at 74th and Pacific streets is known for 9-inch slices, hand-cut fries with toppings, late hours, and delivery. The new location will feature an outdoor patio along the district’s plaza.

Annie’s Irish Pub

This upscale pub is well-known in other cities for its annual St. Patrick’s Day block party and features an extensive beer selection, sports on TV, and DJs on weekends.

Beer Can Alley

A “100 percent country music bar” that features live performances by local and national acts.

The Exchange

This Wall Street-themed bar, based in Des Moines, displays rising and falling drink prices on a real-time ticker based on drink popularity (with random “market crashes” at least once per hour that cause drink prices to plummet).



Don’t let your teen tell you there’s nothing to do. There’s plenty to do at Dundee’s A.V. Sorensen Library (4808 Cass St.) beginning March 5 with Teen Tech Week. The fun begins with Merge Cube, the world’s first holographic toy that can merge the physical and digital worlds. Robot Recess, meanwhile, offers the opportunity to drive, build, program, and play with a variety of robots and tech toys (including BB-8 of Star Wars fame). Gaming also is available on Sorensen’s new Nintendo Switch gaming system or with the Minecraft Club.


What’s new in Midtown? Almost always something. Recently that includes the newly opened Pickleman’s and Long Dog Fat Cat, neighbors at 3201 Farnam St. The sandwich chain was founded in 2005 in Columbia, Missouri, and now features nearly two dozen Midwest outlets. The Midtown Pickleman’s (suite 6108) is the fourth in Omaha. It made quite a first impression, too, giving away free subs to the first 100 customers. At adjacent suite 6104, Long Dog Fat Cat opened its third Omaha location offering all-natural pet foods, grooming, and supplies for folks with furry friends.


The Kiewit presence is about to get bigger in North Downtown—A LOT bigger. In December, the Fortune 500 construction and engineering giant announced plans to develop new corporate headquarters adjacent to its Kiewit University on the corner of 14th and Mike Fahey streets. Kiewit and Mayor Stothert executed a memorandum of understanding in December regarding the proposed project, which will feature a parking garage and office building five to nine stories tall. It keeps the company in the city it’s called home since 1884. Kiewit opened Kiewit University in February 2017, using it to train and develop more than 3,000 employees from across North America each year.


Let there be light—and lots of it at Kaneko. The artsy 1111 Jones St. hangout is hosting the mesmerizing exhibition light through March 28. The exhibit explores the art and science of light through performances, lectures, youth education, and hands-on creative experiences. Artists employ glass, sculpture, and light itself to showcase the sublime beauty light evokes. Wow-factor insights are provided into vision and optics, the physiology of light energy, sustainability, light pollution, and conservation. And audience participation is at a premium. Visitors can step inside an audiovisual “infinite abyss”; interact with and move through large geometric forms that change color, audio, and intensity; or enter a “cocoon” of stainless steel, acrylic, and LEDs that absorb participants in a field of playable light. And here’s something more to brighten your day: admission to light is free.


Hungry for some authentic south of the border fare? Why drive all over Omaha when you can walk a four-block stretch on Vinton Street to find a handful of delicious options? Start at 20th street, where you’ll find Isla del Mar Restaurante (3034 S. 20th). Next comes Taqueria El Rey III (formerly housing El Aguila at 1837 Vinton), then La Salvadoreña (1702 Vinton), and the Churro Spot (1621 Vinton). End with something for the sweet tooth at Nietos Panaderia (1620 Vinton).


If you’d like a cool taste of New Orleans circa the 1930s, you’ll soon be able to get it at The Cooler Sno-Balls, slated for a March 1 opening at 2323 N. 24th St. The Cooler already made a name for itself with its mobile truck, offering the treat that got its start in Big Easy neighborhoods more than 80 years ago. A sno-ball ain’t no snow cone, though. Cooler Sno-Balls feature soft, fluffy shaved ice that retains all the flavor of The Cooler’s hand-mixed syrups: blue raspberry, grape, cherry, apple, watermelon, and much more.

This article appears in the March/April 2018 edition of Encounter.