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Weekly Market Report – July 7, 2022
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Restaurant & Retail Updates
Mahogany Prime Steakhouse and Charleston’s Restaurant are moving to Heartwood Preserve next year. Both restaurants will move into newly constructed, free-standing buildings along the west side of 144th Street, just south of the new Union Bank & Trust office building.
The current Mahogany is located at 13665 California Street. Charleston’s is at 13851 FNB Parkway. Lockwood Development of Omaha will renovate the existing buildings and lease them to other tenants after the moves take place. Both restaurants are owned by Oklahoma City-based Hal Smith Restaurants. The Charleston’s at 76th & Dodge Street is unaffected by the relocations.
PepperJax is building a free-standing location with a drive thru at U.S. Highway 6 & Bryan Street in Gretna. The new development also has a Fareway Meat Market, Casey’s General Store and AutoZone store.
Izzy’s Pizza Bus plans to start serving Detroit-style pizza to Omaha customers next week. Izzy’s is a food truck that operates out of a converted school bus. The owners relocated from Las Vegas to Omaha and are brining the pizza-bus business with them.
Noli’s Pizzeria, a popular stop for diners in the Blackstone District, has opened a second location at 11832 Standing Stone Drive in Gretna. The New York-style pizzeria is planning to open a third location later this summer in Regency Landing northeast of I-680 & Pacific Street.
The first of two Julio’s Tex-Mex restaurants has opened in a former Tanner’s sports bar space at 19102 Q Street. Julio’s went out of business in 2020 but is back under new ownership. A second location is opening soon in Miracle Hills.
Reagan’s Lobster Roll Shop has opened in the Inner Rail Food Hall at Aksarben Village. The restaurant serves three kinds of lobster rolls: Reagan’s Roll, a warm lobster tossed in a signature sauce; Connecticut Roll made with Maine lobster and served warm with butter and lemon; and the Maine Roll with chilled lobster, mayo, chives and celery.
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The “Restaurant & Retail Updates” section is sponsored by Anderson Convenience Market, featuring Quality AMOCO Fuels and serving Omaha since 1952, and proud to announce the return of Quality Amoco Fuels. Look for changes this Summer at Anderson Convenience Market – 8 Omaha area locations!
Learn more about Anderson Convenience market at www.Anderson1952.com
Grow Omaha Eats with
Sarah Baker Hansen
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Review: At Gather in Omaha, “something for everyone” turns out to be a rare success
Gather is the type of new Old Market restaurant that long-time Omaha diners haven’t seen in several years.
The Old Market arguably hasn’t welcomed a good, higher-end new restaurant since 2013, several years before the infamous M’s Pub fire.
Gather, located in a rebuilt space also destroyed in that fire, is working to change that — and hopefully helping to improve the Old Market’s culinary future after the neighborhood suffered through the twin Old Testament disasters of fire and viral plague.
The restaurant opened in the fall of 2021 at 1108 Howard St., in the spot formerly known as The Market House and, before that, Vivace. It’s aiming for that difficult target of “something for everyone,” sitting between being agreeable to most diners but still satisfying to the more adventurous. During my two recent visits, I found a lot to like, and as a diner who often feels let down by such a broad approach, I left pleasantly surprised.
Here’s what I mean: There’s a super solid hamburger, but also a bolognese made with elk meat. There’s other wild game on the menu — a bison steak — but also one of the better prepared pieces of salmon you’ll find anywhere in the neighborhood.
There’s recognizable appetizers like crispy Brussels sprouts, but there’s also bone marrow fried rice, which aims higher than most dishes on the menu, and almost (almost!) executes.
I can’t think of a new Old Market restaurant since the opening of Le Bouillon, down Howard street, that makes me more excited to be a downtown dweller. I still prefer standbys like Bouillon, Buvette and Boiler Room. But Gather could find its way onto my regular list.
Let’s start with that burger, which arrived perfectly cooked to medium as I ordered on a soft, bready bun with a substantial pile of shoestring fries. Most of the food at Gather is nicely seasoned; here, that includes the peppery wagyu hamburger, salty fries and a chili de arbol fry sauce with more of a spicy kick than I expected.
The burger comes interestingly topped with shaved cabbage, cooked but still crunchy; roasted mushrooms; onions; and smoked gouda, which has a pronounced smoky flavor. House-made, skin-on French fries are always a treat, and the ones at Gather are crisp-tender and delicious.
The tomato-forward Elk bolognese comes packed with not just hunks of elk but also wagyu and bison. Gather’s original location is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; this focus on wild game makes sense, to me, when a diner knows that.
Paired with thick-cut homemade pasta, Pecorino cheese, grilled baguette and an optional soft cook egg, which we added, the dish is well-executed with a nice depth of flavor, particularly from that combination of meats. I appreciated that it wasn’t a throwaway dish, as pasta dishes on such broad menus often are.
If you haven’t been back in this space since the fire and resulting water damage that closed The Market House, you’re in for a surprise. Gather’s dining room has been completely transformed, with the bar now on the west side of the vast dining room, a totally open kitchen and not just a front patio, but one on the backside, too.
Inside, art from local artist Watie White decorates the walls, and downstairs is the much-Instagrammed hydroponic garden, which is fun to walk through after your meal. The restaurant sells bags of greens and herbs for diners to take home, too.
We sat at the bar during one visit and on that new back patio during another, and found friendly service in both spaces, with advice and recommendations if a diner asked and well-executed drinks from Gather’s cocktail list.
The Old Market Fashioned is a balanced, smooth version of the classic made with local Brickway bourbon or rye. The Caliente Wey is labeled as a house favorite, and I can see why: it’s like a slightly spicy, jalapeno blackberry margarita made with zingy house limeade.
The Becky is a tasty summer spritz sort of number made with a few of my personal favorite ingredients: prosecco, St. Germain and grapefruit, topped with house-grown basil. Call me basic if you will, but I promise it’s good.
The restaurant has both a red and white wine of the day, which equates to a rotating house selection. I took the bartender’s advice and upgraded to a pinot on the by-the-glass list, which I liked better than any of the house wines I tried.
The Mediterranean burrata appetizer is a crowd pleaser: Olive oil-grilled Naan comes with a big ball of the soft cheese; mild hummus; and a smoky tomato, cucumber, olive and balsamic side salad. It’s light and tasty, with nice temperature contrasts and no surprises.
I had my eye on the bone marrow fried rice from the moment we first sat down at Gather, and what really surprised me here is the presentation: the sushi rice spiked with soy and bone marrow comes served in a straight-edged rectangle, topped with a pineapple and cucumber salad, nori komi furikake, which is sesame seeds and roasted black seaweed and a soft cooked egg, which we added. I longed for more umami in this dish, or some type of depth. Instead, it fell disappointingly flat.
In contrast, the pan seared miso salmon might have been my favorite dish on the menu. It’s wonderfully cooked: a tender, mid-rare center with an exceedingly crispy skin. The sizable filet sits atop house-grown bok choy and mustard greens and the rest of the bowl is full of flavorful bites to pry out: hot Fresno peppers, pineapple, sour cherries and miso-glazed peas, all topped with a yuzu vinaigrette.
The red wine marinated bison strip arrived medium rare with a nice char on its exterior. Bison can be dry, but this is decidedly not. I liked the new twist on the side dishes: sweet potatoes topped with a mild Boursin cheese fondue, old-school pickled red beets and room-temp charred stalks of broccolini.
A quick line on dessert: the doughnut holes are great. Though they’re fried, the finish is crisp instead of greasy, with a cakey interior. They come with three sauces for dipping: a thick, cool chocolate; a sweet vanilla; and a fruity blackberry; the latter two are great when combined.
Prices at Gather are on the higher side. The burger clocks in at $19 and is the most affordable of the large plates. Most are in the $30 to $40 range, with the red wine marinated bison sitting just shy of $50. While the atmosphere, to me, feels more everyday, for some, the prices probably veer into “special occasion” territory. After tip, both of our tabs stretched above $100.
All that said, I liked almost everything we tried. Gather does a lot and does most of it well.
It’s rare for me to say, but I think almost any diner will actually find something to enjoy here, and that’s a rare feat in the Old Market or the restaurant world.
The Big Story
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Photo by Brad Williams
Renovated Gene Leahy Mall Makes Big Splash
The reopening of the Gene Leahy Mall this past weekend was a smash hit. The $100 million project debuted Friday with big crowds and much fanfare. Many opening weekend visitors said the mall exceeded their expectations.
The 15-acre mall is the first park to open in an overall $325 million renovation of downtown’s Riverfront parks, which also include Heartland of America park and Lewis & Clark Landing. The latter two parks are scheduled to open next summer.
Not included in the total renovation price tag is the $100 million Kiewit Luminarium, a world-class science and technology museum that will open next year on the Lewis & Clark Landing. The vast majority of funding for the parks and museum came from private donors.
Opening weekend festivities included outdoor concerts in the new performance pavilion on Friday and Saturday nights, featuring nationally known performers. On Sunday, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Theatre department performed Fame The Musical on the outdoor stage. On Sunday, July 4th, the Omaha Symphony played patriotic music followed by a fireworks show.
Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was an electric light and outdoor video show in which spectacular images were displayed on the Burlington Building’s façade. Unfortunately, the light shows will not be a nightly occurrence, rather they will be reserved for special events.
The Gene Leahy Mall, which had been looking shopworn in recent years, is hardly recognizable. The formerly sunken park has been brought up to street level except for the eastern side near 10th Street. The change in elevation has added countless square feet of usable space and has activated a park that was previously used just for strolling and jogging.
New amenities include a kids’ play area, impressive landscaping, public artwork, the performance pavilion, a massive central lawn, dog park, several seating areas and the cascades, a set of water fountains that lead to the sunken lagoon on the east side. The iconic slides remain, but two additional slides have been added. All were full of kids (and some adults) throughout opening weekend.
One of the most visually striking new features is a massive LED video board underneath the 10th Street bridge on the park’s north side.
Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, the same organization that manages the CHI Health Center Omaha and Charles Schwab Field Omaha, is taking care of all three Riverfront parks. That means the parks will receive extra care, attention, and security than typical city-owned parks. MECA is also providing entertainment and programs in each park, which should keep visitors coming back regularly.
The old mall provided attractive photos for Omaha postcards but was not heavily trafficked especially in its later years. The new mall is highly programmed and activated, which should increase foot traffic and bring new energy to the entire downtown district.
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Grow Omaha Snippets
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What’s going on at 156th & Ida? Construction is underway on Waterford Crossing, a 22,030 sq. ft. strip center on a 2.78-acre lot on the northeast corner. A yet-to-be announced sports bar will occupy 3,300 sq. ft. in the new building.
Oakview Plaza 14 has opened inside the former AMC Oakview 24 theatre building near Oakview Mall. The new cinema complex is part of Missouri-based B&B Theatres, a family-owned company with 54 locations in 14 states. Oakview Plaza 14 is the company’s first property in Nebraska. The AMC closed in 2020.
Metro Omaha’s newest ORBT station opened last Friday at 8th & Farnam between Gene Leahy Mall and Heartland of America Park. This is the final station on the ORBT line, making a total of 28 stations and four mini-stops between downtown and the western terminus at Westroads Mall.
The Internet Car Lot, Inc. is renovating a large warehouse at 1805 Leavenworth Street into a reconditioning facility to serve its two metro area dealerships. The downtown facility will house a large body shop, mechanical facilities, detail center and photo studio as well as a service area and administrative office space. Construction is expected to start in the next 60 days.
ArchWell Health has agreed to take about 15,000 sq. ft. at 3501 South 84th Street in Westgate Plaza for one of its first clinics in Nebraska, according to CoStar. The Nashville-based company, which focuses on primary care for seniors, was founded in 2020 and offers “holistic primary healthcare services to Medicare-eligible seniors in medically under-served neighborhoods.” ArchWell has 13 clinics in six metropolitan areas and plans to expand rapidly. Westgate Plaza is a 106,000 sq. ft. center that was built in the late 1950s and is anchored Mangelsen’s.
Aksarben Senior Living plans to add about 40 units for assisted or independent living at its complex near 72nd & Pine Street, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The $13 million, 3-story addition would be the complex’s third phase. Construction should start in August and be completed next year.
Grow Omaha Snippets are brought to you by Omaha Car Care with four metro area locations – 131st & Dodge, 58th & Center, 85th & L and 144th & Harrison.
Omaha Car Care “We’ll be along for the ride.”
Eagle Mortgage Home Loan Services
Eagle Mortgage is a locally owned, full-service mortgage company helping you with Conventional, VA, FHA and USDA loans in both Nebraska & Iowa, including the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
Whether you are buying a home or looking to refinance an existing loan, Eagle Mortgage can help you realize your dream of homeownership or help you save money by obtaining a lower monthly payment. Eagle has plenty of experience with first-time home buyers too.
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Local Business News Sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland:
Real Estate News from CoStar – IWG, the world’s largest flexible office space provider, is teaming up with property owners on what could be the company’s most aggressive expansion to date. IWG plans to add 500 to 700 locations by mid-2023 in the United States through some of its best-known brands such as Regus and Spaces. Most of the new locations will be through partnerships with landlords, while the rest will be franchise agreements.
The plans would bolster IWG’s portfolio by about 50 percent in the Americas. It’s the U.K.-based company’s largest and most profitable region, with more than 1,250 locations in the United States, Canada and Latin America.
Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit, jointly managed financial cooperatives based in Omaha, have received a Quantum Workplace Employee Voice Award for “their commitment to making teammates feel valued and heard.” Quantum Workplace is a leading provider of comprehensive employee engagement and performance software. Its annual Employee Voice Awards “recognize customer organizations that have prioritized employee engagement to strengthen the work culture and be employers of choice.”
Valmont Industries, Inc. will host its second quarter 2022 earnings conference call on Thursday, July 21st at 8:00 a.m. CDT.
Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom is back in action and traveling across the country this summer to film a brand-new television series, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.” The series, which will debut in January 2023 on RFD-TV and digital channels, will showcase conservation success stories, aiming to inspire the next generation of conservationists.
KwElite has opened an Elkhorn real estate office in an 11,520 sq. ft. space at 2606 North Main Street in the newly constructed, 5-story Elkhorn Station building. A grand opening is scheduled for August 15th.
The Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, rose above growth neutral for the 25th straight month. The Index, which ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, sank to a still-solid 58.6 from May’s 60.0.
Nebraska Examiner reports that Omaha ranked 13th in a nationwide study of the most competitive rental markets during the first four months of the year. Researchers looked at the 100 largest U.S. markets and five metrics: average number of days that rentals were vacant; percentage of occupied apartments; pool of prospective renters; lease renewal rates; and new apartments completed compared to the 2021 supply. They used Yardi Systems data from market-rate properties with 50 or more rental units. Fully affordable apartment complexes were excluded.
This section is sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland, the local, trusted franchise experts. They are “in the business of helping you get into business!”
Grow Omaha University
Leadership & Sales Insights for Ambitious People
Sponsored by MyStaff, Inc.
Compiled by Grow Omaha co-founJeff Bealsder and sales trainer
Leadership & Management
Effective leaders accept responsibility. They realize that they are in charge and accountable for what happens, but they don’t see themselves as bosses. A leader is not a foreman. As a leader, you must depend on the abilities and hard work of your team. A successful leader is one who establishes “interdependence.” He or she trusts and depends on the staff while the staff trusts the leader to guide, provide resources and create a positive and productive atmosphere.
The Dos and DON’Ts of People Management:
Do: Teach the “why” in addition to the “what”
Do: Hire people who love learning
Do: Ask newcomers to solve problems on their own as soon as possible
Do: Give experienced employees the opportunity to teach new/junior ones
Do: Provide training in both group and individual formats
Don’t: Teach a “one-and-done,” because learning must be an on-going process
Don’t: Feel stupid saying, “I don’t know.”
Don’t: Be scared to let poor performers loose
According to Spotio, a sales technology company, the best time to make a cold call is between 4 and 5 p.m. Actually, I think that’s the second-best time. When calling decision makers, early morning is a little better.
Sales guru Anthony Iannarino wrote in an article that sales leaders can make a big mistake by not clearly determining and communicating what types of clients they want and why such clients are essential. Sales leaders must design and administer a system which focuses the sales team on the right clients.
Many sales leaders “allow the individuals on their sales team to determine for themselves whom they target,” Iannarino said.
“Such a laissez-faire approach produces pipelines that are a hodgepodge of (clients), mostly in the pipeline only because they were willing to engage with the salesperson,” Iannarino said.
The key is to build territory and account plans that effectively target the clients you want in your client portfolio. This focuses the sales team, helping them concentrate on significant deals with the most meaningful clients.
“The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.” – Margaret Wheatley
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King Jr
Grow Omaha University is sponsored by MyStaff Inc, a locally owned staffing firm whose purpose is helping Nebraska companies recruit for corporate office positions.
My Staff Inc – Our team helps you find yours!
People in the News
Sponsored by Baird Holm Attorneys at Law
WoodmenLife has appointed Shawn Bengtson as executive vice president and Chief Risk Officer, effective July 1st. She will lead WoodmenLife’s expanded risk management efforts in cyber security, investment underwriting, physical property security, business continuity, corporate insurance retention, and current and forecasted business risks. She will also lead the Enterprise Risk, Security, and Property & Facility divisions.
Lutz, an Omaha-based business solutions firm, has added Katie Buckley as a financial analyst in its M&A division. She specializes in merger and acquisition advisory services and business valuation.
Holmes Murphy has announced several promotions and new hires in its Omaha office. Julie Hughes and Emily Perry have been promoted to senior client consultants, employee benefits. Liz McPeek and Joe Rider have been hired as account managers, employee benefits. Krysta Maples has been hired as a client service consultant. Todd Hansen, client executive in property casual insurance, is transferring to Omaha from the company’s Des Moines, Iowa office.
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