Omaha Magazine June 2024 Hotel

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board president Mark Gudgel for a glass or two and his input regarding his expertise, making for a delightful pairing with our other scrumptious stories that fill these pages.

Get ready for tingling taste buds! As you turn this page, we raise a toast to you. Bon appétit!

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001 From the Editor Caution

004 Between the Lines

005 Calendar of Events

026 Adventure Hogan’s Hero

034 History Biscuits & Brioche

073 Obviously Omaha Food Challenges

091 Explore!




012 Visual Empty Bowls

016 Theater VROOM!

020 Literacy Deli Diaries

022 Food Styling Dessie Price


074 Feature Little Italy

078 Profile Camille's Bakery

080 Review Memoir

083 Dining Guide

* Note: The hotel edition of Omaha Magazine has a different cover and does not include all of the editorial content included in the magazine’s full city edition. For more information on our city edition, visit 022

Listen to the entire issue here. Open the camera on your smart device and hover over the QR code.

// 2 // JUNE 2024




GEORGE STEVENS Contributing Writer

Born in Omaha, George is the youngest of six. He graduated from University of Nebraska Omaha in the spring of 2024 with a BFA in Creative Writing concentrating on Creative Nonfiction and a minor in English. It was during his time at UNO that he started writing anything from restaurant features to coverage on supreme court decisions for Daily Record. When George isn’t sitting somewhere filling one of his four working notebooks, he can be found dancing to live music, or making art to hang on his walls. He also takes his role as the fun uncle to his seven nieces and nephews very seriously. George is currently trying to perfect his raspberry hot sauce and peach jam recipes. He dreams to find a full time writing position for a newspaper or magazine until he transitions into screenwriting. If you see him out driving, screaming along to Bad Brains or Cleo Sol feel free to sing along.

Contributing Writer

Brandi has spent four years in communication and 1.5 years in the public relations industry. Ever since she was a child, she has loved writing and storytelling, which is how she became so enthralled in the publishing industry. That interest expanded when she changed her major to Fashion Merchandising during her undergraduate career and was inspired to move to New York to study at New York University, majoring in Publishing: Digital and Print Media. Brandi’s interest in PR sparked while working and interning for print magazines. She was responsible for meeting with various PR agencies when she worked at ELLE Magazine as a Freelance Beauty, Health, and Fitness Assistant. Additionally, she was one of the first interns for (now Oprah Daily) and was the byline author of several articles throughout the years.


Sarah Eve Lemke is an Omaha, Nebraska, native and third generation family member of Omaha Magazine. She has contributed photography to Omaha Publications for 10 years and currently serves in her new role as photo editor. Lemke studied professional photography at Brooks Institute in Ventura, California, and the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She has spent time working in Los Angeles, California, as a first photo assistant, and second assistant director in various commercial productions. In her free time, Lemke is an avid motorcycle rider, completing solo cross-country trips every summer her favorite way to experience adventure and meditation simultaneously.




Senior Writer


Associate Editor & Staff Writer


Assignment Editor & Staff Writer


Contributing Writers


Creative Director RACHEL BIRDSALL

Senior Graphic Designer RENEÉ

Vice President Sales & Marketing GIL COHEN Branding & Digital Specialists DAWN DENNIS · GEORGE IDELMAN GREG BRUNS · TIM McCORMACK FRANCINE
Publisher’s Assistant & OmahaHome Contributing Editor SANDY MATSON
Sales Coordinator ALICIA
M c
Manager KYLE
Ad Traffic Manager DAVID TROUBA Digital Manager LUIS DE LA TOBA
Publisher TODD
Associate Publisher BILL SITZMANN For Advertising & Subscription Information : 402.884.2000 Omaha Magazine Vol 42 Issue III, publishes monthly except February, April, August, December, totaling 8 issues by Omaha Magazine, LTD, 5921 S. 118 Circle, Omaha, NE 68137. Periodical postage at Omaha, NE, and additional offices and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Omaha Magazine, 5921 S. 118 Circle, Omaha, NE 68137 // 4 // JUNE 2024


The metro is jam packed with tons do—art, concerts, theater, festivals—we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive list and highlighted picks!

Music Art Festival


Holland Performing Arts Center

June 12, 7 p.m

1200 Douglas St.

Join 24-year-old American jazz singer Samara Joy as she hits the Omaha stage. The Bronx native stepped onto the jazz scene with her debut album in 2021, later releasing her Grammy® Award-winning second album, “Linger Awhile,” establishing herself as the genre’s latest sensation. Her velvety voice, already endorsed by icons like Anita Baker and Regina King, has graced platforms from the TODAY Show to TikTok, garnering millions of fans. Despite her youth, she effortlessly interprets timeless classics on “Linger Awhile,” showcasing a sophistication beyond her years. Her triumph at the 2023 Grammy Awards, where she claimed Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best New Artist, solidified her status as the vanguard of Gen-Z jazz vocalists. 402.345.0202


The Durham Museum June 22–October 13 801 S 10th St.

Renowned English primatologist and anthropologist, Dr. Jane Goodall, has dedicated over six decades to studying the intricate social dynamics of wild chimpanzees, earning her the esteemed title of the world’s foremost expert on these creatures. Founding the Jane Goodall Institute and serving as a UN Messenger of Peace, she has fearlessly delved into the depths of the unknown, off ering humanity profound insights into our closest relatives. Th is captivating multimedia exhibition pays homage to Dr. Goodall’s remarkable life and groundbreaking work. Encountering a life-sized hologram of Dr. Goodall and stepping into a replica of her research tent, visitors will gain a fi rsthand understanding of her tireless dedication to conservation. Organized and presented by the National Geographic Society in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, this exhibition not only celebrates Dr. Goodall’s legacy, but also inspires visitors to take action toward positive change in the world. 402.444.5071


Malcolm X Memorial Foundation

June 15, 10 a.m. 3448 Evans St.

The Omaha Freedom Festival is an all-day, family-friendly event that expands upon Omaha’s NAACP Juneteenth Parade to off er education, entertainment, and access to local resources. After the Juneteenth Parade at 10 a.m., the fun continues at the Omaha Freedom Festival. All are invited to join an unforgettable celebration at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Outside Event Plaza at 3448 Evans St., from 12–5 p.m.

The event is a chance to have fun with your community and off ers the chance to win a variety of prizes. Experience free daytime activities and a concert from 7 p.m. to midnight. Hosted by Freedomtainment, a 501c3 non-profit organization in North Omaha, this festival commemorates the Juneteenth holiday, honoring the emancipation of enslaved individuals in the United States. Main sponsors for this year’s event include Union Pacific, Google, Quality Clinical Research, and the Charles Drew Health Center. 531.772.0842

JUNE 2024 // 5 //




» Exhibitions «


rough June 7 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Experience the artistic endeavors of students from Arts For ME! (AFM) at KANEKO art center. AFM advocates for adaptive art programs for alternative students, passionately sharing their teaching philosophy and approach through art education. Collaborating with educators and artists globally, AFM harnesses diverse perspectives and expertise to enrich their programs. Step into a world of student creativity at the spring exhibition, and witness the transformative power of art in fostering inclusivity and self-expression. 402.341.3800 —


June 7–9 at CHI Health Center, 455 N 10th St. Prepare for an unforgettable weekend packed with adventure! Bring the whole family to experience the world of animated life-size dinosaurs at CHI Health Center. Delight in meeting baby dinos (expertly maneuvered puppet) and embark on fossil excavation adventures. Featuring the largest and most realistic dinosaur exhibit on tour, including the towering 60-foot spinosaurus, an 80-foot apatosaurus, and a life-sized T. rex, this event promises excitement for all ages. Kids can also enjoy dinosaur-themed bounce houses and unleash their creativity at the crafts table, with free activities like crafting paper dinosaurs and coloring dino-themed artworks. 402.341.1500 —



June 21–23 at Cali Commons, 518 N 40th St. Upcoming at Cali Commons, a vibrant community space dedicated to showcasing local artists, is an exciting exhibition titled “Layers of Identity.” Featuring the works of artists George Garrett III, Eduardo Gardea, and Jenna Jaff ery, this exhibition delves into the intricate journey of self-discovery and understanding. Th rough intentional exploration, these artists illuminate the multifaceted nature of human identity, influenced by our own experiences, cultures, and environments. As we navigate through life, the artists explain, our identities evolve and are shaped by both controllable and uncontrollable factors. 402.513.2321 —

rough July 9 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. “Plant Folk” by artist Anne Newman is an enchanting upcoming exhibition at Lauritzen Gardens. Newman’s captivating series comprises anthropomorphic plant portraits, vividly depicting plants in expressive motion. Inspired by the rich folklore surrounding mandrakes, the project evolved into an exploration of various plant species attaining consciousness and mobility. Each artwork invites viewers to contemplate the dynamic relationship between humanity and the botanical world, off ering a whimsical, yet thought-provoking perspective on the interconnectedness of all living beings within the natural realm. 402.346.4002



rough July 9 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Th is showcase presents a charming collection of portraits, capturing the artist’s cherished houseplants alongside vibrant paintings inspired by flowers from her garden. Sanders’ artistry unfolds in a captivating blend of grayscale and full-color compositions, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of nature. Th rough her artwork, Sanders celebrates the simple joys and profound connections found within the world of botanicals, off ering a refreshing perspective on the harmony between humans and plants. 402.346.4002



rough July 14 at e Durham Museum, 801 S 10th St. During the early 20th century, as westward settlement surged, South Dakota witnessed the onset of the Second Dakota Boom. It was during this period that brothers Ernest, Graydon, and Frank Jackson, Jr. ventured into Rosebud Reservation territory and initiated their business venture, Mulehead Ranch. Showcasing its legacy, this exhibition features nine captivating images sourced from the institution’s photo archive, illustrating the profound impact of the ranch on the local landscape and culture. Th is show is curated by Creighton University graduate and intern at The Durham Museum, Eve Aspinwall. 402.444.5071


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rough August 25 at e Durham Museum, 801 S 10th St. Over his lifetime, Byron Reed amassed a diverse collection of documents penned by historical fi gures and eyewitnesses to significant events. These authors range from royalty and explorers to early colonists. Th is upcoming Durham exhibit will showcase a curated selection of documents from Reed’s collection, accompanied by detailed historical and biographical narratives. Furthermore, visitors will delve into the realm of “graphology,” a study suggesting that handwriting reflects personality traits. Local handwriting analyst Rolando Garcia will provide insights into each document, off ering brief observations gleaned from analyzing the writing styles. 402.444.5071



rough September 15 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S 12th St. Th is exhibition showcases a curated selection of both new and borrowed works spanning the past fi ve years, off ering a unique glimpse into Raven Halfmoon’s evolving creative exploration. Halfmoon’s artistic practice encompasses a range of stoneware sculptures, from torso-scaled to colossal-sized pieces, some reaching heights of nine feet and weighing over 800 pounds. Drawing inspiration from ancient Indigenous pottery, Moai statues, and land art, Halfmoon delves into the intricate interplay among tradition, history, gender, and personal narrative. 402.341.7130




June 1, 7:30 p.m., at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the dynamic synergy between Jacob Nissly, Principal Percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony, and Maestro Ankush Kumar Bahl as they present Adam Schoenberg’s “Losing Earth Percussion Concerto” alongside the Omaha Symphony. Th is riveting composition, dedicated to Nissly, confronts the urgency of climate change while showcasing his virtuosity. Embark on an emotional journey with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” as its stirring melodies and profound themes captivate the soul. Th is musical masterpiece promises to linger in your memory. 402.345.0202 —


June 4, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Musician, songwriter, entertainer, and preservationist Pokey LaFarge stands as a special fi gure in American music. His talents defy genre boundaries, showcasing his innovative spirit and commitment to musical evolution. With his latest album, “Rhumba Country,” LaFarge unveils a renewed dedication to crafting music that exudes pure joy, marking a significant milestone in his musical journey. 402.884.5353 —


June 4, 8 p.m., at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and musician Molly Tuttle, along with her band Golden Highway, are bringing their “Down The Rabbit Hole” Tour to Omaha. Their latest album, “City of Gold,” under Nonesuch Records, follows Tuttle’s critically acclaimed 2022 record, “Crooked Tree,” which secured the title of Best Bluegrass Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. Tuttle’s distinctive style seamlessly blends American roots music with singer-songwriter fi nesse. “City of Gold” continues this tradition, marrying the improvisatory spirit of bluegrass with sophisticated songwriting. 402.345.7569 —


June 5, 8 p.m., at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Established in 2015, TopHouse initially emerged as a musical collaboration between Jesse Davis, a guitarist and songwriter, and William Cook, a violinist, both of whom were music composition majors at the University of Montana. The duo’s shared passion for music propelled them to start performing together immediately, despite the absence of a drummer and vocalist. Over time, they transitioned to performing at local farmer’s markets, coff ee shops, breweries, and weddings. In 2016, singer, songwriter, and guitarist/banjo player Joseph Larson joined the band, followed by pianist Andy LaFave in 2022. 402.345.7569 —


June 7, 7 p.m., at CHI Health Center, 455 N 10th St. Back in Omaha, the familiar singer-songwriter Tim McGraw graces the country music scene once again with the “Standing Room Only Tour.” With a staggering 40 million albums sold in the US alone, McGraw is an iconic presence in American country music. Renowned as a singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor, he boasts an impressive discography comprising 16 studio albums. Ten of these albums have soared to the top spot on the Top Country Albums charts, with his 1994 breakthrough release, “Not a Moment Too Soon,” reigning as the top country album of the year. 402.341.1500 —


June 7, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Zepparella stands as the ultimate powerhouse tribute to Led Zeppelin. With vocalist Anna Kristina, guitarist Gretchen Menn, bassist Holly West, and drummer Clementine at the helm, their devotion to the legendary band’s music has taken them across the globe. Their performances capture the intricate nuances and depth of Led Zeppelin’s catalog while paying homage to the electrifying improvisational prowess that defi ned Zeppelin’s live shows. 402.884.5353



June 7, 8 p.m., at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Avi Kaplan, an American singer-songwriter, gained recognition as the former vocal bass of the a cappella sensation Pentatonix from 2011 to 2017. Transitioning to his solo career with 2017's “Sage and Stone,” Kaplan already boasted a global following, having earned three Grammy Awards with Pentatonix. Despite the group’s escalating success, Kaplan felt compelled to reconnect with his artistic roots, drawing inspiration from the organic sounds of country and soul music that shaped his upbringing in rural California. 402.345.7569



June 8, 7:05 p.m., at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Th roughout the nation and beyond, June marks a time of celebration and introspection for the LGBTQ+ community. In alignment with Pride Month, River City Mixed Chorus proudly presents “Here's Where We Stand,” a concert showcasing songs selected by members. Th is event pays homage to 40 years of music dedicated to love, joy, and the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. Th e concert further amplifies RCMC’s commitment to inclusivity and advocacy. 402.345.0202



June 9 at CHI Health Center, 455 N 10th St. Finally bringing the show to an Omaha stage, Lionel Richie extended his acclaimed “Sing A Song All Night Long” tour, featuring special guests Earth, Wind & Fire, one of the best-selling bands in history. Get ready to groove to classics like “Boogie Wonderland” and “All Night Long!” With an illustrious career boasting an Oscar, fi ve Grammys, and 16 American Music Awards, Richie is renowned for his live performances. Earth, Wind and Fire, with six Grammys and four American Music Awards, are celebrated members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, having sold over 90 million records worldwide. 402.341.1500



June 10, 7:30 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. One of the most buzzed-about jam bands, Goose boasts a sold-out performance record at iconic venues like Red Rocks. Since their debut album release in 2016, Goose has captivated audiences with their distinctive blend of infectious songwriting, musicianship, and dynamic improvisation. Their success reached new heights in 2022 with the release of their third studio album, “dripfield.” Garnering critical acclaim from esteemed publications such as Rolling Stone, which lauded it as “both sweet headphone ear candy and the foundation for a perfect live peak,” “dripfield” solidified Goose’s status as a musical phenomenon. 402.345.0606 —

// 8 // JUNE 2024



June 11, 6 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Michael Franti, a globally recognized musician, activist, and fi lmmaker, is acclaimed for his high-energy performances, inspiring music, and philanthropic eff orts. His latest album, “Follow Your Heart,” with his band Spearhead, debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes Pop Chart, showcasing his enduring talents. Meanwhile, Stephen Marley, an eight-time Grammy-winning reggae pioneer and son of musical legends Bob and Rita Marley, has forged his own path, infusing reggae with hip hop and soul elements, as demonstrated in his solo endeavors and collaborations with iconic artists like Jack Johnson and Bob Weir. 402.345.0606 —


June 13, 8 p.m., at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Formed in Columbia, South Carolina, Th e Movement is an American reggae band. Th e two founding members, Josh Swain and Jordan Miller, enlisted the talents of musicians Jay Schmidt and Gary Jackson, forming their live rhythm section. Their latest album, “Always With Me,” is available now. Since their inception, The Movement has garnered a devoted following among alternative-reggae enthusiasts, drawing influence from bands like Sublime, 311, Slightly Stoopid, and John Brown’s Body. Renowned for their versatile sound anchored in heavy drum and bass, they continue to evolve as reggae shapeshifters. 402.345.7569 —


June 13–15, Multiple venues in 3 Districts: Benson, Midtown, and the Old Market. Hook n Sync presents an impactful three-day concert event featuring a solid line up of the best local, regional, and national bands. The event is a true multi-venue, multi-stage, indoor/outdoor concert experience that includes live music from all genres played throughout the city. —


June 19, 7:30 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. ARROWS IN ACTION, composed of singer and guitarist Victor Viramontes-Pattison, guitarist Matthew Fowler, and drummer Jesse Frimmel, have swiftly risen from undergraduate students to underground sensations. Their music, characterized by a fusion of angular indie-rock, ‘80s electric vibes, and sweet alt-pop, has captivated over half a million Spotify listeners. With their seamless melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and lush sonic landscapes, ARROWS IN ACTION continue to make waves in the music scene. 402.884.5353



June 20, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Sham 69 is an English punk rock group formed in Hersham, Surrey, in 1975. They have been recognized as a significant influence on the Oi! subgenre of U.K. punk during the late 1970s, as well as on the working-class street punk movement of the 1980s. 402.884.5353



June 23, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. As pioneers of early 2000s indie-Americana, Murder by Death, hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, infuses traditional rock-and-roll with a twist, crafting an eerie, emotive, and distinctive sound uniquely their own. Beyond their ominous name and Kentucky roots lies a band of literary songwriters, known for their brooding balladry and orchestral indie rock. Murder By Death’s journey began in the early 2000s, playing to intimate crowds at local venues and house parties. Over two decades, they’ve released eight albums, maintained a rigorous touring schedule, and cultivated a devoted fanbase. 402.884.5353



June 26, 8 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Hailing from West Virginia, Charles Wesley Godwin is an American country-folk artist. His second album, “How the Mighty Fall,” released in 2021, garnered acclaim for its shift toward storytelling beyond his own experiences. Godwin toured with Zach Bryan and collaborated on Bryan’s song “Jamie” for the 2022 EP “Summertime Blues.” Additionally, Godwin’s track “Winter’s Come and Gone” was featured on the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: The Ballads of Songbirds & Snakes.” 402.345.0606



June 28, 7 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Yächtley Crëw, a seven-piece yacht rock band, emerged onto the California club scene in 2017, quickly becoming a local sensation and eventually gaining national recognition as a touring act. Th eir debut six-song EP, “Seas the Day,” features their original track, “S*x on the Beach,” and embodies the yacht rock genre revival, celebrating soft rock and Top 40 hits from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s. Known as “The Titans of Soft Rock,” Yächtley Crëw brings classics to the stage adorned in nautical suits and captain hats. 402.345.0606


JUNE 2024 // 9 //



June 2, 7 p.m., at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Comedian Brad Williams has risen to become one of the most sought-after comedic talents of our time. Beginning his stand-up career in his teenage years, Williams has since embarked on a handful of successful tours, consistently selling out esteemed venues across the globe. He has graced both the big screen and television with his presence. Born with achondroplasia, Williams continues to captivate audiences with his unique perspective and boundless humor. 402.345.0202 —


June 7–23 at e Rose eater, 2001 Farnam St. Experience the enchanting production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at The Rose Th eater. Join young Charlie Bucket and four other fortunate winners as they embark on an extraordinary adventure through Willy Wonka’s enigmatic candy factory. Encounter chocolate waterfalls, nutty squirrels, and remarkable television technology, all unveiled by Wonka’s inquisitive Oompa-Loompas. Th is delightful performance, including the beloved song “Pure Imagination,” is your golden ticket to a magical journey based on Roald Dahl’s novel, featuring songs from the motion picture by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. 402.345.4849  —


June 12–16 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Bringing the beloved 2003 Disney Pixar fi lm to Omaha, “Finding Nemo Jr.” tells the heartwarming tale of Marlin, an anxious clownfi sh, and his adventurous son, Nemo. Living in the Great Barrier Reef, Nemo dreams of exploring the vast ocean beyond their anemone home. However, when Nemo is captured and taken to Sydney, Australia, Marlin embarks on a courageous journey to rescue him. Along the way, they encounter unforgettable characters like the optimistic Dory, laid-back sea turtle Crush, and the supportive Tank Gang, overcoming obstacles and discovering the true meaning of family and friendship. Featuring beloved songs like “Just Keep Swimming,” “Fish Are Friends Not Food,” and “Go With the Flow,” the show immerses audiences in a vibrant underwater world fi lled with adventure. 402.553.0800 —


rough June 9 at Orpheum eater, 409 S 16th St. “Moulin Rouge! Th e Musical” takes center stage in Omaha, triumphing with 10 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical. Step into a world of opulence, romance, and extravagant spectacle, where Bohemians and aristocrats mingle in a whirlwind of enchantment. Baz Luhrmann’s iconic fi lm gets a vibrant new life on stage, remixed into a dazzling musical extravaganza. Directed by Tony Award® winner Alex Timbers, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” has an all-star creative team, including Tony Award® winners John Logan, Justin Levine, and Sonya Tayeh. 402.661.8501 —

June 29, 7 p.m., at CHI Health Center, 455 N 10th St. Following the triumph of his February show in Omaha, comedian Nate Bargatze is expanding “The Be Funny Tour” into the summer of 2024 with additional performances, including another lucky stop in Omaha. Dubbed “Th e Nicest Man in Stand-Up” by Th e Atlantic Magazine, Bargatze is a Grammy-nominated comedian from Nashville, Tennessee. Renowned for his over 10 appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and his Netfl ix specials, Bargatze continues to garner widespread acclaim for his comedic talents. 402.341.1500


// 10 // JUNE 2024


rough June 30 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. “Hello, Dolly!,” recipient of 15 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Revival, is gracing the stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Th is timeless musical masterpiece epitomizes classic theater entertainment. Bursting with showmanship, glamor, romance, dance, humor, and iconic musical numbers, “Hello, Dolly!” promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re encountering Dolly for the fi rst time or revisiting her charm, this grand production is sure to leave a lasting impression. 402.553.0800 —


June 1, 4 p.m., at Upland Park, 3104 Je erson St. Upland Park once again hosts the eagerly anticipated Global Sounds festival, a collaborative eff ort with Canopy South. Th is vibrant event celebrates cultural diversity through music, dance, culinary delights, and community engagement. Presented in partnership with Omaha Performing Arts, the festival features a diverse lineup of local and national artists, providing a platform for both established and emerging talents. Moreover, it serves as a conduit for local vendors and nonprofit organizations, while also off ering a delectable array of ethnic cuisines from food trucks. Spearheaded by Canopy South, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the holistic revitalization of South Omaha neighborhoods, the festival aligns with the mission of fostering economic mobility. Th rough initiatives like mixed-income housing development, educational support, and community enhancement programs, Canopy South continues to enrich the fabric of our neighborhoods. 402.345.0606 —


rough June 2 at Heartland of America Park at e RiverFront, 800 Douglas St. Now in its 27th year, the Taste of Omaha festival has become a staple in the city, drawing people from across the Midwest to indulge in an array of culinary delights. Omaha’s fi nest restaurants will showcase their creations, off ering something for every palate. Attendees can enjoy live cooking demonstrations, peruse vendors, and groove to live music at the Heartland of America Park on Th e RiverFront. Th e 2024 event promises exceptional entertainment with daily performances on multiple stages, featuring top national acts and popular local bands—all free of charge for attendees to enjoy throughout the three-day extravaganza. 402.346.8003 —



June 2, 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Join the Omaha Rose Society for their annual Rose Day and Show, dedicated to fostering the culture and admiration for roses. Gardeners from across the region will showcase exquisite rose blooms cultivated in their own gardens. Explore the Robert H. Storz Family Rose Garden, featuring over 200 cultivars of garden roses, and engage with consulting rosarians to gain insights into rose cultivation and care. Share your passion for roses by participating as an exhibitor and showcasing the fi nest blooms from your garden; all are welcome to enter roses from their home gardens for the show. 402.346.4002



June 20, 7 p.m., at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Embark on a delightful journey with Jim Locklear, the founding director of conservation at Lauritzen Gardens and the author of “In the Country of the Kaw: A Personal Natural History of the American Plains.” Join Locklear as he joyously explores the realm of the Kaw River, a unique waterway that originates and traverses all three major grasslands—the shortgrass, mixedgrass, and tallgrass prairies. Locklear will delve into the region’s abundant biological diversity and recount tales of human engagement with the landscape, illustrating how nature has influenced culture and vice versa.




June 3 & 10 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Join Lauritzen Gardens for another special event catered to your best friend and bring your leashes! Accompany your furry companion on a leisurely stroll through scenic grounds, embracing the great outdoors together. It’s a relaxed and enjoyable opportunity for the whole family to explore 100 acres and miles of trails. Water and treats will be provided at various stations throughout the garden, ensuring a delightful experience for all. 402.346.4002  —


June 29, 6 p.m., at Gene Leahy Mall, 1001 Douglas St. Head to Gene Leahy Mall for a memorable evening of light and camaraderie at the Water Lantern Festival. Participate in the unforgettable experience fi lled with food trucks, lively music, engaging activities, and thousands of lanterns illuminating the water. Th is event creates cherished memories for all attendees, bringing together friends, families, neighbors, and strangers alike in a peaceful and unforgettable celebration. The festival’s eco-conscious approach ensures that the lanterns, crafted from rice paper and wood, are environmentally friendly, with LED candles that are reused and recycled. 402.599.6565


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JUNE 2024 // 11 //

Empty Bowls,

Full Hearts

Amy Nelson's Civic Engagement Through Art

Within Creighton University’s halls, Amy Nelson, a ceramist and associate professor of Fine Art, sits with her hands deep in clay and her heart set on community. Her teaching curriculum is a fusion of artistic passion and civic engagement, represented by the hundreds of ceramic bowls of various colors, shapes, and sizes that line the studio. A respected ceramics instructor, Nelson’s journey into the realm of civic-minded artistry began long before her tenure at Creighton.

Pottery was personal to Nelson during her formative years. She recounted how a potter’s demonstration in her freshman high school art class ignited her fascination with ceramics, leading her to become somewhat obsessed with the craft as a teen.

“I took my fi rst college pottery class during my freshman year at Creighton as an undergraduate, which has influenced a lot of my teaching now and who I am as an artist,” Nelson reflected. Th is initial fascination laid the groundwork for what would become her life’s work—blending artistic expression with community service.

Upon joining Creighton’s faculty full time in 2006, Nelson embarked on a transformative endeavor that carries on today—Empty Bowls, an international project to fi ght hunger for which participants create ceramic bowls the public can purchase. Integrated into a service-learning class led by Nelson within the university’s art program, Creighton students craft hundreds of bowls for their bi-annual sale. Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the Siena Francis House, the primary provider of services to homeless individuals in downtown Omaha not far from Creighton’s campus.

After one of Nelson’s students initially proposed Empty Bowls as a solo project, it was Nelson’s decision to involve the entire class that propelled the initiative forward, demonstrating a collective commitment to making an impact within their community. Creighton’s involvement in this project transcends Nelson’s expectations year after year.

“We had no idea what was going to happen or if anyone would come,” Nelson recalled of their inaugural public sale. “I had six students, and they made 350 bowls in three months. It wasn’t my original plan for the class, but I was happy to throw all my plans out the window.”

While their participation was a mere fundraising effort in 2006, it wasn’t until 2010 that Nelson formulated a comprehensive curriculum for her Arts and Civic Engagement class, with the Empty Bowls project at its core. While crafting bowls and serving meals remained a primary activity, the class syllabus expanded to include collecting essential donations and participating in additional outreach efforts.

“Our work at Siena Francis is a big part of who I am; I recognize its value and integrate it into my teaching as much as possible,” Nelson said. “My own approach to art is less about creation and more about making art accessible to underserved populations.”

Th roughout the semester, Nelson and her students engage in various creative workshops at the shelter. These sessions often involve collaborations with the Miracles Addiction Treatment and Recovery Program, which otherwise lacks programming centered on art therapy, Nelson said. Additionally, students partake in art activities within the emergency shelter. The shelter sits just a few blocks away from Creighton, a different world from their own.

// 12 // JUNE 2024
Amy Nelson


Even outside scheduled class time, students commit to volunteering at Siena Francis House for a minimum of six to eight hours, individually or in small groups, during the semester. Their personal volunteer work ranges from serving meals to participating in ground maintenance tasks, such as trash pickup.

Reflecting on her own journey, Nelson acknowledges the importance of art in the community initiatives in which she partakes. She served on the Union For Contemporary Art’s board of directors for six years, a role that resonated with her vision of enhancing arts accessibility in Omaha. In 2023, she was honored with the Volunteer of the Year award and inducted into the Volunteer Hall of Fame for her contributions with the Empty Bowls project during the Siena Francis House’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon.

Remarkably, the proceeds from the Empty Bowls initiative have amassed close to $80,000 for Siena Francis thus far. The tenth public event of the Creighton University Empty Bowls project is scheduled for December 2024, taking place on the Wednesday and Thursday following Th anksgiving. Sales are conducted on the Creighton campus within the Lied Art Gallery.

“Pottery is what I consider an intimate form of art,” Nelson noted. “It's not just hanging on a wall—you physically engage with it. Students enjoy their time in the studio, but they know it’s meaningful on a much big ger scale.”

With each ceramic vessel crafted, each meal served, Nelson and her students create bonds of solidarity that resonate far beyond their ceramics studio classroom.

“At the beginning of a new semester, I make it clear to my students: ‘You're committing to creating X number of bowls, and we're going to serve at Siena Francis—everything you make will be donated.’ I always found it surprising that students were willing to participate. ‘All that work, and you’re willing to give it all away?’

“Without fail, they’ll say, ‘Let’s do it.’”

For more information, visit

“Pottery is what I consider an intimate form of art. It's not just hanging on a wall—you physically engage with it. Students enjoy their time in the studio, but they know it’s meaningful on a much bigger scale.” - Amy Nelson



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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium BEST ATTRACTION

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Greek Islands Restaurant BEST RESTAURANT


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JUNE 2024 // 15 //


All the World a Stage Making All the World a Stage

Story by Leo Adam Biga // Photography by Bill Sitzmann // Design by Rac hel Birdsall
// 16 // JUNE 2024
Kathleen Combs Ben Pearson Katy Kepler

s part of ongoing efforts to be more inclusive and accessible, the Omaha Community Playhouse’s free VROOM! Mobile Sensory Theatre takes the magic of the stage to sensory sensitive audiences.

Conceived by former OCP Artistic Director Stephen Santa, the current season’s program delivers an intimate, outer space-themed experience called “Starshine!” right to a family’s home courtesy of a specially-outfitted van. The interior contains a fully dressed set of surprises as “Starkeeper” participants discover their own star caretaker role.

VROOM! removes barriers that may make it challenging for families to bring their sensory sensitive loved one to a traditional theater.

Local English teacher Rana Jafar appreciated how the special experience catered to her autistic son Ismael, who was 11 when Vroom! came to his home.

“I just loved the convenience of it. They come and park up in your drive,” she explained. “It’s in the comfort of your own home. You just have to step outside, and it’s there for you.”

Program coordinator Katy Kepler said the neurodivergent-friendly performances mostly serve children with autism or some other sensory sensitivity.

“We don’t require someone to have a formal diagnosis to participate,” she said, indicating that shows are offered to sensory sensitive adu lts as well.

She notes that VROOM! breaks traditional stage performance rules in service of it s audience.

“In a typical theater, you don’t touch the stage, you don’t handle props, you don’t talk to the person performing, but here you do,” Kepler said. “Th is is really,

truly hands-on. The audience member is your scene partner. You communicate— verbally or otherwise—and react to what your audience member reacts to.”

Rather than a show that one passively watches, she continued, it’s an experiential journey or adventure.

“Instead of a strict start or end time, it’s flexible. We start when our audience member is ready to start,” Kepler said. “If an audience member needs to get up to take a break or use the bathroom, we pause the show. We can do that because we’re not dependent on a whole crowd and following a super tight schedule. If a performance is 10 minutes, and our audience member enjoys it, awesome. If it’s 45 minutes, also great. All those things become flexible to meet the needs of t his person.”

“Each time we perform this experience, it’s completely different,” actor Kathleen Combs said. “That makes it fresh for each of us.”

Th at kind of performing is exciting for the actor. “The intimacy is unlike any other theater experience. It’s just the audience member, their parent or guardian, and the actors. It’s almost like you’re in this bubble,” she explained.

“That’s all very helpful and we need to know it,” Kepler said. “Where it gets fun is learning about their special interests and incorporating them into the story. Unfortunately, in the real world, if you have a special interest, you can get bullied about it. But VROOM! gives them an opportunity to be joyful and expressive of their interests without judgment.”

For example, Combs learned ahead of time that Ismael’s favorite scientist is Ibn al-Haytham, a medieval physicist, astronomer, and mathematician, and his favorite band is the Beatles. “I was able to mention many of his favorite things, and Ismael was then able to add to it,” she said. “It was the best experience. Mom and dad were both in the van, and they were in tears. The y loved it.”

“The intimacy is unlike any other theater experience. It’s just the audience member, their parent or guardian, and the actors. It’s almost lik e you’re in this bubble.”

“You are laser-focused on your recruit,” Combs continued. “Everything else goes away. You don’t even know what time it is. So, it is really intimate. You’re so close that it’s really special. That bond is so strong.”

Combs said that performing for VROOM! makes for more personal and stronger theater connections for audience members and the actors themselves. “This experience has allowed me to grow as an actor and not be afraid to let moments play out in the silence,” she shared. “I’ve taken what I’ve gained from actively listening in silence to roles I’ve played outside Mobile Sensory Theatre, and I now feel comfortable in that.”

Families booking VROOM! are asked to share in advance practical information concerning accommodations and considerations, such as whether the audience member uses a wheelchair. OCP also incorporates the input of its target audience into the creat ive process.

“Even though we were there next to him and were able to enjoy it with him, it was still his experience,” Jafar added. “It was him they were engaging with. It was all about him. What stood out most was they actually used what I shared about my son’s interests. They incorporated mentions of these things into the storytelling. It was just a beautiful experience.”

Ismael was “impressed” and “surprised” by how much the show reflected h is passions.

“It’s very important to us,” Kepler emphasized, noting that the program partners with Laura Dodge Elementary School’s Alternative Curriculum Program. “I go to classrooms working directly with young people with autism and other disabilities. It’s really helpful, because we get to test out our ideas and themes and see what resonates—and what doesn’t.”

All “Starshine!” actors have teaching and classroom experience, she added, to facilitate performances. A social narrative is used to create predictability for t he audience.

“Sometimes neurodivergent people need a little extra information about what to expect,” Kepler said. “Surprises can feel really overwhelming. If you’re someone who doesn’t like surprises or has a sensitivity to all the other things going on— the lights, the sounds, the crowd around you—well, then you’re being bombarded

with all this input. If you know what to expect, you can have a much more successful experience. Resources we provide are photos of the actors, some props, and narration that describes what’s going to happen.”

VROOM! also goes to schools and community events upon request. Off season OCP additionally offers “Extended Universe” workshops at the Playhouse.

“It’s to provide different experiences for diff erent levels of readiness,” Kepler explained. “For families that aren’t ready to bring their child or adult to what can be an overwhelming experience going to the Playhouse or any theater, we hope to be a bridge.

“If they enjoyed the van experience, maybe they’re ready to try this workshop,” she said. “It’s not one-on-one; it’s with a group of their peers.”

“The world we set up is very magical,” Combs said. “We use a lot of the props from ‘Starshine!’ We play a little bit with the lighting. We have music. It’s broken down into segments. Everybody checks off each activity as we do it, which makes everything predictable. It’s a wonderful, safe space to explore.”

While VROOM! starts shutting down for the season in October, the mobile theatre takes to the open road again in April 2025, when bookings for the new show also open. Kepler is currently developing the script for the new VROOM! show.

For more information about VROOM!, visit inclusion/mobile-sensory-theatre.

JUNE 2024 // 19 //

Ella Weber’s Deli Diaries

Hamming Written Through the Word





A“It seems to capture the Zeitgeist of being a millennial very well,” said Jon Gosch, executive editor at Latah Books, which published the novel in September 2023.

The autobiographical-fiction book takes “Della” through one eight-hour shift as she asks herself “Who ham I?” and deals with characters such as cartoonish management, stressed-out and indecisive customers, secret shoppers, and coworkers ranging from creepy to simply strange.

Weber herself earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Kansas and worked at the deli counter of a grocery store for several years in between artist residencies.

All the zany incidents in the book may not have happened in one day, but nonetheless, many of them did indeed happen. After graduating college in 2015, Weber returned to Omaha before working as an artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. She thought working at the deli would be a mere transition between student and full-time artist; instead, the deli influenced the art.

“I was in Colorado, surrounded by all these creative people, and the curator said, ‘Honestly, I think you’re more inspired (there) than you were here,’” Weber recounted. She completed that first residency and returned to the deli. She didn’t love it, but it remained a constant in her life, one that depressed her at first.

After a year or two of jumping from the deli counter to artist residency and then back to the deli counter, she gained a new perspective: she could use this mundane job to create art. Weber first worked in visual mediums, taking thousands of videos and selfies with cold cuts and deli paper. The accompanying updates on her social media posts regarding the deli became a collection

story familiar to many is carved up in Omaha native Ella Weber’s “Deli Diaries” a young woman graduates from college with a pile of student debt and takes on an unsatisfying job behind a deli counter to pay her bills.

of stories, often inspired by things people said as Weber offered meat and cheese with an obligatory smile.

By 2018, her deli-inspired visual art was showing in exhibitions ranging from the Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. At the same time, she was compiling her collection of stories. The next year, she intentionally began slicing the stories together into a book.

Weber wrote consciously from 2019 to 2021. In her visual and written art, she sees dualities between fiction and reality, between the smile behind the aisle and the customer across the counter just trying to get a slice of meat.

After completing the writing, Weber went from the zany, competitive world of visual art to the zanier, more competitive world of book publishing. She reached out to a traditional agent, who rejected the book, saying it was “too weird,” and suggested she find an independent publisher. She used an online submissions platform and landed the attention of Latah Books in Spokane, Washington.

“The vast majority of (manuscripts) we decline,” said Gosch, noting that they make an offer to about 1% of the authors who submit. “But we just happened to fall in love with Ella’s book. I thought it was one of the funniest books I had read in a long time.”

Although Weber thought writing was difficult, her work was just beginning. She collaborated with a team of editors at Latah, spending about a year to cut down the draft by nearly 10,000 words. With her printmaking degree and interest in visual art, Weber understood the graphic style of book she wanted. The first page after the table of contents features a sentence printed in a circle a representation of the

repetitive “Who ham I?” that Weber (Ella/ Della) thought daily in the deli. A variety of fonts, spaces, and other textual details appear throughout the novel.

Even the cover, designed by Weber’s friend and Omaha artist Dan Crane, is influenced by the duality of the modern world and aged meat, featuring a slice of ham in the shape of a mobile phone.

“What was fun about this project was that it was continuously morphing,” Crane shared. “It started out with Ella asking to collaborate on a book cover design, but pretty early on it switched to become a request for a commission of a physical art piece that was to be a ‘Dan Crane Piece of Art that was inspired by Ella Weber Art.’”

Reviews have been glowing. "A stream-of-consciousness tour through a shift that is at once one day and many days, with Della pontificating on life, reality shows, dating, the patriarchy, and everything in between,” trumpeted Kirkus Reviews. Sofi Thanhauser, author of “Worn: A People's History of Clothing,” wrote: “Weber sees to the depths of America's depravity and manages to keep on laughing. The thing is to both see it and survive it, and somehow Ella Weber and her fictional alter ego, Della, the Sybil of the supermarket, has done this. Caustic and suave, serious and weightless, ecstatic and dangling over the abyss, ‘The Deli Diaries is the Great American Novel ‘I have been waiting for.”

Another review was equally as enthusiastic and perhaps the most important to Weber: ”Having lived the book daily through proximity with the author and after reading 72 pages, I endorse this book.” The reviewer? “Ella’s dad.”

That perfectionist in Weber, that detail-orientation that enables an artist to see the world and yes, the deli counter through different eyes, gave readers a weird, wonderful piece of writing that hams it up and lays it down like a slice of Swiss on rye.

Visit and blank-1/the-deli-diaries for more information.

JUNE 2024 // 21 //




Cutie Culinary


DDessi Price’s Artistic Journey Through Food and Photography

essi Price spends her days in the bustling corridors of Bozell, an international public relations and advertising agency headquartered in Omaha. The senior art director of the company and herself a food stylist and photographer, Price boasts a portfolio that includes collaborations with such heavyweight brands as Panda Express, the fast casual Chinese restaurant chain, Sun Pacific’s Cuties Citrus, the easy-to-peel clementine oranges, and Mighties kiwis. Price’s journey from her childhood in Eastern Europe to the pinnacle of an advertising firm in the United States exemplifies a tale of passion, perseverance, and culinary exploration.

“Originally from Bulgaria, I moved to the States for college with an interest in art,” Price recalled, her journey beginning with an enrollment in a graphic design program at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. This move created an opportunity for her to step into a world where her love for food would merge with her artistic skill. Price’s career took a pivotal turn when she landed a job at Salt Lake Magazine in Utah, where her friendship with the then executive editor, Mary Brown Malouf, and engagements with the Food Network kindled her passion for cooking.

“I struggled initially with Bulgarian recipes in the U.S. due to vague instructions, but following clear, structured recipes made a significant difference,” Price shared, outlining the challenges and eventual triumphs that shaped her culinary skills.

Price didn’t stop at self-taught experimentation; she dove deeper by attending recreational cooking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. “Spending a week immersed in cooking every day was an incredible experience,” she said. She dedicated that time to mastering new culinary techniques and dishes. Experiencing this hands-on exploration of the culinary arts deepened Price’s understanding of food as a universal language and connector of memories serendipitously a central element of Bulgarian hospitality.

Conveying messages that are often playful and fun is Price’s creative philosophy. She aims to elicit smiles and evoke childhood memories of playing with food. Using this approach led her to create mesmerizing stop-motion videos that bridge the gap between art and food.

“The [COVID-19] pandemic opened up opportunities for connection and learning among artists,” Price shared, emphasizing that remote collaborations and online classes enriched her artistic journey, specifically when exploring the tactile act of creating lettering with food.

Price acknowledged the impact of people like Becca Clason, renowned for her exquisite food lettering stop-motion, Coco Peri, the queen of stop-motion, and Lauren Hom, known

for hand lettering and tactile lettering with food and described by Price as “a beacon of inspiration.” Price’s admiration for these artists underlines her dedication to continual learning and the exploration of food and stop-motion artistry.

While reflecting on her professional journey, Price cherishes a decade-long collaboration with the brand designer and public speaker Andrea Trew. The two worked together at Bailey Lauerman, an integrated marketing, design, PR, social, digital, and production agency. Price and Trew worked in tandem, pioneering the integration of stop-motion animation in social media content with Cuties Citrus and other subjects.

“Our creative process for social media began with advanced planning; we designed a content calendar around holidays and promotions, showcasing fruit attractively,” Trew shared about the artistic approach that defined their collaborative success. The duo was dedicated to creating an exclusive studio space within Bailey Lauerman, which involved Price and Trew investing in specialized equipment and leveraging Price’s culinary and photographic skills to enhance their creative output.

As Price continues her journey at Bozell, she remains committed to bringing her passion and skills to every project, aiming for more brand collaborations in the near future. “While my passion projects are akin to a hobby, I aim for more brand collaborations,” she stated, stressing that she wants to blend her love for food and art in innovative ways.

Price’s story is a testament to the power of the passion, collaboration, and boundless potential of creative exploration. From Bulgaria to Utah, New York, and Nebraska, her journey reflects an ambitious pursuit of excellence, due in large part to Price’s love and reverence for food.

In a world where the fusion of culinary arts and visual storytelling continues to captivate and inspire, Price stands out as a beacon of innovation and creativity.

To learn more, follow @dessi005 on Instagram and visit

JUNE 2024 // 23 //
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Omaha’s Culinary Conquests Six Food Challenges That Will Push Your Limits

e challenge you to tackle the city’s greatest culinary trials this month— though participating is not for the faint of heart. From impressive piles of wings to endless scoops of ice cream, each challenge promises a taste of victory for those bold enough to take them on. In no particular order, here are six of Omaha’s favorite food challenges—see if you can claim your spot on the Wall of Fame. Good luck!


106 Galvin Rd S, Bellevue, NE 68005 |

Stella’s Bar & Grill has reigned as a burger haven since 1936, and their formidable “Stellanator” challenge is no joke. Within 45 minutes, participants must face a towering monstrosity of six patties, six fried eggs, six slices of cheese, 12 strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, pickles, jalapeños, and even peanut butter, all crammed between buns with a side of fries. Winners earn a coveted “I Crushed the Stellanator” shirt, a spot on the Wall of Fame, and their Stellanator is free. Failure incurs a $35 fee and a place on the adjacent Wall of Shame—and probably a stomachache.


711 N 132nd St, Omaha, NE 68154 |

Frank’s Pizzeria beckons pizza enthusiasts to take on the “Big Joe” Challenge. With a choice of meat, supreme, or veggie toppings, this 12-pound, 30-inch behemoth tests the mettle of you and a friend within a one-hour time limit. Victorious duos get their meal on the house, a T-shirt or hoodie, a spot on the Wall of Fame, and social media bragging rights. However, defeated contenders pay full price and endure the ignominy of their failure, immortalized on social media for all to see.


5001 Underwood Ave, Omaha, NE 68132|

Take on the ultimate ice cream challenge at eCreamery with the “Dundee Dozen:” 12 scoops, 12 toppings, 20 minutes—and it must be conquered solo. Finish within the time limit for a spot on the Wall of Fame and a victory tee. With warm or cold water to aid, your toppings are your choice. While the wall features 112 photos, several are honorary wins by children who have taken on the challenge through team effort. Approximately one in six triumphs in this cold, sweet feat.


8013 S 83rd Ave, La Vista, NE 68128 |

Indulge in the ultimate pho conquest at Vietnamese Restaurant La Vista with the XXL Pho King Challenge. Devour a massive bowl of pho with your choice of protein, weighing almost seven pounds including broth and noodles. Finish the entire bowl within 45 minutes to claim victory in this challenge meal priced at $24.95. Winners earn a $20 gift certificate, a “What the Pho” t-shirt, and a coveted spot on the Pho King Wall of Fame.



7812 F St, Omaha, NE 68127 |

Take on the legendary “Pig Wing Challenge” at Starsky's Bar and Grill: five pounds of smoked pork “pig wings,” made of smoked pork on a mini bone, and three pounds of corn nuggets, all within one hour. It's an epic feat of eight pounds of food. Winners receive a Starsky’s tee, their picture on the Wall of Fame, and a complimentary meal. Few conquer this challenge, but those who accomplish it enjoy a free feast worth $72.95—if they can handle it.


1259 S 120th St, Omaha, NE 68144 |

Bailey’s Breakfast & Lunch presents the colossal “Porkasaurus,” a breakfast behemoth featured on the Food Network’s “Man Vs. Food” in 2019. It’s piled high with various pork delicacies—bacon, sausage patties, links, country sausage, Canadian bacon, ham steak, and Andouille sausage—all nestled atop red potatoes and cheese. Crowned with three eggs, biscuits, toast, and sausage gravy, this feast can be tackled solo for $22 or shared for $31. Winners score a free “I Tamed the Porkasaurus” tee and Wall of Fame recognition. 1 3 5 2 4 6

// 74 // JUNE 2024



Sons & Daughters of Italy’s

Pasta Suppers

paghetti and Meatballs. Mostaccioli and Meatballs. Pasta with Italian Sausage.

Consider it a veritable plethora of pasta—all yours to enjoy by the heaping forkful at the Sons & Daughters of Italy Lodge. Located on S 10th Street, the community dinners served at this old-fashioned food hall pay homage to Omahans with Italian heritage. But you don’t need to boast a tie to the Old Country to pull up a chair for dinner or lunch. Anyone who loves authentic Italian fare is welcome.

Although meals are served only on Thursdays and Fridays, the kitchen is bustling with activity at the beginning of the week. On Mondays, a group of women, affectionately known as “the Meatball Mavens,” come together to make the meatball mix. On Tuesday, a group of men (who have not yet earned a catchy nickname—perhaps the “Sausage Sirs?”) season the mix and cook the meatballs. On the eve of serving, all the food is finished and readied for Thursday.

The Lodge rotates meals, serving one dish they have ready for the day—whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs, mostaccioli and meatballs, or pasta with sausage, with the abundance of noodles and sauce certain to satisfy. The Sons & Daughters of Italy even offer a fried fish option on Fridays during Lent.

“Every third week, we have Italian sausage that we make ourselves,” said Ola Partusch, the venue’s manager. “A group of guys make that, and it starts on Tuesday. They’ll cut the meat, season it, and then on Wednesday, they’ll make the links. Sausage is pretty popular. Those are our busiest days; it’s crazy.”

Busy they are indeed, though the chaos has some order to it. It’s easy to get the hang of the system once inside the doors. Meals cost $12 and include pasta, salad, and bread. Diners pay with cash or check at the window by the entrance and receive their meal tickets. They then pick up their pasta at the next window, where volunteers load foam plates with deliciously traditional Italian fare. Next to the food window is cutlery, napkins, condiments, and bowls of salad featuring a slice of bread. Ice water is available toward the back of the room, alongside a table stacked with cannoli (a mere $1 each) for dessert.

The set-up is quaint and reminiscent of a community center or church kitchen. The lodge is a place to gather and be communal, after all. Historical photos and memorabilia line the walls, providing guests with exactly that sense of nostalgia and community. Volunteers run these dinners, from making and serving food to bussing tables, an endeavor that adds to the feeling that you are visiting with neighbors over a casual shared supper.

This aspect is why Local Lodge President, Sarah (“Sarita”) Ruma, cherishes the pasta suppers. “I was employed at the [Nebraska] Medical Center when my father used to work in the window,” she shared. “I would get my dish of pasta and I’d always kiss my dad hello, and the Italian men behind me would say, ‘Oh my God, he’s kissing a girl’ in Italian. After my father died, my mother (whose name was also Sarah) started working in one of the old rooms, and they would always say, ‘Oh my God, Sarah’s in the kitchen!’ Now they do that for me, and it makes a kind of heartwarming memory of my family doing that.

“There’s a lot of Italian family history,” Ruma continued. “I could list names, but I’d be embarrassed if I left somebody out. There’re a lot of good people. We have retired restauranteurs who are working in the kitchen. We have retired postal workers, teachers, city workers, state workers—we just have a great group of guys and women.”

Ruma is the first woman president of the local lodge in Omaha, which was founded in 1926. She was amused that her presidency seemed to “stir things up a bit,” but she’s okay with that, giggling as she explained.

JUNE // 76 // 2024

When the Lodge started in the 1950s, men met in one room and women in another. It wasn’t until the ‘70s or ‘80s that the women, who made the food, proclaimed that they would stop giving the men dessert if the Lodge remained segregated by gender. “They stepped in, and I’m very proud of them,” Ruma said.

Thursdays at the Sons & Daughters of Italy Lodge are the busiest, filled with people grabbing a pasta meal to-go on their lunch breaks from work, while Friday nights seem to be most attended by families and groups of friends who want to relax and enjoy a pasta meal.

“It smells like you’re at your nonna’s house, which is a great feeling,” Ruma said. Or, as one diner proclaimed in the dining room, “Man, I’m not even Italian, but I feel like my grandma just made me dinner!”

These family-friendly dinners are not without their challenges. The tradition endured a fire, followed promptly by the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither calamity stopped the dinners for long.

The fire hit in 2017, unluckily enough on Friday the 13th of January. The Fire Marshal guessed it was a case of “spontaneous combustion,” Ruma explained, the result of oily cleaning towels going through the dryer and catching on fire. It was a significant disaster that shut down the pasta dinners for three years and one week, according to Dan Matuella, Grand Lodge President.

The pasta dinners returned for four weeks before COVID-19 shut down restaurants. In the late spring and early summer of 2020, the Sons & Daughters of Italy began offering a drive-thru option for the pasta dinners so the community could once again enjoy the tradition, although the familial community presence had to be absent.

“We had it set up where people would come in off 10th Street and drive around in a horseshoe, get their food, pay for it, and go. We would have a line on 10th street that would go from the hall north about six or seven blocks,” Matuella recalled.

Partusch laughed at the memory. “We got in trouble a couple times for blocking traffic!”

Matuella estimated it was around October 2020 when they reopened the dining room, but that was with social distancing. “In 2021, it got a little more normal,” he said.

The three mentioned that they’re trying to expand community offerings at the Lodge. They already host birthday parties and other events, but there are plans to add BINGO, karaoke, bocce ball, cooking classes, and language classes.

“Our mission is to preserve the Italian culture and heritage,” Matuella averred. “Originally, it was to help Italian immigrants assimilate into American culture. Naturally, the Italians have assimilated quite well, and now we’re here to preserve the culture.”

The Sons & Daughters of Italy give back to the community in a variety of ways. The organization donates to various charities and awards scholarships. It offers members opportunities to immerse into Italian culture by organizing trips to Italy—and by enjoying a traditional pasta meal twice a week at the Sons and Daughters of Italy Lodge, served September through May.

To learn more about the Sons & Daughters of Italy, located at 1238 S. 10th St., visit Pasta lunches: Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Pasta dinners: Fridays, 5:00–8:00 p.m.

“I would get my dish of pasta and I’d always kiss my dad hello, and the Italian men behind me would say, ‘Oh my God, he’s kissing a girl’ in Italian. After my father died, my mother (whose name was also Sarah) started working in one of the old rooms, and they would always say, ‘Oh my God, Sarah’s in the kitchen!’ Now they do that for me, and it makes a kind of heartwarming memory of my family doing that."


Real Food, Good Food, Made From Scratch

ucked in the middle of Countryside Village is Camille’s Bakery, a charming café reminiscent of the kind of establishment one might stumble across in a quaint cobblestoned town alongside the California coast. Parasols float from the ceiling, overlapping an eclectic blend of art and textiles. Menu items, charmingly hand-written in thick print on chalkboards, are within easy view behind the counter. The bakery cases are stacked with delectable selections like scones, macaroons, Russian Tea Cakes, cookies, and truffles. More savory menu offerings include cauliflower curry, turkey enchiladas, and quiches.

Co-owners Camille and James Nimtz boast 20 years of cooking and baking experience in fine restaurants, bakeries, and catering companies. Camille, the assistant baker and cook, has a bubbly personality as light and fluffy as one of the bakery’s tarts. She makes customers feel instantly welcome as she greets them at the front counter with a smile. James, the head baker, is her quieter counterpoint. The two have a heartwarming rapport—as they prepare food in the back, their playful chatting is audible, making the bakery feel like their kitchen at home.

Their love radiates around them as they work side by side, elbow to elbow.

“I love working with my best friend. I’m able to talk to James about anything,” Camille averred.

Noting his partner’s more extroverted personality, James added with grin: “Camille also loves talking to the customers.”

Camille was born in Omaha but left Nebraska in her late teens. She lived in numerous places, including Las Vegas, Kansas City, Portland, Santa Cruz, and the Bay Area. She also worked in the food industry, holding every possible job from waitress and hostess to cook and assistant manager. While in California, she ran an event facility where her passion for catering began.

It was on the West Coast that James and Camille met. The two shared a passion for food, and Camille confessed that she had always wanted to own her own café. Soon, James shared her dream, and the two of them began imagining what their own business might look like.

James, a California native, began his baking career when he was just 18 at Ladyfingers, a beloved Oakland bakery. The owner, Anna Corriveau, whose culinary approach was heavily influenced by Julia Child, taught him to

bake from scratch. James uses a lot of the same techniques that he learned from his mentor, like rolling dough by hand.

“Most of the things that I make, Anna taught me. I’ve adjusted the recipes to make them my own. When you bake from scratch, it’s easy to change something,” James explained. “Baking is creative. It’s art. There’s an immediate response. You can tell if people enjoy it or not.”

In 2012, Camille’s father had a stroke, and the couple moved to Omaha to take care of him, simultaneously working towards their goal of owning their own café. In 2019, Camille and James finally realized their dream and opened Camille’s Bakery. It was off to a solid start until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They struggled during this time, but found ways to stay open such as making “Breakfast Tacos” outside, where patrons purchased them from the sidewalk in front of the bakery. While challenging at times, the couple is grateful for Camille's loyal clientele.

Despite such early struggles, there are advantages to being a small family business. “The flexibility when there’s a family emergency is great. When we first opened, our youngest child, Ziggy, would stay in the back with us while we worked,” James said. The Nimtz children are now 13, 10, and 6, and they’ve all enjoyed growing up in the café, helping where and when they can.

While the sweets might be a little on the indulgent side, the savory menu is simple and healthy and includes both gluten-free and vegetarian options. One savory dish features sweet potatoes, feta, and almond crema wrapped in corn shells. Fried corn bits add a crunchy layer. Breakfast tacos are served in a mozzarella crust folded over with scrambled eggs, chile oil, onion, and cilantro. The Mexican Caesar is Camille’s own recipe.

“When I look at our menu, I see ingredients. All our items have four or five," James said. “In doing that, it simplifies things. It’s oldfashioned, but it’s coming back around.”

With the baked goods, Camille and James focus on single-serving selections. Their bakery treats range from items like fruit tarts, raspberry scones, mini cheesecakes, and cream puffs. The chocolate almond torte, mousse cups, and truffles are all gluten-free. Camille’s favorite is the Grand Marnier truffle, which is a hard exterior shell of dark chocolate filled with creamy chocolate and layers of orange inside.

Cake decorating parties are popular at Camille’s. The events began as a fun activity for the couple's daughter to celebrate her birthday with her friends. Now, the bakery holds cake decorating parties for customers. Children receive their own miniature cakes to decorate and take home—if they can be patient enough to wait until they leave.

The establishment additionally offers specialized catering, which Camille personalizes for clients’ events. Drawing on her event planning experience, she enjoys developing creative, healthy dishes to fit specific themes.

“Real food. Good food. Made from scratch. Homey, good energy, and fun,”—that’s how Camille likes to describe the family business.

“I want people to have an experience here. No one else has a sweet potato taco or a cauliflower curry. I won’t serve food that I won’t eat. It must be eclectic. I’m always trying to think up something yummy to make,” she said.

To learn more about Camille’s Bakery, visit

JUNE 2024 // 79 //


ight to Remember

e yrom skooB
Restaurant f o r t h e M
Embered Golden Beets Salad

Dining Review

Dining Review



Kim Carpenter

Kim Carpenter



Bill Sitzmann

Sarah Lemke



Joey Winton

Joey Winton

might as well get the awkward part done at the beginning. Memoir is memorable. My phrasing is a groan-worthy word play on the name of this restaurant, Omaha’s hottest new happening “It-Spot” in Brickline at The Mercantile, situated ideally at the peripheries of the Old Market and the Riverfront. In fact, Memoir was one of the more memorable dining experiences I’ve had in quite awhile. Often when eating out, one of my metrics is if I can reproduce a reasonable facsimile of a meal at home. I’m fairly adept in the kitchen, so usually, I can. Early on during our evening at Memoir, I stopped eating, silverware poised in mid air, and looked meaningfully at my dining companion. “Th is,” I said, pointing at the dish with my fork for emphasis, “Th is I cannot do at home.”

As the newest addition to the Flagship Restaurant Group, “The story of Memoir is 20 years of restaurant business,” said owner and Corporate Executive Chef Tony Gentile. “It’s 20 years of recipes, development, and chef collaboration. Th is is where we all started; we’ve come fu ll circle.”

For those unfamiliar, Memoir is following in the footsteps of such venerable restaurants as Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Roja Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar, Blatt Beer & Table, and Plank Seafood Provisions as well as Flagship Commons food hall at Westroads Mall. Each establishment has its niche, and in a way, Memoir carries the imprint of all its predecessors combined into one restaurant.

The interior is laid-back, yet sophisticated, a restaurant you’d somehow simultaneously expect to fi nd in the heart of Manhattan or tucked away on a twisting, cobblestoned street in Brussels. It’s Old World-quaint meets contemporary-chic: burnished gold, deeply saturated emeralds, graceful arches, flowing plants. Th is is a place that feels at once refreshingly new but old and comfortable like a beloved neighborhood spot where you might have a regular table overlooking the gleaming open kitchen that provides for a bustling show.

My dining companion and I did a full appetizer and salad sampling, which provided a deep dive into the chef and kitchen’s dizzying capabilities. A glass of Ruffi no Prosecco, crisp and cleansing, worked ideally for selection. The overarching theme that emerged throughout was just how playfully inventive the menu selections are. We started with the Tenderloin Beef Carpaccio, served with perfectly toasted focaccia. The razor thin shaved beef was brought alive with lemon and crispy capers. Capers in their natural state can have an off-putting acetone taste, but drying them tempered that and complemented the umami of the beef with a whisper of zippiness while adding a satisfying texture. Salty parmesan cheese added another dimension of both fl avor and mouth-feel, completing the dish.

Next, we sampled the Pork Potstickers, Potato Puff s, and Corned Beef Meatballs, a holy trinity of creative culinary takes. Every culture, it seems, has its version of a potsticker, ravioli, or gyoza, and this dish is Memoir’s iteration of the humble dumpling. There’s an overall roundness to this dish that is brought forward by the chili-soy broth and crispy leek topping. Meanwhile, the Potato Puff s served as the restaurant’s rendition of loaded baked potatoes. These golden fried mashed potato mouthfuls featured parmesan, chives, and a teasing chili-bacon aioli that left us wanting a second plate. The Corned Beef Meatballs were a witty nod to Omaha’s legendary Reuben sandwich complete with a surprisingly mild Sauerkraut purée, pickled cabbage, herbs, and a rye crumble. Moist and savory, we enjoyed every last crumb.



For salads, we dove into the Embered Golden Beet Salad, which featured sweet roasted yellow beets perfectly punctuated with the fatty acids of the tangy goat cheese and brought alive with slight heat from smoked chili balanced by a hint of honey. Pumpkin seeds again added a level of textural playfulness that seems to underscore so many of Memoir’s dishes. The Kale & Farro Salad was a lovely medley of kale, its bitterness neutralized by sweet charred grapes and apples, with the nutty farro enhanced by almonds, basil, shallots, and turmeric vinaigrette. A wonderfully fi rm goat cheese made this salad sing. Memoir also added its fresh spin to the classic Caesar salad with a particularly phenomenal 13-year-old parmesan cheese and crispy fi ngerling potato chips that were gone a little too quickly.

We also delighted in the Yellowtail Sashimi and Tuna Tartare. The fi rst was alive with citrusy zinginess thanks to the orange enlivened by serrano, cilantro, ginger shoots, and white shoyu. The balance was delicate, letting each fl avor shine without overtaking any other. The latter featured a Calabrian chili, lemon, avocado, crispy shallot, and a sesame lavosh. Again, fl avors worked together and didn’t compete, making every bite a pleasure on the tongue.

Sushi has its own starring section on the menu, and for good reason. With Blue Sushi’s influence clear, Memoir’s selections, ranging from a California Roll to a vegan option, offered phenomenal fl avor pairings that elevated main ingredients. The avocado and cucumber cooled the Spicy Tuna Maki just enough to appreciate the heightened heat contained in the “atomic aioli,” while the spicy creamy sauce and tōgarashi, or seven-fl avor chili pepper, lived up to its explosive name. The Bito Vegan Maki was a revelation. The vegan cream cheese, grilled broccolini, golden beets, almonds, Th ai basil, citrus, and sweet agave mustard somehow combined to taste like the most delicate seafood.

For our main courses, my dining companion opted for the Roasted Chicken, Memoir’s clever interpretation of that beloved American staple, chicken and dumplings. Roasted to moist, tender perfection, the chicken came with fluff y ricotta dumplings that, my guest proclaimed with a hearty, appreciative sigh, were “like eating clouds.” Served with charred


tomatoes and broccolini and garlic chips, not a whisper of this dish remained on the plate. For my part, I went with the Striped Bass, which featured a deliciously crispy exterior that gave way to a melting, fl aky interior. Charred tomatoes, kale, pickled red onions, combined with croutons and a chili-hazelnut pesto made this a standout entree. Our wine for dinner was a lovely Trig Point “Signpost” Chardonnay from Sonoma. Ripe and buttery, it complemented both our meals with its light fruitiness without overwhelming them.

The dessert menu offered three simple choices: Coconut Tart, Chocolate Torte, and Berries & Cream. The fi rst, with its burnt lime meringue, was a creamy, not overly sweet confection. The second, which featured hazelnut ganache, crème fraîche ice cream, and raspberry coulis, was a decadent dream. Finally, the third with its vanilla pannacotta, meringue cookies, mint, and verjus simple syrup, provided for a refreshing fi nish to a complex gustatory experience.

Service was excellent throughout the evening. Memoir clearly trains its waitstaff thoroughly. Our server was extremely knowledgeable about every menu item and was able to offer recommendations based on our preferences. She was warm, friendly, and professional without being obsequious. By the end of the evening, she made us feel like we were valued regulars.

My one quibble is that Memoir presents itself as a restaurant that reinterprets American classics. Sushi, Gentile explained, qualifies as quintessentially American since it’s been so heavily adopted and adapted here, and of course, given Blue Sushi’s long-held reputation, giving sushi a starring place of its own on the menu makes sense. But Mexican and Tex-Mex have an arguably much longer culinary history in the US and Roja has a legacy of its own, so why not add Memoir’s inventive approach here as well? I’d love to see how the kitchen would put their inimitable spin on classics like tamales, pozole, and guacamole.

As Tony Gentile noted, it’s about where Memoir started and the restaurant coming full circle. Given our dining experience, the next turn for this establishment is certain to be one for the memory books.

For more information, to view the menu, and to make reservations, visit

HARNEY ST. I 402.513.7005




Seven Metro Area Locations:

Bellevue - 10308 S. 23rd St. - 402.292.9096

Miracle Hills - 777 N. 114th St. - 402.498.8855

Downtown - 1003 Capitol Ave. - 402.763.9974

Aksarben - 2102 S. 67th St. - 402.933.3533

Millard - 17666 Welch Plaza - 402.933.8844

Elkhorn - 19020 Evans St. - 402.315.1985

Plattsmouth - 2405 Oak Hill Rd. - 402.298.4166

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar, DJ’s Dugout is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. DJ’s Dugout features delicious burgers, wings, wraps, salads, sandwiches and an impressive drink menu. Plus, DJ’s has huge media walls full of HD TVs and projector screens. Catch all the action at DJ’s seven Omaha-area locations. Dig In... At The Dugout! —


7814 Dodge St. - 402.399.8300

17070 Wright Plz, Ste. 100 - 402.810.9600 1101 Harney St. in the OldMarket - 402.614.9333

Jams is an Omaha restaurant legacy, an “American Grill” that offers a melting pot of different styles and varieties. The dishes are made with high-quality ingredients that pair well with award-winning wines or creative cocktails. —



69th & Pacific - 402.933.2776

177th and Center St. - 402.934.9914

156th St. & W. Dodge Rd. - 402.408.1728

120th and Blondo St. - 402.991.8222

Le Peep puts a wholesome perspective on your favorite neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot. Fresh. Simple. Elegant. Inviting. We put the emphasis on people, both patrons and staff. We focus on providing each of our guests the fresh food and friendly service that they have come to expect. Open daily 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. — m


1080 Capitol Ave. - 402.504.1082

Let It Fly West: 1311 S. 203rd St.

Let It Fly Sports Bar is your elevated sports bar experience! Voted Best of Omaha with two locations downtown and in west Omaha. Guests experience a unique brand of hospitality with multiple bars, expansive outdoor patios, hundreds of seats, 80 plus TVs, a 50-foot LED screen, and in-house podcast studio. The best place to watch a game and enjoy incredible food and hand-crafted cocktails! —

OOH-DE-LALLY - $$ 4916 Underwood Ave, Omaha, NE 68132 - 402.698.8333

Ooh De Lally is more than a restaurant; it's a beacon of hope. Nestled in Dundee, Ooh De Lally serves up new American cuisine while providing opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals through a groundbreaking partnership with Metropolitan Community College's 180 Re-Entry Assistance Program. Ooh De Lally is great food made by great people. —



DJ’S DUGOUT is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has been an Omaha tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

and Vietnam

Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has

DJ’S DUGOUT is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has been an Omaha tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has been an Omaha tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

DJ’S DUGOUT is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has been an Omaha tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

DJ’S DUGOUT is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. Since 1993, DJ’s Dugout has been an Omaha tradition as a gathering place for sports fans and families. Today, DJ’s has 7 Omaha metro area locations and is famous for providing an ultimate sports bar experience with its delicious food and massive media display walls. All in a casual family friendly atmosphere.

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations.

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations.

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations.

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar. Dig In… at the Dugout!

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations.

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar. Dig In… at the Dugout!

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar. Dig In… at the Dugout!

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar. Dig In… at the Dugout!

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations.

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar. Dig In… at the Dugout!

The food at DJ’s is absolutely delicious! You’ll find a menu packed full of variety that includes “Fresh… Never Frozen” half pound premium Angus beef burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches and so much more. DJ’s also has party rooms available, perfect for groups, business meetings, and celebrations. Voted

JUNE 2024 // 83 //
2024 First Place Sports Bar 2023 1 t Place Sports Bar 2022 W NNER 3 VOTED OMAHA'S #1 SPORTS BAR! WELCOME BASEBALL FANS! 7 METRO AREA LOCATIONS DJSDUGOUT.COM | - Sponsored Content -
BAR! 2024 F rst Place Spor s Bar 2023 1 Place 2022 W NNER 3
ICONIC SPORTS BAR! 2024 F rst Place Spor s Bar 2023 1 Place Sports Bar 2022 W NNER 3
at the Dugout! DJSDUGOUT.COM OMAHA’S ICONIC SPORTS BAR! 2024 First Place Sports Bar 2023 1s Place Sports Bar 2022 W NNER 3
#1 Sports
Dig In…
DJSDUGOUT.COM OMAHA’S ICONIC SPORTS BAR! 2024 F rst Place Spor s Bar 2023 1 Place 2022 W NNER 3
Vietnam Veteran owned.
DJSDUGOUT.COM OMAHA’S ICONIC SPORTS BAR! 2024 F rst Place Sports Bar 2023 1 Place Sports Bar 2022 W NNER 3
Veteran owned.
DJSDUGOUT.COM OMAHA’S ICONIC SPORTS BAR! 2024 F rst Place Spor s Bar 2023 1 Place 2022 W NNER 3

We have developed our menu inspired by all that touches the Pacific Ocean. Starting with fresh fish flown from Honolulu, locally sourced steaks and natural chicken with an Asian flare and pairing our dishes with tiki libations and Pacific coast wines. —


We opened in March of 2023 to bring a family owned bistro to the community, serving local steaks and fresh seafood. We offer a wide variety of Pacific Northwest wines, local beers, and craft cocktails. Pinot Noir translates to Pine & Black, our name originates from our love of wine. —


655 North 114th Street Omaha, NE 68154 —531-466-1008

Sand Point ‘New England Fare’ brings their favorite and unique dishes from New England to the Omaha food community. Freshest seafood, from seared crab cakes, lobster arancini, whole belly clams, New England clam chowder, lobster bisque to charcuterie boards and Angus beef tips and steak burgers, to be topped off with Boston cream pie, blueberry pie or Lemon canna cotta. Full bar to include, specialty cocktails, extensive wine lists, as well as beer and non-alcoholic drinks. –

STELLA’S - $ 106 S. Galvin Road, Bellevue - 402.291.6088

Since 1936, we’ve been making our world-famous Stella’s hamburgers the same way. The family secrets have been handed down to each owner, ensuring that your burger is the same as the one you fell in love with the first time you tried Stella’s. And if it’s your first time, we know you’ll be back! Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sunday. —

// 84 // JUNE 2024 DINING GUIDE Omaha thanks to our customers for voting us the BEST BURGER IN OMAHA “ServingWorldFamousHamburgersSince1936” 106 GALVIN RD., BELLEVUE, NE • 402-291-6088 • OPEN MONDAY - SATURDAY, 11 AM - 9 PM 2024 First Place Hamburger DINING GUIDE LEGEND $=$ 1-10 • $$=$ 10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$ 30+ PACIFIC EATING HOUSE - $$ 1130 Sterling Ridge Dr.
Dr., Papillion
- 531.999.3777
655 N 114th St, Omaha NE 68154 531.466.1008 Open 7 days a week • 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 156th & Dodge | 402-408-1728 • 177th & Center | 402-934-9914 120th & Blondo | 402-991-8222 • 69th & Pacific | 402-933-2776 • @LePeepOmaha 2023 F rs Place W itSt & Se vice Locally owned and operated since 2001! Voted Omaha’s Best Breakfast 17 years in a row!
JUNE 2024 // 85 // STEAKS • CHOPS • SEAFOOD ITALIAN SPECIALTIES 7 private party rooms Seating up to 400 Lots of parking 1620 S. 10th Street 402-345-8313 2023 Winner Steakhouse Serving Omaha for 78 Years 2024 First Place Ice Cream Since 1921 Celebrating Over 100 Years of Baking Excellence! BREADS AND ROLLS FOR ANY Rotella 2024 Omaha Mag June ad.indd 1 5/2/24 10:47 AM 400 Seats, 80+ TVs, 2 patios Elevating the Sports bar Experience! 1080 Capitol Ave • 402.504.1082 Let it fly West • 1311 S. 203rd St. 2024 Winner NewBar-Winter 2022toFall2023

Come experience the true taste of homemade ice cream in the Old Market. Since 1986, we’ve created gourmet ice cream flavors in small batches using rock salt and ice. We offer your favorites, plus unique flavors like margarita, green tea, Guinness, and French toast. Special orders available. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.- Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday. Noon-10 p.m. —

Ralston, Bellevue and Millard. We are truly grateful to have been welcomed into each of these communities and welcome you in for good food, a cold drink and a comfy seat to enjoy the sport of your choosing! Determined to bring only the freshest ingredients, homemade dough and our specialty sauces to the table, we have worked hard to perfect our craft for you. Our goal is to bring the best food service to the area and show the best sports events that you want to see. Pick up and Delivery availalble. Please check website for hours of operation. —

Choose Spezia for lunch or dinner, where you’ll find a casual elegance that’s perfect for business guests, get-togethers, or any special occasion. Exceptional food, wine, and service, with a delectable menu: fresh seafood, certified Angus steaks, innovative pasta, risotto, gnocchi, cioppino, lamb, entrée salads, Mediterranean chicken, flatbreads, and fresh salmon daily. Enjoy a full bar, Italian and California wines, Anniversary/Lovers’ Booth (call to reserve), private dining rooms, and wood-fired grill. Open Monday-Sunday. Cocktail hour 4-6 p.m., when all cocktails, glasses of wine, and beers are half price. Evening reservations recommended. —

// 86 // JUNE 2024 DINING
Omaha T ED
$ 1120 Jackson St. - 402.341.5827
VARSITY SPORTS CAFE - $$ Ralston - 9735 Q St. - 402.339.1944 Bellevue - 3504 Samson Way - 402.932.1944 Millard - 14529 F St. - 402.505.6660
ITALIAN S PEZIA - $$$ 3125 S. 72nd St. - 402.391.2950
Family Owned Since 1983 CATERING / PARTY ROOM AVAILABLE HOMEMADE, FRESH FOOD, ALWAYS. 3821 Center St. / 402.346.1528 2023 First Place Greek Dining 3125 South 72 nd Street (Easy access off I-80, take 72nd Street Exit) 402.391.2950 . Call today to make your reservation Get aLittle Saucy. CALL FOR RESERVATIONS • 402-391-2950 SATURDAY LUNCH [11am–4 pm] SPEZIASPECIALTIES FRESH SEAFOOD • ANGUS BEEF INNOVATIVE PASTA • RISOTTO GNOCCHI • FRESH SALMON DAILY COCKTAIL HOUR MONDAY – SATURDAY 4 – 6 PM ALL COCKTAILS, GLASS WINE AND BEERS ARE HALF PRICE CENTRAL LOCATION • 3125 SOUTH 72ND STREET • EASY ACCESS OFF I-80 • 72ND STREET EXIT $10 OFFANY TICKETOVER $25 NO CASH VALUE. EXPIRES 12/31/2011 2024 Winner Romantic Restaurant 2024 Winner Happy Hour 2024 First Place Italian Dining SPEZIA SPECIALTIES WOOD FIRE STEAKS & SEAFOOD INNOVATIVE PASTA—RISOTTO—GNOCCHI FRESH SALMON DAILY CHECK OUT OUR SPECIAL SPRING DINING FEATURES Open 7 Days a Week for Lunch & Dinner




7555 Pacific St.

- 402.339.8006.

380 N. 114th St. - 402.330.5707

Featuring Sonoran-style cooking made fresh daily. Catering and party rooms also available. Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 11 p.m., Sunday 4-9 p.m. —

LA MESA - $$

158th St. and W. Maple Rd. - 402.557.6130

156th and Q streets - 402.763.2555

110th St. and W. Maple Rd.

- 402.496.1101

Fort Crook Rd. and Hwy 370 - 402.733.8754

84th St. and Tara Plaza - 402.593.0983

Lake Manawa Exit - 712.256.2762

Enjoy awesome appetizers, excellent enchilada’s, fabulous fajitas, seafood specialties, mouthwatering margaritas and much more at La Mesa! Come see why La Mesa has been voted Best of Omaha’s 20 Years in a Row! Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. — m



5914 Center St., Omaha, NE - 402.322.8141

930 5th Ave., Council Bluffs, IA - 712.256.5200

Family owned and operated since 2010, Primo’s Modern Mexican utilizes the freshest ingredients to bring both authentic Mexican and Southwest-style dishes to life with flare and unrivaled flavor. With recipes passed down over four generations, a familyfriendly atmosphere, and plates to satisfy cravings at every hour—with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus offering a variety of Mexican staples—Primo’s

Mexican Restaurant is proud to serve the people of Omaha and Council Bluffs no matter the occasion. —


Greek cuisine with specials every day at reasonable prices. We are well-known for our gyro sandwiches and salads. We cater and can accommodate a party for 65 guests. Carry-out and delivery available. Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. —





PRIMO’S OMAHA 5914 Center Street | Omaha, NE 68106 402-322-8141

PRIMO’S COUNCIL BLUFFS 930 5th Ave. | Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-256-5200

Both locations are open for BREAKFAST AT 7 A.M.


JUNE 2024 // 87 //
GREEK ISLANDS - $ 3821 Center St. - 402.346.1528



West - 132nd and Center

Downtown - 25th and Farnam

One Pacific Place

- Drive Thru Kiosk next to Trader Joes

Zen features over 50 popular drink options including Butter Beer, Honey Bee, Lavender Lady and Sunshine Daydream. Choose from hot or iced lattes, blenders, fruit smoothies and teas! Grab a flight or double cup to try the seasonal features! Delicious pastries and toasts made in house daily. —



1620 S. 10th St. - 402-345-8313

Cascio’s is Omaha’s No. 1 steakhouse. We have been serving Omaha for 69 years. We feature steaks, chops, seafood, and Italian specialties. We have seven private party rooms, seating for up to 400 people, and plenty of parking. —


2121 S. 73rd St. - 402-391-7440

Famous for the original Whiskey Steak. Truly a oneof-a-kind Midwestern experience. Excellent food, wine, service, and value. Rare...and very well done. LUNCH: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., DINNER: Monday-Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 4:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Sunday 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m., LOUNGE: Monday-Friday Cocktails only 2 p.m.-5 p.m. —

We arrived in Nebraska from Washington intent on purchasing from farmers, ranchers & fishmongers who share our commitment for wholesome, sustainable fare. Our recipes use the Earth’s bounty the way it is intended ~ Wild and Natural ~ We compliment our dishes, pairing them with exquisite Pacific Northwest wines. –

Find the best food in Omaha!
Omaha 248 Olson Drive | Papillion 1130 Sterling Ridge Drive | Omaha TWISTED CORK BISTRO - $$ 10370 Pacific St. - 531.999.3777
DINING GUIDE LEGEND $=$ 1-10 • $$=$ 10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$ 30+


Special Hours

June 14 - 23 Mon-Fri 11:00am - 10:30pm, Sat-Sun 4:00pm - 10:30pm

JUNE 2024 // 89 // 2024 First Place Steakhouse @The Drover Restaurant & Lounge | Gift Cards Available 2121 S. 73 St. | (402) 391-7440 | Open Mon - Fri 11:00am - 10:30pm | Dinner nightly from 5pm Home of the Whiskey Steak
// 90 // JUNE 2024 Authentic Italian Cuisine Locally Owned and Operated Charlie’s on the Lake 4150 South 144th St. Omaha NE 68137 402-894-9411 40 YEARS SINCE 1 983 Subscribe Today! it’s about all of us. Connect With Your City Bonuses Customers receive two of our bonus issues—Best of Omaha Results and Faces of Omaha —for each year as a paid subscriber. $19.95 $29.95 $14.95 OMAHA MAGAZINE 1 YEAR 2 Magazines 8 Issues + Bonuses OMAHA MAGAZINE 2 YEARS 2 Magazines 16 Issues + Bonuses B2B MAGAZINE 2 YEARS 1 Magazine 12 Issues + Boneses SCHOOLHOUSE STYLE A BOLD & BRIGHT REDO // HOME OFFICE TO LOVE // MORE THAN MAN CAVE The Bakers Buy into Bohemia DECEMBER 2022 JANUARY 2023 OMAHA’S CEO REFLECTS ON HER DECADE IN OFFICE MAYORJEANSTOTHERT WOMEN IN BUSINESS VIDANYX KIDGLOV U.S. $5.95 FORMER HUSKER WILLIE MILLER DEFIES PROGNOSIS SIDELINES, FLATLINES, AND LIFELINES OmahaHome INCLUDED WITH AN Omaha Magazine SUBSCRIPTION!





June 1 at Sideshow Spirits Distillery & Cocktail Bar in Lincoln This one-day festival highlights Nebraska Distilleries, local vendors with spirits, food vendors, and live music. With your General Admission ticket, you receive a custom tasting glass and free samples from the distilleries’ booths. Local food trucks will be on site. — nebraska-whiskey-carnivaletickets-753332055457


MUSIC CONCERT SERIES June 7 - 8 at 205 Kramer Rd in Arthur Get ready for live music at Sandhills Summer Jam, an outdoor event that promises great music, fun, and good vibes under the summer sun! 21 and over event.



BILL PRCA RODEO June 12 - 15 at the Wild West Arena in North Platte The NEBRASKAland Days Buffalo Bill Rodeo was founded as the "Old Glory Blowout" on July 4, 1882 by Buffalo Bill Cody himself. It's recognized by the PRCA as the

world's first spectator rodeo. It's back at NEBRASKAland Days every year with four nights of PRCA and WPRA Pro Rodeo!



June 13 - 15 at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk The foundation of the Great American Comedy Festival is to honor Johnny Carson’s legacy as one of America’s greatest comedians, paying tribute to his status as a TV icon and remembering with gratitude the fondness Carson had for the community he called home.



June 15-16 at Canopy Street Market in Lincoln The Lincoln Arts Festival is a unifying event for artists, art organizations, and enthusiasts. It offers a variety of artwork, demonstrations, interactive activities, live performances, an art market, creative zones, a culinary court, and a "World Stage" for diverse performances. The Emerging Artist Program supports artists in showcasing and selling their work.

— lincoln-arts-festival


CHESTERFEST 2024-COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL June 22- 23 at 921 Croop St in Chester At Chesterfest, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy live performances from local bands and nationally known artists. Dance the night away to your favorite tunes or simply sit back and relax while soaking up the feeling of small-town Nebraska life. With a wide variety of entertainment, there's something for everyone, including great food, a car show, vendor fair, 5k run, sand volleyball, and many other events throughout the weekend.

— l/10000725297533447?ref= eventlist-new-nearby-cat

CELEBRATE AMERICA AT ARBOR LODGE June 25-July 8 at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park In celebration of America, and honoring our veterans, Nebraska City Blue Star Mothers will host a display of Quilts of Valor throughout Arbor Lodge Mansion. View this beautiful collection while also learning about Morton Family veterans and their patriotic service.

— activities/events.cfm

JUNE 2024 // 91 // June 13-15
come and


IOWA CRAFT BREW FESTIVAL June 1 at Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park in Des Moines Indulge in a selection of over 300 locally crafted beers and ciders while immersing yourself in live musical performances and savoring delicious offerings from food trucks. The Iowa Craft Brew Festival is a joyful celebration of Iowa's brewing culture, where breweries, cideries, and meaderies from across the state unite to showcase their craft to devoted enthusiasts. — iowa-craft-brew-festival

POPS ON THE RIVER: THE ULTIMATE EAGLES EXPERIENCE June 1 at the McGrath Amphitheatre in Cedar Rapids Pops on the River: The Ultimate Eagles Experience is a new outdoor concert experience. Sing and dance to your favorite hits from The Eagles, presented by The 7 Bridges Band and the entire symphony. Celebrate community along the banks of the Cedar River with Orchestra Iowa’s favorite tradition: an exhilarating musical experience in an informal, everyone-friendly atmosphere. Kick off your summer with Orchestra Iowa! — pops-on-the-river


June 6-9 at Clarinda High School in Clarinda On the second weekend in June, visitors and entertainers from around the world will converge in Clarinda, Iowa, the Birthplace of Glenn Miller, to celebrate the music and memory of Alton Glenn Miller— American bandleader, trombonist, composer, and arranger who disappeared while directing the Glenn Miller AAF Band during World War II. Hear exciting bands from around the world topped off by the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Enjoy the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum and the Birthplace Home. —


June 7 - 9 at St. Ludmila Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids Kolaches are back! Experience drive through Kolach sales, inflatables and kids’ activities, silent auctions, beer and wine, community meals, Polka Mass, and more! —

RISEFEST 2024 June 7-8 at 112 Country Club Rd. In Sheldon RiseFest is a two-day Christian Music Festival that features the nation’s top Christian artists and speakers, as well as seminars, activities for kids of all ages, ministry outreach, camping, and much more. Free admission for children 10 and under. —


June 15 June 23

BASEBALL June 8 at Living History Farms in Urbandale Explore the Black experience in Iowa’s history! All presentations, activities, and exhibits are included with General Admission. Gain a better understanding of the legacy and hope of emancipation and explore the Black experience in Iowa from early farmsteads through the fight for civil rights. The day will end with a historic baseball game played by 1876 rules.


WURST FESTIVAL June 15 at Amana Colonies in Amana Don’t miss out on this celebration of everything sausage at the summer’s best festival! The German tradition of making sausages is alive and well in the Amana Colonies. At the Market Barn area, you’ll find local sausage vendors, beer, drinks, desserts, and more. There will be creative and innovative twists on the beloved brat that will make your mouth water! During the day, sausage makers will compete for Best in Wurst and Weirdest Wurst. Throughout the day, enjoy live music, yard games, Wurst University, and a Dachshund Derby. Local businesses around town will host activities and specials as well. — festivals/wurst-festival/

IOWA STATE BACON EXPO June 19- 22 at Jeff & Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames The Bacon Expo in Iowa State is a fun event for all ages centered on the love of and for bacon. It features traditional and unique bacon dishes, live entertainment, and educational booths from ISU students and industry vendors. 515.294.4950

— iowa-state-bacon-expo

VINTAGE IN THE VALLEY June 23 at Historic Valley Junction in Des Moines 75 vintage and handmade vendors take over 5th Street for the first time this year. Upcycled DSM is happy to announce the next market in partnership with @valleyjunction, “Vintage In The Valley.” This event will give the opportunity to shop on the streets filled with your favorite vintage sellers, artists, food vendors, and much more.

— upcoming-events

AFTERSHOCK ROCK CHILL ON THE HILL June 28 at The Hills Bar & Grill in Pleasant Hill Prepare to be transported to a time of big hair, leather jackets, and epic guitar solos as AfterShock cranks up the volume and takes you on a wild musical adventure. From iconic bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and many more, they'll be delivering all the anthems that defined a generation.

— aftershock-rocks-chill-onthe-hill/200025762875533

DES MOINES ARTS FESTIVAL June 28-30 at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines The Des Moines Arts Festival is Iowa’s largest and most prestigious arts and cultural event. This free three-day festival features 190 professional visual artists, free interactive arts activities, live music and performing arts on two stages, culinary offerings by local and regional restaurants and mobile food vendors, and much more.

— des-moines-arts-festival/1649281/p

// 92 // JUNE 2024




1 at Legends Field in Kansas City Get ready for an unforgettable night of tacos, tequila, and throwbacks. Featuring a Tequila Tasting Lounge, shot bars, Kansas City's best taco chefs, hand-crafted margaritas, Lucha Libre wrestling, Chihuahua Beauty Pageant, an exotic car showcase, salsa & queso competition, and more!

— tacos-and-tequila-festival



6 at Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene The Eisenhower Foundation invites all World War II veterans to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, on June 6, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The D-Day +80 Years event will include a Meet a World War II Veteran Reception, free admission to the Eisenhower Presidential Museum, speakers, a



June 6-9 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson This fourday event will feature a wide variety of dog breeds on display with fun events for the whole family.




13-16 at Oakdale Park in Salina This Festival has three stages featuring bands, artists, and children's acts. With over 40 groups showcasing diverse musical styles, 130 craft artists, hands-on activities, roving performers, and over 30 food vendors, this will surely be a weekend to remember.



EXHIBIT Through June 14 at the Aviation Heritage Museum in Coffeyville Families, students, and space enthusiasts from across the nation are all invited to this exceptional event. Immerse yourself in the wonders of space exploration and be inspired by the achievements of NASA. Admission is free.

— exploration-of-space-nasa-exhibit


AUTO SHOW June 16 at Stone Pillar Vineyard & Winery in Olathe This one-day event will feature cool, unique, and exotic automobiles, live music, prizes, and yard games. Vehicles must be registered to participate. No fee is required for attending this event.


ANIME FESTIVAL 2024 June 21-23 at Hyatt Regency in Wichita —

JUNE 2024 // 93 // It would take a JETPACK to ge t a better view of Bailey Yard. A real one, not whatever that contraption is. The Golden Spike Tower offers the world’s best view of the world’s largest railyard. The observation deck gives you a panoramic view of Bailey Yard, but it’s the exhibits and the volunteers that make this a can’t-miss destination for anyone with a love for trains. That’s why the Golden Spike Tower gets Buffalo Bill’s Buffalo of Approval. DISCOVER MORE AT 800-955-4528 | EXPLORE CALENDAR


VAILE MANSION STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL June 1 at Vail Mansion in Independence Dozens of craft, food and antique booths will be set up around the Mansion. The Vaile Society will be selling Strawberry Treats!  Shuttle service is available from William Chrisman High School. — strawberryfestival

LIONEL RITCHIE AND EARTH, WIND & FIRE June 6 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City Music legend Lionel Richie is bringing the “Sing A Song All Night Long Tour” to T-Mobile Center, where he will be joined by one of the best-selling bands of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire. Ritchie boasts a discography of albums and singles that is second to none, selling more than 125 million albums worldwide. Earth, Wind & Fire come close to Ritchie’s numbers at over 100 million albums sold worldwide. Don’t miss two of the most legendary music forces in the world! —


June 7-8 at Mike Onka Community Hall in Sugar Creek Celebrate Kansas City's rich Slavic heritage with two days of music, food, dance, drink, art, and more. —

OZARKS FOOD TRUCK RALLY June 8 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield This is a one-day Family Fun event benefitting the Ozark Empire Fair Foundation and will feature the best gourmet food trucks and trailers from around the region. Featuring the brightest and most inspired street chefs bringing everything from burgers, pizza, BBQ, tacos, hot dogs, sandwiches, and sweet treats you can purchase, plus live local music on stage, and vendors. —


June 8-23 at White Hart Fairgrounds in Hartville At this family friendly event, visitors can step back in time and experience the wonder and magic of the renaissance era. With a variety of entertainment options, including musicians, storytellers, dancers, armored sword fights, and birds of prey shows, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

— white-hart-renaissance-faire


June 18 at Hamner’s Variety Theater in Branson Beach Boys California Dreamin’ takes audiences on a musical journey to the West coast beaches of the 1960s. Enjoy all of your favorite Beach Boys hits as the talented cast delivers these classic songs with authentic style. Beautiful vocal harmonies, energizing dance, comedy, colorful costumes, and historical narrative come together to make this an experience you won’t want to miss.


SIKESTON HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL June 21-22 at Sikeston Rodeo Grounds in Sikeston The Sikeston Hot Air Balloon Festival will feature tethered balloon rides, a balloon glow, crafts, food vendors, and live bands!

— sikeston-hot-air-balloon-festival


June 28-29 at Brick’s Off Road Park in Poplar Bluff Headlined by Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and Hank Williams, Jr., this country festival is visiting seven small towns across the country, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri is one of them. Get the most out of this twoday party with optional camping. —


LIFE IN THE FAST LANE IN LINCOLN, NEBRASK A YOLO! Zip around the city and explore everything Lincoln has to offer from an exciting new point of view.

// 94 // JUNE 2024


One day one of my kids asked me where sardines came from. I thought it was one of my kids, possibly because this particular child shared my ear lobes, my brilliant blue eyes, my charming aura of insouciance, and my street address. I’ve since researched this relationship via a series of surreptitious Ancestry-dot-Com mail-in test submissions, and an exhaustive search of the file folder marked “Adoption” in my desk. One can never be too sure – no matter how many covert swabs are required.

Anyway, one of my “kids” asked me, “Where do sardines come from?”

“Sardinia,” I replied. “You’re messing with me again, right?”

Many of my children have trust issues with me. Perhaps rooted in my responses to questions like, “Where did I come from?” or “What is Art?” or “Why is combining peanut butter and chocolate a perversion of the natural order?”

“No, I’m not kidding,” I said. “Sardines come from Sardinia. That’s why they named the island 'Sardinia.' It’s analogous to why they named that Indonesian island Java.”

“Oh, I get it,” the kid muttered while shaking their head. “Very funny, Dad, they named it Java because they grow coffee there…a cup of java, as they say. Haha.”

I shook my head, “No, they named it Java because of all the software engineers who live there. You know, Java, that object-oriented programming language that started back in ’95 when desktop computers ran on Windows. If you want coffee go to Kansas.”

“Kansas?” My response: “Yeah, Coffeyville. Google it.”

The child sighed –a deep, despairing sigh. “Okay, Dad. Anyway, sardines are awful. The worst fish in the world… So…”

“Worst fish in the world, you say? Hey, kid, ask your Scandinavian ancestors about Lutefisk, whitefish soaked in lye.”

“Soaked in lye? Well at least you’re not claiming Lutefisk is made from old guitarlike stringed musical instruments.” (The kid might indeed be mine). “How do you

know I have any Scandinavian roots? Did you swab me again in my sleep?”

“Never mind that.” I went on. “You want to know about a really unpopular fish?”

“Actually no, I was hoping to just go outside now and pick bagworms off the evergreens.”

“No such luck, kid. Anchovies!” Another sigh. “Anchovies?”

“Yep, oily little five-inch fingerlings that they’ve been harvesting near Sicily for centuries.”

“Never heard of them.”

“That’s because you’ve only ever gotten pizza from a Hut, or a Papa, or a Caesar… They wouldn’t know an anchovy from a basil leaf at one of those joints.”

“I assume you’re now going to tell me way more than I want to, or will ever need to know about anchovies, right? You going to go all the way back to the Phoenicians? You always start with the Phoenicians.”

“Yep. They would take those little anchovies and salt dry them in the sun and then press the oil out of them and make a fish sauce. The Romans did it too, and improved on it. Called it garum. Everybody used the stuff. It was like Heinz catsup back in the day.”

“Is it catsup or ketchup?” asked the kid.

“Never mind that for now. The Romans shipped this garum stuff all over the Roman world. And we still have it today in a modern form. We call it…”

“I know, Dad, I know… We call it Worcestershire Sauce.” I nodded with pride, “Yep.”

No doubt about it, the last box was checked. That was my kid for sure. Only one of my spawn would have nailed the answer. I made them all Puttanesca for dinner…with extra anchovies.

Listen to Otis Twelve host “Morning Classics,” Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 6AM—10AM, on KVNO, Omaha Classical Radio, 90.7 or

JUNE // 96 // 2024
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