We never have to search for a five-star fine-dining experience. Take your pick: The Grey Plume, Dario’s Brasserie, J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood, M’s Pub, Le Bouillon, Le Voltaire. But sometimes, to pinch a quote from “Seinfeld” (Season 4, Episode 7), “Nothing’s finer than being in your diner.” When you’re craving straight-up, home-style comfort food, you’re not going to leave hungry (or disappointed) at any of our classic breakfast and lunch spots. Here’s a morsel, to whet your appetite.
Farine + Four
Bread is serious business at this midtown bakery, which also serves excellent breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Owner Ellie Pegler trained at the French Culinary Institute and worked at high-end restaurants, including New York’s Michelin-starred Marea and Vaucluse, where she was head baker, before bringing her talent for bread back home.
Harold’s Koffee House
Inside this Florence neighborhood cafe, time isn’t counted in years, it’s counted in generations. Family-run for more than 60 years, Harold’s prides itself on friendly service and cooked-to-order classics. Breakfast is served all day, which is great news for lovers of the golden waffle served with bacon or sausage and one egg.
Whether you’re in the mood for a simple eggs and toast or a more ambitious breakfast burrito or Philly omelet (sirloin steak sautéed with diced green peppers, onion and mushrooms and Swiss cheese), you’ll find it at 11-Worth Café. The diner ranks among the Top 20 Best Breakfast Restaurants in the country on LocalEats.com.
Lisa’s Radial Café
Reading the menu is a treat unto itself with specialties including Killer Cakes (two large buttermilk pancakes with optional add-ons), the signature Radial Raft (two eggs, two biscuits on a bed of hash browns floating in a sea of gravy) or the Titanic (a raft topped with chicken fried steak because … why not?).
Louie M’s Burger Lust Café
Award-winning, hand-pattied, half-pound burgers are only the beginning. What started 40 years ago as a doughnut-and-juice stop has grown into a full-service, Omaha institution serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Fun Fact: Louie M’s served as a backdrop in the 1995 movie “Gone in the Night.”
A family-owned Omaha tradition since 1950, steadfast in its focus on “Good Food Always.” Petrow’s has racked up quite a few “bests” over the years: Nebraska’s Best Waffle (Spoon University), Nebraska’s Best Milkshake (PureWow) and Nebraska’s Best Breakfast (Food Network).
Saddle Creek Breakfast Club
This midtown spot, which blends the classic diner with a trendy menu of breakfast staples, seats just 40 and is popular enough that there’s almost always a line. But if you’re not in a hurry, you’ll find locally brewed Amateur Coffee; a stunningly good banana pancake; rustic toast topped with lox and briny caper and olive; and delicious biscuits with homemade jam. You don’t have to be vegan to love the Metcalfe Melt: wagyu patty, charried onion aioli and gruyere on sourdough.
Family-owned with a rock ’n’ roll theme, Shirley’s rocks everything from its Fried Chicken Royal on a scratch biscuit and malted waffles to its hand-cut pork tenderloin and beef tips & noodles (Friday’s special). Winner of The Omaha World-Herald’s diner Food Prowl in 2016.
Stella’s Bar & Grill
Bellevue’s little burger shack has become a local legend: Burgers are served on napkins, and lines to get in can get long. Stella’s is also known for its gigantic Stellanator burger. Challengers get 45 minutes to devour six burger patties, six fried eggs, six pieces of cheese, a dozen slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, pickles, jalapeños, peanut butter, bun and order of fries. Stella’s plant-based Impossible Burger is featured in a new video series by Impossible Foods. In it, owner Stephanie Francois talks about how customers intially hesitated to try the burger but have come around in a big way.
Vidlak’s Brookside Café
“Food so good – you’ll think we stole your mom.” Vidlak’s has been serving reasonably priced, home-cooked dishes since 1996. The breakfast menu is packed with hearty favorites, including The Cattleman's egg-and- potato casserole (the perfect way for a steak lover to greet the day) and The Gut Buster (two eggs, two sausage patties and two of Vidlak’s signature German potato pancakes).