Gorat’s Steak House, an Omaha landmark for 67 years, will serve its last meal tonight.
Local restaurateur Gene Dunn reportedly is in negotiations to buy the restaurant, at 4917 Center St. Dunn could not be reached Friday, and longtime owner Louis N. “Pal” Gorat declined to comment.
Kim Duda, Dunn’s partner at Goldbergs, 5008 Dodge St., said Dunn went out on his own earlier this month to buy Gorat’s.
It was unclear whether the restaurant would remain Gorat’s or get a new name and format.
Restaurant employees have been telling customers that the business is closing after today and that the building could be remodeled.
The business went on the market nearly a year ago and was originally listed for $1.3 million.
Bennett Ginsberg, president of CBRE/Mega Real Estate, said CBRE, which originally listed the property, wasn’t involved in the sale.
Pal Gorat told The World-Herald a year ago that he hoped to find a buyer who would continue to run the business as a restaurant.
His parents, the late Louis S. Gorat and his wife, Nettie, opened the restaurant in 1944. The senior Gorat, a decorated World War I veteran, worked at an Oregon shipyard before moving to Omaha.
Pal Gorat and his wife, Shirley, took over the restaurant in 1960.
Over the years, some of the restaurant’s most famous diners included Ronald Reagan, Liberace, Bill Gates and Omaha’s own Warren Buffett.
Gorat’s menu and decor have changed little since it opened.
The sprawling space includes two dining rooms and a bar (where lounge singers occasionally croon). It seats 235 at closely spaced tables in a warmly lit space scented with meat and marinara sauce. Regulars pack the restaurant on weekend nights, noshing on savory onion rings, sides of mostaccioli and green beans, and spumoni ice cream.
Several of Omaha’s storied steakhouses have closed in recent years.
The original Caniglia’s Steakhouse in Little Italy downtown closed in 2005. Angie’s Steakhouse and Mr. C’s both shut down in 2007. Anthony’s, Caniglia’s Venice Inn, Cascio’s, Johnny’s Cafe and Piccolo Pete’s survive.
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In this 2009 file photo, Gorat's plans were underway for the expected rush from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder's meeting. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD HERALD
In this 2009 file photo, day chef Brian Jurgens in the restaurant's aging cooler. Gorat's served 1,300 pounds of tenderloins, 600 pounds of prime rib and prepared 800 t-bones, 1,000 fillets, during Berkshire Hathaway shareholder's meeting. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD HERALD
In this 2007 file photo, Warren Buffett chats with students from the University of California-Davis during a luncheon at Gorat's. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD