McFoster's Natural Kind Café - a stand-by for vegetarians, vegans and organic eaters - is for sale.
Owner Tom Foster said the restaurant is behind $15,000 in property taxes on the building at 38th and Farnam Streets, where it has been in business for more than 18 years. Foster has owned it for 10 of those years.
"We love it here," Foster said, "and we'd stay if we could pay our bills without raising prices. I don't want to do that. I don't want to put the menu out of reach of ordinary people."
McFoster's menu is primarily vegetarian, but the restaurant also serves free-range chicken and fresh seafood. Everything on its menu is free of refined flour and sugars, and it uses organic produce from local gardeners.
Foster said the restaurant will stay in business until Feb. 29, when it will close if the owners don't find a buyer. He said the restaurant probably will have some parties to raise money, though he didn't think they'll be able to raise enough. In the meantime, they're considering taking out a loan to cover the taxes. If the restaurant does close, Foster said, he's considering moving the operation to the country.
"Ideally, we could find an affluent Omahan that would like to buy it and keep it a natural foods restaurant," he said. "We have a lot of loyal customers, a great building, a super location. I hate to give up on it."
John McDevitt, who created Vegan Omaha, said many Omahans got their first exposure to vegan or vegetarian food at McFoster's.
"It was the place where I decided to go vegetarian 11 years ago," he said. "As silly as it sounds, it was a veggie dog with organic ketchup that helped me with the decision."
He said he thinks the restaurant's closure will have a deep impact on the vegetarian and vegan communities because the restaurant's owners have always been supportive with vegan and vegetarian meetings and bake sales.
Free food for first 50 customers
A new pizza restaurant in downtown Lincoln plans to give away free food for a year to the first 50 customers through the door.
Toppers Pizza will open Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at 1226 P St.
Manager Jon P. Crowe said those 50 customers will get one free item per week for 52 weeks. After the initial giveaway, he said, the store will continue to give out free food and swag throughout the day.
"We want to basically throw a big party all day long," he said.
Crowe is managing the store with his father, Jon S. Crowe, who is the owner.
Toppers serves pizza, buffalo wings, quesadillas, grinder sandwiches and other menu items. One pizza, called the "Hangover Helper," includes Canadian bacon, onions, green peppers, potatoes and bacon bits topped with mozzarella and cheddar on a buttery crust.
Jon P. Crowe said the restaurant is definitely aiming for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln crowd, and will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 3 a.m. For more information on the grand-opening event in Lincoln, go here. He said the Crowes hope to open an Omaha location soon.
Omaha eateries score accolades
An Omaha restaurant, a local bar and the city itself recently made it onto three food and drink-related "best of" lists.
>> Omaha's French Cafe was recently named one of the top 100 most romantic restaurants in the country, according to OpenTable.com.
The website culled its nearly 5 million user reviews of 12,000 restaurants around the country to come up with its list. It only used reviews collected from all of 2011.
The French Cafe is one of 25 French restaurants that made the list, and is the only Omaha restaurant on it.
You can find a link to the complete list of winners here. The French Cafe is open daily at 5 p.m. and serves Sunday brunch every weekend starting at 10 a.m.
>> Allrecipes.com named Omaha one of its top five romantic cities in the country because home cooks living here viewed the fourth most Valentine's Day recipes this year.
Allrecipes' top Valentine recipes in the Midwest include Chocolate Truffle Cookies, Elizabeth's Extreme Chocolate Lover's Cake, Valentine Night Strawberries, Baked French Toast and Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies.
>> The Crescent Moon made Draft Magazine's list of the 100 best beer bars in the nation.
The bar is featured in the Midwest section of the list, and was also on the magazine's 2011 list. The writeup mentions of all the businesses on "Beer Corner U.S.A": German beer hall Huber Haus, Belgian pub Max & Joe's and bottle shop Beertopia.
Draft applauds the bar for its handles that "pour a little bit of everything: cask ales and nitro pulls, seasonals and regulars — and best of all, an excellent sampling of Nebraska's notoriously limited-reach brews."
The Crescent Moon is at 3578 Farnam St.
Valentine's Day plans
We heard from a few more local places about their plans for Valentine's Day.
>> For those who want to celebrate at home, Whole Foods Market is selling two different premade dinners for two on its website, along with sparkling wine and flowers. One meal includes a roasted ribeye steak with blue cheese garlic butter, roasted fingerling potatoes with leeks, lemon-roasted green beans with pine nuts and a market salad with blue cheese, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. The other option is gorgonzola and porcini mushroom risotto with roasted tomato bruschetta, butternut squash bisque, and the same salad. Each dinner serves two and is $24.99.
The website also has a heart-shaped fresh fruit cheesecake for $8.99, suggested wine pairings and a bouquet of organic roses that run $34.99.
Other Valentine's Day dinner options are available in the store. Go to the store's website.
Whole Foods also has three Valentine's Day-themed events on its calendar. A "Wine for Valentines" tasting is slated for Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The tasting includes free samples for people 21 years old or older.
A "Share your Love" sampling event will take place on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Samples will include chocolate, Champagne, body products, flowers and more. The samples are free. A Valentine's class for kids, "Custom Cupcakes" will let kids decorate a large chocolate or vanilla cupcake with chocolate, candy, fruit, sprinkles and more. The class takes place Monday and is $2.99. Pre-registration is required.
To register or for more information, call 402-393-1200.
>> The Capitol Lounge and Supper Club will have an anti-Valentine's Day cocktail party Tuesday. The bar plans for the evening to be an "upscale and fun alternative to this often tormenting holiday."
There is no cover to attend, but VIP wristbands will be available for $25 at the door. The VIP price includes an open bar of house beer and cocktails and free food. Group reservations are being accepted and each reservation will come with a complimentary bottle of Champagne. The event begins at 7 p.m. and the club is at 1011 Capitol Ave. For more information or reservations, call 402-708-9988.
Omaha Steaks won the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce 2011 Headliner of the Year award.
The award recognizes a person or organization that improves the Omaha area by making the city more visible in a positive way.
Omaha Steaks won the award for its participation in the 11th season of "The Celebrity Apprentice."
In the Omaha Steaks episode, contestants on the Donald Trump program were asked to create a 15-minute informercial featuring a variety of Omaha Steaks products.
Jimmy's Egg plans to open a third location in Omaha.
The new restaurant will be in Baker Square at 132nd Street and West Center Road. It is the third of five restaurants the company plans to open in Omaha.
Monday is the restaurant's first day. It will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The restaurants serve breakfast all day and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.