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C. Aker

Bill Sitzmun

ln the Lapof Luxury "Mo"Tajvar FineDiningwithMahmood ) MoTajvar insidehis Old Market Passport Restaurant.


." '' hether it's the rii graceful swags of fabric and mood lighting of Passport or the warm wood tones and crisp white table cloths of Omaha

Prime, located at 415 S. l1'r' St., and Passport, located at I 101 Jackson St. Although each restaurant is unique, both ofler some standard luxuries. From USDA prime grade beeFand fresh seafbod to an extensive wine list

Prime, the properties of restaurateur Mahmood "Mo" Tajvar are unmistakable. For 20 years, Tajvar has offered the residents of Omaha the finest of dining experiences, beginning with Aquarium, which was open in the late '80s, and currently at Omaha

Being a traditional "chop house," Omaha Prime has a fairly consistent menu that of'fers an array of superior beef cuts and the usual accoutrements. Passport, on the other hand, makes changes to its

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and a selection of top-qualiry cigars, any yearning a guest may have can be fulfilled. Each restaurant also of'fers a full-service bar and a heated patio where guests can enjoy a cigar after dinner. "We like four guests] to know that we did everything to make their evening as memorable as possible," Mo said.

menu every three to four months.

"First, the staff sees how [a dish] looks, how it tastes. Then, we offer it to the customer as a featured entr6e. If it receives a good response, then we make it a regular offering on the menu," said Mo. Tajvar takes great steps to ensure that he presents an exquisite dining experience to each customer. This includes keeping flexible hours. Mo has been known to take an early reservation and prepare the meal himself to oblige a guest. In addition, neither reitaurant has posted hours of operation because Tajvar wants to ensure that guests are comfbrtable and don't feel that they have to rush their meal' The restaurants close when the final guests are sated and ready to retire. It is this kind of service and accommodation that has made Passport and Omaha Prime a destination for such noteworthy guests as Matt LeBlanc, Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett. Members of Creighton's and the University of Nebraska's Athletic Departments a l so freque nt th e restau rant s , in part due to Mo being an alumnus of U.N.O. and having established relationships at the two universities. It was during college that Mo began his career in the hospitality business as a waiter and bartender at local fine dining restaurants. Tajvar also met his wife, Donna, while he was pursuing a graduate degree in veterinary medicine at U.N.O. The couple has two children, a son, Cameron, and a daughter, Sarah. "My biggest accomplishment that I a m mos t pro ud o f is m y k ids , " said Mo. Cameron, who is on the dean's list at Northwestern University, will be graduating shordy and pursuing a career in investment banking. An accomplished dancer and past Pageant title holder, Sarah has just completed her first year at TCU. "The only thing in my life that I brag about is my kids," Mo continues. "Everybody has money or a business." This might be true, but not everyone pulls it off with such panache. tMAr

Omaha, Jul/Aug 2007  

"In the Lap of Luxury: Fine Dining with Mahmood "Mo" Tajvar" by Heather C. Akerberg

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