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5 Must-Try Restaurants to Visit When Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska

Only in Omaha!

Philadelphia has the Philly cheesesteak. Chicago has deep-dish pizza. New Orleans has the po’boy, and Baltimore has the crabcake. But Omaha, Nebraska, has the mighty Reuben. 

Legend has it that in 1925, a local Omaha grocer by the name of Reuben Kulakofsky made his way to Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel (known today as the Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel) to feed a group of late-night poker players, one of which was Charles Schimmel, the Blackstone Hotel’s owner. 

After trying Kulakofsky’s concoction—corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing grilled on Russian rye bread—Schimmel put Kulakofsky’s sandwich on the menu at the hotel’s restaurant, The Plush Horse. Soon after, the Reuben sandwich became a classic staple on menus across America. (Visit Omaha even has a webpage dedicated to Omaha’s Reuben Restaurants, recommending where visitors can try the sandwich themselves.)

While the Reuben may be an obvious choice for an authentic and local bite to eat while visiting Omaha, the city’s menu of must-try meals has even more to offer, ranging from creative sushi and Japanese small plates to crabcakes, wood-fired pizzas and warm duck salads.

Here are five restaurants to grab some of the city’s most heralded grub the next time you meet in Omaha.

[Related: These Are the Best Group Dining Experiences in Nebraska]


This intimate, upscale neighborhood sushi-ya has been recognized by The Washington Post for being one of America’s best sushi restaurants and is helmed by nationally acclaimed chef and James Beard nominee David Utterback. 


The two-time James Beard semifinalist creates a menu of inspired Japanese small plates, nigiri and maki sushi for guests, featuring ingredients that focus on mixing traditional sushi fare with modern reinterpretations and small shareable plates.

Yoshitomo’s menu lists appetizers like oni egg (deviled egg with mentaiko, trout roe, yuzu togarashi and potato salad) and kaki (four oysters, green apple, dashi gelee and dill). 

Small bites include foinagi (smoked eel, foi gras and cherry boshi) and hama toast (yellowtail, tamari brown butter and house sourdough), while plates include jamachi (smoked Hamachi, granny smith apples, chevre, yucca and cherry jam) and tako macha (octopus, salsa macha, lime, cilantro and smoked Maldon). 

Guests can order off the menu at Yoshitomo or book a spot at Utterback’s next-door sister restaurant, Ota, for a special chef’s tasting. (This high-end omakase counter only serves a maximum of eight customers a night!)

Block 16
Block 16

Block 16

James Beard semifinalists Paul Urban and Jessica Joyce Urban are “people who care about food.”

The chefs and cofounders of Block 16 met in Metropolitan Community College’s culinary program, but both agree their ongoing culinary education takes place on the road, traveling and trying new meals around the world. 

The couple creates a menu based on their best memories at Block 16, a sandwich shop with a garden-to-table philosophy serving casual street food and combinations that are “a little risky, a lot of fun and as fresh as possible.”

In 2020, the Urbans moved to a farmstead in the Loess Hills, where apple, cherry, peach, plum and pear trees grow alongside highbush cranberry, Aronia, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry and gooseberry bushes. The couple’s summer garden provides a “bumper crop” of seasonal vegetables like corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, edible flowers, radish, rhubarb, cucumber, onion, scallion, chives and more. 

On the farmstead, the Urbans also raise bees for pollination and honey, egg-laying hens, farm-raised pork, alpacas for fleece and goats for weed control and companions.

At Block 16, the couple sources food from companies that share their philosophy, buying local, humanely raised and preservative-free ingredients for a true farm-to-table experience in Omaha. In the past four years, the restaurant has offered more than 1,400 specials with few repeats. 

Featured menu items at Block 16 include a pulled pork roll, duck duck goose fries, a croque garcon burger, and sometimes, a fresh take on the Omaha classic: a Reuben sandwich.

[Related: Nebraska Teambuilding Activities That Bring Groups Together]

M’s Pub

M's Pub
M's Pub

Located in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market district, M’s Pub has been a staple of the city’s food scene since 1972, only closing for a short time following a fire in January 2016. With the help of original designers, the 50-year-old institution was restored to almost exactly what it was prior to the tragedy.

With a purpose to “offer delicious food in a warm environment provided by a professional staff,” M’s Pub serves customers uniquely crafted original dishes as well as fun spins on classic favorites like crabcakes, flatbreads and warm duck salad alongside a wine list, beer and seasonal cocktail menu. 

Starters include options like pork- and vegetable-stuffed potstickers, popper dip with three cheeses, roasted corn, charred poblano and jalapeno peppers, and smoked salmon toast with dill cream cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, cured salmon, lemon zest and parsley. 

M’s Pub also offers its renowned baked dishes, featuring shrimp, escargot, mushrooms or beef tips, all broiled with garlic butter and Havarti cheese, as well as M’s Famous Lahvosh, an Armenian cracker with Havarti cheese and numerous options for toppings.



Helmed by Omaha native chef Nick Strawhecker, Dante is Omaha’s first restaurant specializing in authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian cuisine, featuring ingredient-driven dishes made with fresh produce from local farmers. (Dante even includes a list of its producers on the restaurant’s website!)

With a commitment to provide guests with an authentic Italian experience “from our wine list to our menu,” Dante also features wines from across Italy and is home to one of the largest Italian wine lists in the state. 

The restaurant’s signature wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is inspired by practices from Naples, a port city in southern Italy. According to Dante’s website, the tradition of Neapolitan pizza is preserved today by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, or Vera, an organization headquartered in Naples that certifies pizzerias all around the world to uphold the traditions of Neapolitan pizza making. (More details are available at 

Dante’s featured pizza, Piccante, features INCONTRO CURED piccante beef salami, tomato and mozzarella. The restaurant’s red pizzas (made with tomato sauce) feature classic margherita, a Guiseppe pizza with sausage, roasted red peppers, cipollini and mozzarella, and a Polpette pizza, with sliced Dante meatballs, basil, oregano, garlic, olive oil, grana Padano and mozzarella. 

Dante also offers white pizzas (made with olive oil) like the Monterosso, with fingerling potato, garlic, rosemary and mozzarella, as well as the Alborosie, with farm egg, spicy sausage, soppressata, garlic, oregano, ricotta and mozzarella.

[Related: Omaha and Council Bluffs Growing Community-Friendly Spaces]

V. Mertz

V. Mertz
V. Mertz

The iconic and elegant V. Mertz restaurant nestled in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market Passageway has been a popular spot in the city for more than 100 years, starting as a fruit and vegetable cellar and now housing the cultural and historical local restaurant. 

In the 1970s, the Mercer family owned many of the buildings downtown and worked to restore and maintain the Old Market district, excavating the alleyway running through the main building on 10th and Howard. One of the original businesses to go in, V. Mertz was opened by Mark Mercer as a French-style cafe and wine shop. Mercer named the restaurant after his wife, Vera Mertz Mercer. 

A decade later, the casual cafe transitioned into a fine-dining restaurant with “meticulously crafted plates that are as beautiful as they are delicious,” according to Visit Omaha. The restaurant also has a sommelier ready to help pair any meal with the perfect glass of wine from V. Mertz’s extensive wine list. 

V. Mertz’s menu features small plates such as fois gras terrine with pistachio butter, mille-feuille pastry, orange and honeycomb, as well as American hackleback caviar with ramp top waffles, crème fraîche, red onion gel, egg and chive aioli. Large plates include Turkish dumplings, mushroom ravioli with garlic and caper cream, jalapeno, spinach and tomato, and seared diver scallops with asparagus and black pearl king mushroom.

Private Group Dining at Omaha Restaurants

Erin Brungardt
Erin Brungardt

Erin Brungardt, director of convention services at Visit Omaha, answers: What are three local restaurants offering authentic Omaha bites and private dining options that groups should consider booking for their next event?

  1. Jams is an American grill that offers a melting pot of different styles and varieties of dishes, delicious brunches and signature cocktails. The Legacy location in West Omaha has two spacious patios as well as party rooms and catering for up to 100 guests.
  2. Upstream Brewing Company’s craft beer and gastropub bites in the Old Market are crowd favorites and have been since 1996. The Old Market Party Room seats up to 85 or 114 for cocktail receptions, and the South Pool Hall can host up to 100 guests.
  3. The Matt is a happening sports bar in North Downtown Omaha with an extensive bar and grill menu and has four event rooms to choose from, including the 150-capacity Burke’s Hall, with pinewood floors, brick walls and wooden pillars. The Matt can host up to 300 guests.


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Taylor Smith | Content Developer, Destinations and Features

Taylor Smith joined Stamats in May 2022 as a content developer, destinations and features for Meetings Today. Smith has experience covering everything from travel to breaking news and graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in news and magazine journalism. Previously, she’s written for St. Louis Magazine and worked as an editorial assistant and apprentice for Aubree Nichols, who has been published in premier publications such as The New York TimesELLE and The Los Angeles Times.