Attention Lot 2 diners – your voice was heard. The restaurant that has received glowing reviews and accolades for its innovative dining experience is the Reader’s Choice Best of the Big O for Best New Restaurant of 2012. After collectively being in the restaurant business for over 21 years, Brad and Johanna Marr decided to venture out of their own and start, as they call it, “a neighborhood restaurant with well-made food and great flavors.” And obviously, they are doing just that.

The couple spent over a year scoping out the perfect location for their restaurant and decided on Benson because of its amazing neighborhood feeling and its approachability. While speaking to Brad Marr recently, I asked him what challenges a new restaurant in Omaha faces.  He explained that it comes down to vision. He went on to say, “The biggest risk is having a vision of what you want and hoping that people share in that same vision.”

Their vision not only includes full flavors and inviting dishes, but also an impressive wine list. Both of their previous restaurant experiences led them to realize that importance of wine in dining. With that in mind, they have three certified sommeliers in the restaurant to oversee the diversity and selection of the wines.

In thinking about opening a restaurant, I asked Brad about his defining moment when he knew that this industry was the one for him. He told me that his moment occurred while working his very first restaurant job at V. Mertz. He graduated with a degree in graphic design but once he got a taste of the restaurant world, he was hooked.

However, for Johanna, that moment occurred much earlier, at the age of 15 when she started working for a family-owned restaurant in Washington. After years of working for other restaurants, they knew that it was either time to start their own, or leave the industry. And thankfully, they chose the first option. We, as diners, are definitely grateful for that decision.

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