There’s an old statistic that bounces around in Nebraska: Omaha has the most restaurants per capita of any city of comparable size (around 1 million people in the metro area). The factoid is repeated over and over, and its accuracy has ceased to matter. It persists as a point of pride, a rallying call for the state’s largest city, where locals love eating out.
Above all, Omahans love steak, medium rare, few exceptions. The city’s elderly purveyor, Johnny’s Café, is a century-old south Omaha staple, though it gracefully shares the limelight with some of the city’s newer hotspots, like Committee Chophouse, where classics like the Delmonico and the chateaubriand have found new traction. But Omaha isn’t all about meat. In 2023, the city celebrated its first James Beard Award finalist, David Utterback, who is making some of the most notable sushi in the Midwest at Yoshitomo and Ota, as well as yakitori at Koji.
Like many cities, Omaha lost restaurants during the pandemic, and restaurateurs still face a lot of challenges, especially staffing. Prices are higher too. But owners and chefs have persisted, and dining remains a central focus in the city, where you can find blue crab maltagliati, Burmese ramen, fast food-style seitan burgers, farm-to-cone ice cream, and of course, plenty of beef.
Sarah Baker Hansen is an award-winning writer who covers the food scene in Omaha, Nebraska.Read More