Given that world is supposed to end before my deadline, it almost seems foolish to write a story predicting what is to come in land of local food. If you are reading this, then I guess we all made it through alive. This is less of a prediction and more of a hope that we, as a community of people who eat, can use food to improve our health, our families and our lives in 2013.

Although, I tend to write almost exclusively about local food you should know that, above all things, I believe firmly in the value of a home cooked meal. Cooking awakens your senses and your desire for food that tastes good. Once you taste good food, it’s nearly impossible to go back. Once you learn to make something, you can’t unlearn it. Once you start cooking, getting your food from a drive through window would seem as logical as gnawing on a stick. You would rather go hungry than “run for the border.”

I predict more people will cook from home and with intention in 2013. Not as a part of their daily lives, but a meal or two a month (maybe even a week.) This is good enough for now. We will not cook as part of a movement or even a way of life. We will cook simply because something has to give. Something has to bring us together. To sit. To talk. To Laugh. Something has to give us some perspective and serving others is a way to humble ourselves, and realize we are all in this together. Dinner, believe it or not, is a good place to start. – Summer Miller

2013 will be the year of transparency for Omaha restaurants. Diners will expect menus and servers to not only tell them all about the food (Is it organic? Local? GMO? Vegan?) but they will also expect restaurants to allow diners a glimpse into the food preparation process. It’s a growing trend for restaurants to make their food preparation more visible, so expect to see more of this in Omaha.

There will also be two very distinct emerging groups among restaurants: those that boast about their healthy fare and those that delight in scoffing at the trend toward sensible portions and nutritious foods. The battle of healthy versus decadent will rage in 2013.

Restaurants will pay more attention to the needs of diners with allergies and other dietary restrictions. Expect to see more menu sections specific to gluten-free food and additional side item options that are healthier than they used to be.

Alcoholic drink options will skyrocket. No longer will you be able to simply order a beer or a margarita because you’ll be faced with a dizzying array of options. Look for more tastings too as restaurants try to turn their customers into beer/wine/liquor aficionados.

Omaha restaurants are going to try to outdo each other in the realm of creativity, so prepare yourself for some interesting new flavor combinations. National trends in offering more sophisticated fare instead of expected staples (think oven roasted portobello slices instead of French fries) will be present not only in the fine dining establishments around town, but in many of the casual dining restaurants too.

Final prediction: It’s going to be an excellent year to be a foodie in Omaha! – Tamsen Butler

My thought for the future in the Omaha food scene is that of Scene Two. Although the ovations are still roaring from the first act for many Omaha chefs, is curtain is about to go up again?

I predict that many of Omaha’s successful chefs and establishments will be starting another culinary endeavor or opening a second restaurant in 2013. Look for the talents behind Dario’s, Boiler Room, or Le Voltaire to open a second show in the upcoming year, maybe in the form of a restaurant completely different to the one already in success or more of the same but in a new ‘hood. We have already seen this happen in 2012 with Tommy Colina’s Kitchen, Stokes, and Lot 2 with their second hit in Baxter Pizza. This trend will luckily continue into the New Year especially after we have seen such great energy and success with a second restaurant from Amsterdam Falafel owners, Anne Cavanaugh and Phil Anania, The French Bulldog. And for places like the always busy Charleston’s, which is slated to open a second location in the vicinity of 72nd and Dodge. 

The diners are ready to fill your seats and your fans are ready to keep the Omaha food scene nationally recognized. So let’s hope the French Café doesn’t sit empty for long. (Hey there Chef Kulik, what do you got for us?) –Krista O’Malley

Leave a comment