September 25, 2021

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Readers’ Choice 2021 BEST DINING

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Need to know where to go? Check out all The Readers’ Choice winners!

Best Dining 2021

Nominations and final voting: Based entirely on community participation, Omaha businesses are nominated as the best in their category for about eight weeks at TheReader.com beginning in January and running through the end of February. Tens of thousands of nominations inform the top nominees in each category who will appear on the final ballot. Final voting runs March 5 through April 30. Stringent procedures help insure one-person, one-vote and minimize vote-buying. An independent accounting firm Hancock & Dana, one of Omaha’s oldest, counts final votes to tabulate the awards.

Winners: This list represents what Omaha locals and Reader readers love — businesses that are the best at what they do. With deep thanks to everyone in the community who participated, we congratulate these amazing awardees!

Best Bagel Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Bagel Bin Inc.

Readers’ Choice: Bruegger’s Bagels, Panera Bread

Readers’ Refer: Ultimate Bagel Inc.

Best Bakery

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Pettit’s Pastry

Readers’ Choice: Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop, The Omaha Bakery

Readers’ Recommend: Square Donut, Great Harvest Bread Co., Olsen Bake Shop, Uptown Bakery

Readers’ Refer: Wahoo Bakery, *Holly’s Healthy Holes (*closed since voting ended)

Best BBQ Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Porky Butts BBQ

Readers’ Choice: Tired Texan BBQ

Readers’ Recommend: Hartland Bar-B-Que, Jim’s Rib Haven, We’ll Smoke You BBQ

Readers’ Refer: 402 BBQ, Cubby’s BBQ, Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, Papio Pit BBQ

Best Breakfast Joint

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Lisa’s Radial Cafe

Readers’ Choice: First Watch, Saddle Creek Breakfast Club, Early Bird Brunch, Summer Kitchen Cafe

Readers’ Recommend: The Sojourn Cafe

Readers’ Refer: Jimmy’s Egg, Homestyle Cafe, Jojo’s Diner, Sunnyside on Center

Best Brewpub

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Upstream Brewing Company

Readers’ Choice: Brickway Brewery & Distillery, Farnam House Brewing Company

Readers’ Recommend: Benson Brewery, Jaipur Brewing Company and Restaurant 

Best Brunch Spot

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Lisa’s Radial Cafe

Readers’ Choice: Saddle Creek Breakfast Club, Early Bird Brunch, Jimmy’s Egg

Readers’ Recommend: The Sojourn Cafe

Best Buffet

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: HuHot Mongolian Grill

Readers’ Choice: China Buffet, Pizza Ranch, Valentino’s, Ameristar Heritage Buffet

Best Burger Joint

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Stella’s Bar & Grill

Readers’ Choice: Dinker’s Bar and Grill, Block 16

Readers’ Recommend: Winchester Bar & Grill 

Readers’ Refer: Cheeseburgers, Naughty Buddha Burger Bar, Louie M’s Burger Lust

Best Cafe/Diner

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Culprit Cafe

Readers’ Choice: Lisa’s Radial Cafe, Edge of the Universe, Jimbo’s Diner

Readers’ Recommend: Harold’s Koffee House, The Sojourn Cafe, Jojo’s Diner

Readers’ Refer: Zen Coffee Company

Best Catering Company

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Abraham Catering

Readers’ Choice: Catering Creations, QDOBA Mexican Eats, Oasis The Falafel Joint, Flagship Commons Catering

Readers’ Recommend: Aaron’s Catering

Readers’ Refer: Chef Hattam Catering

Best Chicken Joint

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Alpine Inn

Readers’ Choice: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Dirty Birds – The Switch, Popeyes, Quick Bites Soul Food

Readers’ Recommend: Time Out Chicken

Best Chinese Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Three Happiness Express

Readers’ Choice: Crystal Jade Restaurant

Readers’ Recommend: Five Spice, Ming’s Restaurant, Taste of China, Golden Bowl Chinese Restaurant, Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen, Dragon Cafe, Gold Mountain Restaurant

Readers’ Refer: China Palace Restaurant, Hunan Fusion, Rice Bowl, Hunan Palace

Best Coffeeshop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Scooter’s Coffee

Readers’ Choice: Dripped + Draped, Karma Koffee

Readers’ Recommend: Stories Coffee Company, Edge of the Universe, Archetype Coffee – Little Bohemia, Zen Coffee Company

Readers’ Refer: Amateur Coffee, Hardy Coffee Co., Blue Line Coffee, Dundee Double Shot Coffee, Green Beans Coffee Co., Black Sheep Coffee House, Urban Alley

Best Doughnut Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Pettit’s Pastry

Readers’ Choice: Hurts Donut Co., Square Donut, Olsen Bake Shop 

Readers’ Recommend: LaMar’s Donuts and Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sunrize Donuts, Bob’s Donuts

Readers’ Refer: The Omaha Bakery, *Holly’s Healthy Holes (*Closed since voting ended)

Best Drive-Thru Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Runza Restaurant

Readers’ Choice: Abelardo’s Authentic Mexican Food, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Curry in a Hurry

Readers’ Recommend: Taco Bell

Readers’ Refer: Harrison Beijing Gate

Best Falafel Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob

Readers’ Choice: Oasis Falafel, Sam’s Gyros, El Basha Mediterranean Grill

Readers’ Refer: Shahen Afghan Restaurant

Best Food Truck

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: 402 BBQ

Readers’ Choice: The Churro Truck

Readers’ Recommend: Fauxmaha, Bigdogs Patio Cafe, The Smoothie Truck

Best French Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Le Voltaire French Restaurant

Readers’ Choice: Le Bouillon, La Buvette, Dario’s Brasserie

Best Greek Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Greek Islands

Readers’ Choice: Jim & Jennie’s Greek Village

Readers’ Recommend: Feta’s Greek Restaurant, Feta’s Gyros & Catering, Sam’s Gyros

Readers’ Refer: King Kong

Best Gyro Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Jim & Jennie’s Greek Village

Readers’ Choice: El Basha Mediterranean Grill, Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob

Readers’ Refer: Greek Islands

Best Ice Cream Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Coneflower Creamery, Ted & Wally’s Ultra-Premium Ice Cream

Readers’ Choice: Zesto Shoppe

Readers’ Recommend: Mixins Rolled Ice Cream, eCreamery Ice Cream & Cookies, Graley’s Creamery, eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato

Readers’ Refer: Dolci Old Market

Best Indian Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: The Jaipur

Readers’ Choice: The Oven, Flavors Indian Cuisine, Curri Fine Indian Cuisine

Readers’ Recommend: Taj Indochinese Cuisine, Curry in a Hurry

Best Italian Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Lo Sole Mio Ristorante

Readers’ Choice: Roma Italian Restaurant, Spezia – Steaks, Italian and Seafood Restaurant, Malara’s Italian Restaurant

Readers’ Recommend: Nicola’s Italian Wine & Faire, Mangia Italiana

Best Japanese Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Blue Sushi Sake Grill

Readers’ Choice: Yoshitomo, Sakura Bana Japanese Restaurant, Dragon Cafe

Readers’ Recommend: Hiro 88, Matsu Sushi

Best Local Food-Serving Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Block 16

Readers’ Choice: Benson Brewery, Fauxmaha, Stirnella

Readers’ Recommend: Modern Love, Boiler Room, J. Coco

Readers’ Refer: Dante Ristorante Pizza, Kitchen Table, Table Grace Cafe

Best Mexican Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: La Mesa Mexican Restaurant

Readers’ Choice: Maria’s, Abelardo’s Mexican Fresh, Cilantros Mexican Bar & Grill

Readers’ Recommend: Trini’s Mexican Restaurant, Roja Mexican Grill, Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria El Rey 

Readers’ Refer: Estilo Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, Tixteco Mexican Restaurant, Howard’s Charro Cafe

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: El Basha Mediterranean Grill

Readers’ Choice: Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine, Chaikhana Bar & Shishkabobs, Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob

Readers’ Recommend: Shahen Afghan Restaurant

Best New Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: The Switch Beer and Food Hall

Readers’ Choice: Cheeseburgers, Naughty Buddha Burger Bar, Pacific Eating House

Readers’ Refer: Edge of the Universe

Best Nouveau Cuisine Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Modern Love

Readers’ Choice: Edge of the Universe, Boiler Room Restaurant, Le Bouillon, Brushi European American Cuisine

Best Pasta Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Spaghetti Works

Readers’ Choice: Malara’s Italian Restaurant, Pasta Amore Cafe & Bar, Spezia – Steaks, Italian, and Seafood Restaurant, Via Farina 

Best Pizza Parlor

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Mama’s Pizza

Readers’ Choice: Copps Pizza Company 

Readers’ Recommend: Johnny Sortino’s Pizza Parlor, Big Fred’s Pizza Garden & Lounge, Frank’s Pizzeria, Virtuoso Pizzeria by David Losole, Zio’s Pizzeria

Readers’ Refer: Noli’s Pizzeria, The Brick Oven Pizzeria, Sgt. Peffer’s Cafe Italian, PizzaWest, Tasty Pizza, Caniglia’s A Mano, Via Farina, Bernie’s Pizza Parlor, Don Carmelo’s Pizzeria

Best Ramen Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Ika Ramen

Readers’ Choice: Yoshi-Ya Ramen, Ika San Ramen, JINYA Ramen Bar

Readers’ Recommend: Lucky Tiger Izakaya & Sushi

Best Restaurant for Romance

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Brother Sebastian’s Steakhouse

Readers’ Choice: Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, Spezia – Steaks, Italian, and Seafood Restaurant

Readers’ Recommend: J. Coco, La Buvette Wine & Grocery, Johnny’s Cafe

Readers’ Refer: Modern Love

Best Retail Meat Counter

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Fareway Meat and Grocery

Readers’ Choice: Just Good Meat, Hy-Vee, Stoysich House of Sausage

Readers’ Refer: B.I.G. Meats

Best Retail Produce Selection

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Hy-Vee

Readers’ Choice: Whole Foods Market, ALDI, Trader Joe’s

Readers’ Refer: Natural Grocers

Best Retail Wine Selection

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Hy-Vee

Readers’ Choice: Spirit World, Wine, Beer, and Spirits, Trader Joe’s

Readers’ Recommend: La Buvette Wine & Grocery

Readers’ Refer: Marks Pantry and Bottle Shop, Whole Foods Market, Vino Mas

Best Sandwich Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Block 16

Readers’ Choice: Jimmy John’s, The Bánh Mì Shop, Ethnic Sandwich Shop, Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub & Grill

Readers’ Recommend: Star Deli, Hartland Bar-B-Que

Readers’ Refer: Fauxmaha

Best Seafood Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar

Readers’ Choice: Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Plank Seafood Provisions

Readers’ Refer: Lutfi’s Fried Fish

Best Steak House

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: The Drover

Readers’ Choice: Brother Sebastian’s Steakhouse, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse

Readers’ Recommend: Charleston’s Restaurant, Cascio’s Steakhouse, Gorat’s

Best Sushi Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Blue Sushi Sake Grill

Readers’ Choice: Yoshitomo, Hiro 88

Readers’ Recommend: Ponzu Sushi & Grill, Sakura Bana, Matsu Sushi

Best Sweets Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Old Market Candy Shop

Readers’ Choice: Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop, Chocolat Abeille

Readers’ Refer: A Family Affair Caramels 

Best Taco Shop

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Maria’s

Readers’ Choice: Abelardo’s Mexican Fresh, Voodoo Taco, California Tacos & More

Readers’ Recommend: Taco Co., Roja Mexican Grill, Hook and Lime

Readers’ Refer: Mas Chingon, The Hoppy Taco

Best Take Out

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Winchester Bar & Grill

Readers’ Choice: Hartland Bar-B-Que, Salween Thai Restaurant

Readers’ Recommend: Crystal Jade Restaurant, Modern Love, Naughty Buddha Burger Bar, Oasis The Falafel Joint, Nice Rollz

Readers’ Refer: Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen

Best Tapas (Small Portions)

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Blue Sushi Sake Grill

Readers’ Choice: Hook and Lime, Le Bouillon, Oasis The Falafel Joint

Readers’ Refer: The Grove Juicery & Wellness Cafe

Best Tex-Mex 

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Roja Mexican Grill

Readers’ Choice: Maria’s, Cilantros Mexican Bar & Grill, Trini’s Mexican Restaurant, Stokes Grill & Bar

Readers’ Recommend: Hook and Lime

Readers’ Refer: Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill

Best Thai Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Salween Thai Restaurant

Readers’ Choice: Thai Pepper

Readers’ Recommend: Thai Orchids Restaurant, Bangkok Kitchen, Mercy Thai Restaurant, Laos Thai

Best Vegetarian Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Modern Love

Readers’ Choice: Fauxmaha, Okra African Grill, Soular Power Plate 

Best Wing Restaurant

Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O: Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille 

Readers’ Choice: Wingstop, Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings

Readers’ Recommend: Buffalo Wild Wings, The Salty Dog Bar & Grill, Crescent Moon

Readers’ Refer: Modern Love, Nite Owl

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