By Abigail Stephans, Contributor
Not many people want to be left with those last-minute decisions for places to eat when hunger strikes. But these locally owned eateries and sweet shops, near the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, can offer guidance for those hungry moments.
Trini’s Mexican Restaurant
1020 Howard St.
Begin in downtown Omaha, where live music can be heard on nearly every corner. In this lively clash of classic stores and modern culture, one will find the Old Market Passageway located near 11th and Howard streets. Located inside this passageway is a little nook that holds Trini’s Mexican Restaurant. Wrapping around the small dining area of Trini’sis a low wrought iron fence that encapsulates the intimacy that one finds within. Surrounded by unique shops, art displays and the foliage of this inner brick haven, Trini’s ambience seeps through the fence, luring guests in with candle-lit tables and red-hued illuminations of shaded lamps against the back wall.
While Trini’s happy hours focus more on margaritas and various drink specials, their menu is reasonably priced, with easily affordable appetizers and large plates that could feed two or more per dish. Various a la carte items are available, as well as the staple dishes every guest looks for when craving Mexican-style cuisine. Start the night off with a cheese crisp- a flatbread baked with cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses – and just add preferred toppings to complete the appetizer. Move on to large portioned beef, chicken, shrimp or combination fajita dishes, or choose from one of the eight combination platters available. Trini’s even put a spin on traditional Mexican cuisine by providing diverse taste and diet options, such as vegetarian tacos, salads and a Veggie Diablo Stew.
5201 Underwood Ave.
Just a few miles away, in the historic streets of Dundee, UNO students can meet at 5021 Underwood Ave. to create their own perfect pizza at Willy Thiesen’s Pitch Pizzeria. Between the Meatball Pie pizza – crafted by the chefs at Pitch Pizzeria – and the Thai Pie pizza, with its creamy Thai peanut sauce and pickled ginger, guests can’t go wrong. And if the chefs haven’t created the perfect pitch of pizza ingredients, they give visitors the option to create their own. Those making a personal pizza can choose from three different cheeses, three protein options, such as roasted chicken or white anchovy, and two vegetables.
Pizza isn’t the only thing this restaurant does right. With hand-cut steaks, delectable pastas and fresh salads, Pitch Pizzeria has a menu that can feed just about any appetite. Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday, in late afternoon, just before dinner rush. Wander in before 6 p.m. to get an extra $5 off any pizza or appetizer. Happy hour also includes combinations of pizza and a bottle of wine, to lure in of-age crowds who want to enjoy some downtime and take a break from busy class schedules.
With pizzas baked in a coal-fired brick oven, right before the guests’ eyes, Pitch Pizzeria also has an atmosphere that can’t be found at just any pizza place. The lights hang low from the ceiling; bare bulbs hanging on thick cords just above the dining area, create a soft haze and trendy vibe to the parlor. Often a bit crowded and busy, Pitch’s pizzas can also be ordered for takeout. While prices may run a bit high for the average student, taking advantage of the happy hour specials make Pitch Pizzeria a convenient treat for UNO students.
The Dundee Dell
5007 Underwood Ave.
Don’t forget to stop in at the Dundee Dell for some British village style dishes, such as a classic Reuben or a French Dip. Their famous clam chowder, served every Friday, is just one of the signs that the Dundee Dell is mirroring the old traditions of fresh coast-side ingredients from British and Irish pubs. With a laid-back and inviting atmosphere, the privately owned restaurant is a great pit stop for an at-ease ambience and reasonably priced dishes.
Perhaps the Dundee Dell is most renowned for its wide variety of Scotch malts, but it’s the Fish ‘n Chips happy hour (two-pieces for $7.35) that reel the hungry in from 4-8 p.m.Monday through Saturday. Consumer reviews are consistently high for drinks, food, and service, and the Dell is renowned for being among the classic staple of privately owned restaurants in the Omaha area.
While this dive bar and fish-and-chips-pub-of-Omaha may be too noisy to drag the textbooks in for a study night, it’s full of energy and atmosphere. Dubbing itself the “center of love in Omaha” it also presents an opportunity for an adventurous date night with an affordable price tag for college students looking to spend some time on the town.
Jones Bros. Cupcakes
2121 S. 67th St.
Jones Bros. Cupcakes, found off of Center and 67th streets, is a bakery and cafÃ© worth investigating. Their menu provides cafÃ©-style favorites, like panini’s, sandwiches and salads. Jones Bros. also offers gluten-free and vegan sandwiches on request. Chocolate Peanut Butter and Caramel Apple cupcakes are just a few of the pleasures that helped win Jones Bros. Cupcakes a first place title in the Best of Omaha of 2013 contest. While the cafÃ© also serves homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and paninis, the mainstay of Jones Bros. Cupcakes is their bakery. Their handmade baked goods are often raved about from the Aksarben Village area, out to West Omaha and even into the Old Market, drawing guests into the sweet shop from all over the city.
Jones Bros. Cupcakes has tailored their menu for those who have gluten allergies or intolerance, while keeping these sweet indulgences moist and delectable. Students can often be found at the desert destination because they serve coffee and have seating with outlets available for study sessions – a great combo for Maverick’s.