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Rardy

Omaha Restaurants

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Omaha loves chain restaurants - apparently - because reportedly over 200 of them have opened up in the past 2 years.

The list is rather impressive for a city the size of Omaha with the likes of On the Border, Cheesecake Factory, Jimmy John's, and Granite City.

These come on the heels of Firebird's and Moe's which already have Omaha locations. Already open: Cheeburger Cheeburger, Kona, Fleming's, Colton's, and Johnny Carino's.

The Westroads Mall alone has TGI Friday's and P.F. Chang's, and now Granite City and Cheesecake Factory.

Omaha is known for steaks, and now...chains.

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PepperJax Grill is opening their 5th Omaha location at 72nd St. and Military.

A 6th location will open in 2008 at Park Dr. and 84th St.

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I seem to recall a lot of very good restaurants in the Old Market area- very few of them were chain places. I hope they are still going. Omaha's downtown did impress me, even if they have lost a number of important buildings, Omaha's downtown appears healthy- Jobber's Canyon and ConAgra notwithstanding.

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I seem to recall a lot of very good restaurants in the Old Market area- very few of them were chain places. I hope they are still going. Omaha's downtown did impress me, even if they have lost a number of important buildings, Omaha's downtown appears healthy- Jobber's Canyon and ConAgra notwithstanding.

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This article in today's World-Herald highlights the difficulty local restaurants are having competing with national chains.

SaddleCreek Record's new mixed use development in NoDo has been trying to convince a local restaurant - any local restaurant - to move into a 3,600 sq ft bay, but no takers. All cite the high cost of overhead and an ability to take that amount of risk. Apparently, national chains are backed up waiting to get into SaddleCreek, but the developers (whom I think like apparently) want local flavor.

Article here>>

And the space easily could be rented by now to a national chain, Nansel said. He declined to name the interested parties.

"It's really easy to see why our streets are lined with strip mall after strip mall of the same thing, because it's really easy to rent that stuff out," he said. "If we did that, we'd have just another replica of something six blocks up the road."

Saddle Creek's reluctance to lease to a national chain falls in line with the philosophy of independence that has guided the business.

"I just think that franchises and corporations are inherently bad for the development of culture," Nansel said. "It takes away any uniqueness of a city."

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That is quite a reversal from the usual position of a developer. I hope they will find success in attracting a local tenant for their space. The usual position is so terribly skewed against local businesses that most malls won't even consider allowing a store or restaurant in which isn't part of a huge chain. I love the idea of just saying NO to Ruby Tuesday's. Good luck to them.

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That is quite a reversal from the usual position of a developer. I hope they will find success in attracting a local tenant for their space. The usual position is so terribly skewed against local businesses that most malls won't even consider allowing a store or restaurant in which isn't part of a huge chain. I love the idea of just saying NO to Ruby Tuesday's. Good luck to them.

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Omaha seems to have developed a somewhat unusual problem, part of it IMO comes from sprawl, the other part from pursuing national chains too aggressively.

On W. Center Rd. at 168th, chains of all types crowded in to get a slice of booming Omaha's next retail corridor. Too many of them crowded in, however, for the neighborhood to support them. And this is leading to closings of national, popular chains like Moe's Southwest Grill, Montana's, Ellada, and Cheeburger Cheeburger have all folded (something Jeff Beals and GrowOmaha doesn't readily acknowledge).

So what's the answer? Capitalism is capitalism, to an extent.

What about the sprawl that's now reaching out to the 200th streets? What about the chains invading and making Omaha's restaurant scene just another Tulsa or Fresno? What about the mom-n-pop restaurants that have closed by the dozens that the WH isn't reporting on??

WH article here>>

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^Two restaurants at Village Point, 1 restaurant on W. Center, and all 4 locations of Caribou Coffee have closed shop and left the building.

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Even more bad news, the Macaroni Grill at Westroads is closing on Wednesday according to this article in yesterday's World-Herald... :(

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Is the Flatiron Grill still open? I remember enjoying the place.

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