At The Reader, we go to great lengths to ensure that the information we are sharing with you is accurate and truthful. Mindfulness of our responsibility means we tread lightly on fluctuating situations, and at the moment, even accuracy has an expiration date. But keeping our Readers informed doesn’t take a quarantine break.
To keep our information relevant, we have foregone lists of closings, re-openings and then re-closings, and those who have switched to delivery and pickup services. This information is changing so rapidly that it would be a disservice to share it, knowing that its truthfulness may have gone stale by the time this goes to print. We do, however, frequently share this information on our Instagram @TheReaderOmahaDish.
We’ve opted in this moment not to list all of the establishments we have lost in the last month, and the somber truth is that many of these losses will be permanent.
We will honor every single one of them once the dust clears, but if you look through that fog, you’ll see something else entirely.
Several intrepid entrée-preneurs have taken this opportunity to do better than simply continue to exist, they’re finding ways to use this chaos as a ladder. Yes, that was a Game of Thrones reference and I’m still mad about the finale.
Let’s take a look at a few establishments who are doing better than surviving, but are helping the community find abundance today, not “when things settle down”.
Chef/Owner of Dario’s, Nicola’s, and Avoli, Dario Schicke, isn’t altogether unfamiliar with facing devastation with courage and creativity. Having gone on to thrive after losing his Greenwich Village establishment to the 9/11 attacks, Chef has faced the Pandemic with a sense of cautious optimism.
Schicke has concentrated his efforts by combining two of his establishments into one, spawning Darvoli from Avoli and Dario’s. Pantry items can be purchased to elevate your own recipes, take and bake pasta dishes can be ordered ahead of time, and takeout from a Darvoli-exclusive menu is available.
While Nick Bartholomew has had his own share of hardship since social distancing shuttered OverEasy’s dining room, he has also taken the opportunity to seek new ways to bring comfort to the community. In a move that’s been in the works since January, he has purchased the rights to B&G’s name and recipe book, and is looking forward to finding a home from which to sling the famous loose meat sandwiches.
“It wasn’t just about being able to sell this sandwich that did well, it was about trying to restore something the neighborhood loved for so long. I’m looking for a place close to where B&G always operated. Those are the people who are going to get the most good out of B&G opening again. I could just stick their recipes on my menu, and while I would love to offer this to my clients out west sometimes, this is a community experience and I want to bring it back home to them.”
Nick has also partnered with several area chefs to reimagine the good that Dandelion PopUp can do. Furloughed restaurant workers are finding temporary employment beside noted chefs to serve the underserved. With donations from Sisco, Omaha Steaks, and community funds (Donated via Venmo to DandelionPopUp and Paypal to OneLocalFoods@gmail.com) Dandelion is feeding hundreds of families each week.
Right Here Right Now
You may know the name Josh Foo from his exceptional photography, his collaboration with Kristina Lee on “The Bad Breath”, or his off the wall antics and irreverently hilarious YouTube channel. His latest mark on Omaha, a documentary series produced and shot by himself and Lauren Abell, may become his most meaningful.
Bringing focus to the heart of Omaha’s service industry, Right Here Right Now is at times funny, moving, and hopeful with an unflinching honesty that reminds us that each of our Omaha experiences are connected.
There is no denying that the dining industry is being hit hard, but it took courage to build the industry Omaha was so proud of. If we keep showing up to support, they will keep showing up with inventive new ways to feed our communities.