This year has seemed like a decade.
Why shouldn’t Food Day Omaha seem like a week?
Organizers usually have an in-person event to mark the day, but since that wasn’t possible during the pandemic, they set aside seven days in 2020 — Oct. 5 through 11 — for the celebration.
Food Day was started nationwide to focus on healthy, locally grown food, much like Earth Day highlights the environment. National activities have recently gone dormant, but the Omaha day has remained robust, said local co-organizer Anna Curry, a registered dietitian who works for the hunger-fighting organization Whispering Roots.
It’s usually celebrated at the Omaha Farmers Market on a Saturday in October with booths, demonstrations and an awards ceremony.
That didn’t seem wise this year, so planners decided to spread the day’s events over a week, dedicating each day to food-centric topics such as producers, retailers, nonprofits that help alleviate food insecurity, individuals who make a difference ...
Today is their day, and to celebrate, Food Day Omaha suggests that residents observe Takeout Tuesday by supporting local eateries.
In that spirit, we’re offering five places that are on a list at the Food Day Omaha website. Each is locally owned and serves food that is locally sourced.
Benson Brewery, 6059 Maple St. I’m not sure how, but this modern-looking place with sleek industrial decor made me feel cozy and right at home. Maybe it was the updated comfort food: a huge breaded pork tenderloin sandwich with Havarti cheese and harissa aioli; gooey baked mac and cheese with smoked gouda and optional chorizo and the alliterative Brew Burger with bacon and beer-braised onions. I’ve only been here once, but now that I know it has curbside service, I’ll be back.
Culprit Cafe, 3201 Farnam St. The menu hooked me with biscuits and sausage-maple gravy. What’s not to love? This breakfast and lunch place also has black pepper-cheddar quiche, a turkey-bacon melt that sounds delightful and even a bahn mi sandwich. Toss in a brioche cinnamon roll, and this is a takeout-only gem. One caveat: Its website says it’s open Wednesday through Sunday. The downtown location at 16th and Farnam Streets is delivery-only and deals solely in baked goods.
Jackson Street Tavern, 1125 Jackson St. You could make a meal on the rich and gooey spinach-artichoke dip, but your doctor might object. My other faves here include the French onion soup; the Hobb salad with poached pears, candied walnuts and Gorgonzola; the Chicken Parma Rosa; and Your New Favorite sandwich with grilled filet mignon. This is one of our go-tos for celebrations big and small (aka Friday night).
Prairie Plate Restaurant, Lincoln. This restaurant on Branched Lake Road in Lincoln is an offshoot of Lakeshore Farm, run by a couple of U.S. Navy veterans. Its motto is “from the farm through our kitchen to your table.” The dining room is closed, but the restaurant delivers to Omaha every Saturday if you order at its website by midweek. The menu features items such as pastured pork ragu, white chicken chili, sweetcorn spoonbread with maple syrup and pumpkin whoopie pies. If not for the Food Day Omaha website, I would know nothing about it. Now I can’t wait to order.
Railcar Modern American Kitchen, 1814 N. 144th St. The food here is delicious and innovative. How do you make cheese curds stand out? Coat them with pretzel crumbs before frying. How do you give a burger new flavor? Top it with cherry barbecue sauce. The Asiago-crusted chicken schnitzel is so fabulous that my husband doesn’t mind the mushrooms. The same Asiago chicken is used in the pasta saltimbocca, one of my favorites because there’s more than enough for lunch the next day. This is another place we return to again and again.
The Food Day Omaha website has a list of food resources and a blog featuring pandemic stories from nonprofit organizations, businesses and former award winners.
Omaha Dines: 37 essential restaurants
Stella’s Bar & Grill
UMAMI Asian Cuisine
The Boiler Room Restaurant
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
El Dorado Mexican Restaurant
Time Out Chicken
Lo Sole Mio
La Casa Pizzaria
Saddle Creek Breakfast Club
Ika Ramen & Izakaya
Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen
El Basha Mediterranean Grill
Twisted Cork Bistro
Tired Texan BBQ
Le Voltaire French Restaurant