These 2 Omaha neighborhoods have some of the coolest bars and restaurants in America
Five years ago, the corner of 40th and Farnam didn’t inspire much hope.
Save for a few random storefronts, the street was deserted, and many of the buildings had been boarded up. As money was poured into developing the downtown area, and businesses continued to move out west, it appeared that many locals had simply forgotten about this part of town.
Not Jay Lund.
The commercial real estate broker saw potential in the abandoned midtown neighborhood, which in its heyday was a profitable business district and home to some of Omaha’s wealthiest families. In 2012, he and a few friends bought the building on the corner of 40th and Farnam.
The first three business to pop up were, Scriptown Brewery, Archetype Coffee, and a taco restaurant called Mula. Four years later, the area has been branded the Blackstone district (the historic name for the neighborhood), and 20 new businesses have joined the party.
So far, Lund and his business partner Matt Dwyer have leased 60,000 square feet of commercial space in Blackstone with their company Greenslate Development, and there are a handful of new renovation projects in the works. Most notably, Lund plans to build 180 new apartments.
“It really started as a side project, we thought it might be fun, and now it’s spiraled completely out of control,” Lund told Yahoo Finance.
This “side project” has brought nearly $10 million in new retail sales to Omaha, and well over $30 million has been invested in Blackstone projects. Lund credits the neighborhood’s success to the amazing tenants who have brought diverse and quirky businesses to the area.
“Many of our tenants lived here before moving to cities like Portland, Denver, Austin, Chicago, or New York,” said Lund. “Whey they moved back, they had all of these creative ideas for bars and restaurants in Omaha,” says Lund.
Take the Night Owl, a retro bar decorated with odd art and mismatched chandeliers. When you walk through the doors, the first thing you’ll notice is the sunken bar (very reminiscent of Don Draper’s apartment in Mad Men) and the smell of tater tots. That’s right, in addition to beer, whisky shots and wine, you can order a plate of Tat-chos (tater tot nachos) for you and your friends. If that doesn’t get you excited, patrons can also order the kitchen staff a 6-pack of beer off of the menu. It costs $12 if you were wondering.
Then there is Mula, a spot dedicated to serving up Mexican street food from tacos to tortas. It’s also a licensed tequileria with 120 different tequilas.
Oh, and we can’t forget to mention Noli’s Pizzeria, who takes their pledge of serving up New York-style pizza so seriously that they actually use water from New York in the dough. Rumor has it that local water in New York is what makes the bagels and pizza so irresistible, so Noli has partnered with a local filtration company in the Empire State to bring that taste to Omaha.