Omaha’s essential 38 restaurants are live on

It would be accurate to say I’ve been thinking about Omaha’s 38 essential restaurants for a decade. I finally got the opportunity to make it real: My list is live right now on What an honor to have been asked.

Many ask how one puts together such a list, and let me tell you, it’s a time consuming task that requires a lot of thought and a lot of revisions. I revised the list several times before I turned in a first draft, removing places in favor of new places, going and trying new recommendations I’d heard about and making some tough choices. Then I made more changes after I turned in that first draft, resulting in the list you see online today, of what I think are Omaha’s essential bars, coffee shops and restaurants.

“Essential” gets challenging. What that means to me: it is a place I’d send an out-of-towner. A place that defines what Omaha’s food scene is about, or defines a specific neighborhood in our city, or that somehow helps back up the idea that our town has a diverse, exciting, ever changing food scene. It includes both classics and newer places, and a handful of places I hope some readers have never visited before.

Are there places I left off? Absolutely. I’ll be writing about a handful of them here. Are there places I’ve rediscovered — or discovered — after my deadline and wished I’d added? Yes to that, too.

At the end of the day, I think it’s a damn solid list.

Now, I’m ready to hear what you think. What are your Omaha Essentials? Let’s talk in the comments.

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