Something I’ve realized since moving to Omaha is how many amazing restaurants there are. This city loves its food. In the last seven months since we moved here Josh and I have been slowly but surely tasting our way through the city. When I heard that Omaha Culinary Tours had started offering food tours around Omaha I knew they picked the perfect city. To be honest, I was shocked we didn’t already have a food tour option. We’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants but still have so many more we want to try. Omaha Culinary Tours was so sweet to treat us to a Chocolate and Pastries Tour. (Disclaimer: Our tour was free.) It’s a three hour bus tour that travels all over Omaha. The cost is $55 a person, which may sound high but I feel to be worth not only the food but the experience of the event.
We started off our tour at The Cordial Cherry in West Omaha. We got to meet with the owner and hear her story about how she created this company using her grandmother’s chocolate covered cherry recipes. She went on to be featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things and sell 15x the amount show producers estimated. We tried her cherries and found them to be absolutely delicious. They were so delicious we ended up buying a box to go.
Our second stop was Le Petit Paris. We met with the owner who is a chef from France. He wound up in Nebraska because of a girl. This was a completely new to me bakery, although I had heard great things about Le Voltaire, his restaurant right next door. We got to sample so many different pastries and tour the bakery. The baker who makes the croissants for the bakery is actually also from France. France is so proud of their croissants that they have a competition to determine who makes the best ones. The baker won gold at the croissant competition in France, and then decided it was time for an adventure and moved to Nebraska. The breads were fabulous. I’m so sad this place is out West because I would eat here all the time if it was closer to home. To console myself I picked up some macaroons on the way out. I could not pass up French macaroons made by a French guy! They did not disappoint.
Our third stop was to The Market Basket. All of these restaurants were new to me, but this one has been around for a long time.
We were greeted with a set table and a plate of desserts to try. It was such a beautiful atmosphere and so fun to get to chat with other people on the tour while enjoying new food. Julie from Family Fun in Omaha and her husband were there. It was so great getting to spend time with them.
Our fourth stop was Gerda’s German Restaurant. Gerda is a hoot! Part of the charm of this tour is getting to meet with the owners of the restaurants and see how their personality influences the restaurant. Gerda handed out sugar cookies to sample when we got there, but I was too distracted by all the people eating pan fried chicken. Thursday night is pan fried chicken night at Gerda’s, or as she refers to it, ‘friggen chicken’. It may seem weird that a German restaurant serves fried chicken, but Gerda spent some time down South and mastered the art. After having so many sweets I decided it would be nice to switch things up a little bit and ordered a piece of chicken to go. It was incredible. I definitely want to go back on another Thursday night and get some more fried chicken.
Our last stop of the night was Stories Coffeehouse. Owned by the creator of The Cordial Cherry, it is a unique store within a store. It was created to encourage women to become entrepreneurs and is one big coffee shop with multiple stores inside. All the women own their own business and all have stories of how entrepreneurship came to be their passion. This truly is the perfect coffee shop because you can come with a big group and find something for everyone. While hearing about the businesses we were able to sample foods from all the stores, and hang out and chat until we felt like heading home. It was the perfect last stop for the tour.
This tour was truly an incredible experience. As many people kept saying, it felt like we were on vacation. As we got off the bus for the last time we were given a rose for Valentine’s Day and a goody bag with some little treats inside. Not pictured in this review are the hot chocolate, fresh marshmallows, and chocolates from The Grey Plume and the pecan bars and lemon tarts from Sweet Magnolia’s Bake Shop we were given on the bus between stops. We were also entertained with fun facts and the history of Omaha along the way. Our hosts were amazing and the experience was great from start to finish.
Omaha Culinary Tours is currently offering the bussed Chocolate and Pastry tours and a walking tour of Midtown Crossings. New tours are expected to be added soon and include an Old Market walking tour, a steak tour of Omaha, a beer tour, a vegetarian tour, and many more. Josh and I already can’t wait to attend another one.
Question of the Day: Have you ever done a food tour of a city?