2016 Best of Omaha Results - Omaha Magazine

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  • Best of Omaha2016| 3 |bestofomaha.com

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  • Omaha Magazine2016| 4 |omahamagazine.com


    ACCOUNTSPublishers Assistant &

    Omaha Home Contributing Editor SANDY MATSON

    Vice President GREG BRUNS

    Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing


    Senior Sales Executive & 60 Plus in Omaha Contributing Editor


    Branding Specialists SHELBY DEVENY



    Sales Associates JESSICA CULLINANE



    OPERATIONSVice President of Operations


    Event Director ERIN COX


    Distribution Manager MIKE BREWER

    For Advertising & Subscription Information: 402.884.2000



    Associate Editor DAISY HUTZELL-RODMAN

    Editorial Intern KATHERINE NOWICKI

    Contributing Writers ROBERT NELSON



    Art Director KRISTEN HOFFMAN

    Senior Graphic Designer RACHEL JOY

    Graphic Designer MATTHEW WIECZOREK

    Graphic Design Intern DEREK TAUBERT

    Contributing Illustrator GRAHAM BURKUM

    Best of Omaha 2016


  • Best of Omaha2016| 5 |bestofomaha.com


    Best of Omaha 2016Table of Contents


    6 Your Best of Omaha Team Omaha Magazine, KETV 7, and Baxter Arena

    7 From the Editor

    8 List-O-Mania The Best of Omaha? The Best is Omaha.

    10 Congratulations Messages from Civic Leader

    11 Results Opener The How it Works of the Best of Omaha Contest

    162 Wrapping Things Up James Vnuk


    14 Dining

    36 Family

    48 Health & Beauty

    66 Household

    98 Nightlife

    106 Retail

    118 Services

    132 Transportation


    143 Best of Omaha Winner Profiles

  • ARIEL ROBLIN President and General Manager KETV 7Media Sponsor

    TODD LEMKE Publisher Omaha Magazine

    MIKE CERA General ManagerUNO/Community ArenaBest of Omaha Festival Host


    Photo courtesy of the University of Nebraska at Omaha

    On behalf of the Baxter Arena, we are hon-ored to hostOmaha Magazines2015 Best of Omaha Festival. This event is an oppor-tunity for our community to experience the best companies and services that Omaha has to offer in one of the newest, most exciting facilities in Omaha. On behalf of the Baxter Arena, I would like to congratulate the 2016 Best Of Omaha Winners.

    It is our pleasure to introduce to you the Best of Omaha winners for 2016. The success of last years stand-alone Best of Omaha maga-zine and festival enticed us to do it again, and do it bigger. Maybe youre leafing through this at the Best of Omaha festival. Maybe youre deciding whether to go out for sushi or Middle Eastern food on a summers eve-ning. Whatever the reason for opening this magazine, one thing is for certain. Within these pages, you will find the best of the best in this communityall chosen by the com-munity. We are proud to be associated with every business, institution, and organization voted a Best of Omaha, and more proud to count you, the readers, as part of the Omaha Magazine family.

    Being named the best doesnt happen over-night. It takes time, teamwork, and a com-mitment to doing the right thing no matter how hard it is. Thats how you become the best and thats exactly what Omaha wants in their business community. What makes the Best of Omaha award such an honor is that its voted on by the people you serve every day. As Omahas News Leader, KETV is proud to be a part of Omaha Magazines Best of Omaha, celebrating the passion local businesses have in making Omaha such a great place to live. Congratulations to all the winners from everyone at KETV.

    Omaha Magazine2016| 6 |omahamagazine.com

  • Best of Omaha2016| 7 |bestofomaha.com



    BEING AN OLD dude means that I have to be forever vigilant when it comes to not showing my age, but there seem to be little traps laid at every turn for a guy like me. I am particularly befuddled, for example, by technology. If you want to appear out of touch, there is perhaps nothing more telling than being an analog man in a digital age.

    A co-worker gently reminded me the other day, for example, that that I no longer need to refer to that pocket thingy I carry as a cell phone. Nobody under a million years old, I was informed, uses the term. Just call it a phone like everybody else does, it was suggested. But more than 25 years of saying, Call me on my cell phone if you need anything is a tough habit to break.

    And this got me thinking about The Best of Omaha. It would be branding suicide to tinker with the contest that, over the course of more than two decades, has become synonymous with ideals of excellence in this townsaying nothing of the fact that my publisher would kill me if I ever so much as floated the notionbut Im increasingly tempted to re-tag the annual effort more simply and succinctly as The Best. Thats right, I would propose we drop the of Omaha.

    Theres sound reasoning behind my thinking, and it begins and ends with my strong opinions on the city itself.

    Omaha is no longer the sleepy, quasi-backward little place I moved to in 1981. Today, being the Best of Omaha is akin to being in contention for the best anywhere. Our list of lists story on page 8 provides ample evidence that Omaha is becoming a world-class city.

    But my idea of truncating our marketing-speak is probably doomed right from the beginning. Besides picturing my publishers head exploding at the mere hint of such an idea, you just dont mess with a good thing.

    And imagine the pushback Id suffer at the hands of the 40,000 of you who cast over 700,000 individual votes in this years contest. After all, the Best of Omaha is your contest. Im sure the interwebs and my electronic mail would light up with complaints and ridicule.

    Whats that? Just like with cell phone, using such terms as interwebs and electronic mail is another sure-fire way to show my age and out-of-touch-ness?

    Oh, never mind. This is hopeless. I give up. O

    GRAHAM BURKUM IS an artist and musician who lives in Omaha with his wife and children. He founded Awful Creative in 2013, specializing in illustration and brand-ing.You can see his work all over Omaha or online at AwfulCreative.com.About the Cover

  • Omaha Magazine2016| 8 |omahamagazine.com

    Best of Omaha 2016List-O-Mania

    GRANTED, THERE ARE a lot of magazines and organizations out there making Top 10 lists of cities nowadays. Its one of the top 10 favorite things to do for these folks. In all, Omaha and sur-rounding cities were ranked in 83 lists from 2013 to 2015, including a smattering of #1s. And those are just the ones we could find.

    But wade through all this chatter, boil down what matters among the rankings from the people who know best, and one fact emergesthis city, and many of the smaller cities in the metro area, are truly some of the best places to live and do business in the nation.

    #1 Best in the Midwest, The 5 Best Big Cities (Time.com/money, 2015)

    #1 Six Great Small Cities for Food Lovers (Wallstreetjournal.com, 2015)

    #1 Best U.S. Cities for Paid Internships (Time.com/money, 2015)

    #1 Top Five Animal AttractionsHenry Doorly Zoo (Family Fun Magazine, 2015)

    #1 The Top 10 Best American Cities to Work in Tech in 2015. (SmartAsset, 2015)

    #1 The U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index (Castlight Health, 2015)

    #1 Best Cities for Car Drivers (NerdWallet.com, 2015)

    #1 Best City for Active Lifestyle (Wallethub.com, 2015)

    #1 The 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family in America (Movoto Blog, 2013 and 2014)

    #1 10 Best Cities for Cheapskates (Kiplinger, 2013)

    #1 Least Financial Stresson house- holds in 77 metropolitan areas (Credibility.org, 2013)

    #1 Top 10 Metro Areas: Tier Two New & Expanding Facilitiesfor MSAs with a population between 200,000 and one million (Site Selection Magazine, 2014)

    #1 Best Zoo in America (CNN Travel, 2014)

    #2 Best Places to Live 2015Papillion (Time.com/money,2015)

    #2 Best Cities to Find a Job in 2015 (Fortune.com, 2015)

    #2 Best U.S. Cities for Millennial College Students (CNBC, 2015)

    #2 Best Foodie Cities (Liveability.com, 2015)

    #2 Best City for Recreation 2015 (Wallethub.com, 2015)

    #2 Americas Coolest Music Towns (DreamPlanGo.com, 2014)

    #2 Top Theatre Venues in the MidwestOrpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center (Venues Today, 2015)

    #2 Best Cities for Successful Aging (Milkin Institute, 2014)

    #2 5 Cities with High Salaries, Low Costs of Living (GoBankingRates.com, 2014)

    THE BEST OF OMAHA?The Best is Omaha


    The Omaha metro area is now recognized as one of the best places in the country to raise a family, to start a business, to get a college education, to have a great beer, to hear indie music, to land a high-paying first job, to live safely, to live healthfully, to live cheaply, to be a professional woman, to rent a house, to dowell, most anything that people want and hope to do in life.

    Following is an abbreviated compilation of all those accolades. Even the shortened list is exhausting, we admit. But, maybe you agree that of all the exhaust-ing things in life, its not so bad to be exhausted by a bounty of accolades.


  • Best of Omaha2016| 9 |bestofomaha.com


    #2 Americas Least Congested Big Cities (HomeInsurance.com, 2014)

    #2 The 9 Best Up-and-Coming Cities for Music (MTV Iggy, 2013)

    #2 Americas 10 Best Cities for Professional Women (Motovo Blog, 2014)

    #3 10 Best Cities to Launch a Startup (CNN Money, 2014)

    #3 Most Affordable Big Cities in the U.S. (The Kiplinger Letter, 2014)

    #3 The 12 Hardest-Working Towns in America (The SpareFoot Blog, 2014)

    #3 Americas 15 Best Cities for Young Professionals (Forbes, 2014)

    #3 Best Cities to Start a Business (NerdWallet.com, 2014)

    #3 Number of Economic Development Projectsfor MSAs with a popula-tion between 200,000 and 1 million (Site Selection Magazine, 2013)

    #4 The 20 Cant Miss Summer Festivals of 2014Summer Arts Festival (Smithsonian.com, 2014)

    #4 Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families (Livability, 2013)

    #4 Top 50 Military Friendly Cities (G.I. Jobs, 2013)

    #5 Best Metro Area for STEM Professionals (Wallethub.com, 2015)

    #5 Best Cities to Work for a Small Business (Wallethub.com, 2015)

    #5 Best Cities for Quality of Life (NerdWallet.com, 2014)

    #5 Top 10 Metros for Green-Friendly Apartments (Apartment Guide, 2014)

    #6 The Top Ten Cities for First-Time Homebuyers (SmartAsset, 2015)

    #6 10 Best Places to Live If Youre Trying to Save Money (GOBankingRates, 2015)

    #6 50 Great Affordable College Towns in the U.S. (Great Value Colleges, 2014)

    #6 Best Cities for Staycations (WalletHub.com, 2014)

    #6 Top 10 Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future 2013/14 Human Resources ( fDI Magazine, 2013)

    #6 Most Secure Places to Live in the U.Sfor Large Metro Area 500,000 or more residents (Farmers Insurance Group, 2013)

    #7 Best Cities to Get in Job in 2015 (ZipRecruiter/msn.com, 2015)

    #7 Best City to Find a Job (Wallethub.com, 2015)

    #7 Best Family VacationsOmahas Henry Doorly Zoo (Parents Magazine, 2014)

    #7 Best Cities for Job Seekers (NerdWallet.com, 2014)

    #7 10 Fittest Cities in the United States (Apartment Guide, Houston Chronicle, 2013)

    #7 10 Best Cities for Car Drivers (NerdWallet.com, 2013)

    #7 Top 10 Best American Cities to Live In (Top10Stop.com, 2013)

    #8 The Top 10 Cities for New College Grads (SmartAsset, 2015)

    #8 10 Best Cities for Consumer Banking in 2014 (NerdWallet.com, 2014)

    #8 20 Perfect Weekend Getaways (Midwest Living, 2014)

    #8 Papillion, Best Places to Live (CNN Money, 2013)

    #9 Top 10 Foodie Cities (Livability, 2014)

    #9 Top 10 Affordable Big Cities for Renters (Kiplinger, 2013)

    #9 Top 10 Best Cities for College Graduates (Atlantic Wire, 2013)

    #9 Papillion, Top 10 Summer Festivals (Livability, 2013)

    #9 The 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs (NerdWallet.com, 2013)

    #9 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneursfor medium size cities (Under30CEO, 2013)

    #10 The Top 25 Cities for Young Entrepreneurs (Forbes, 2014)

    #10 Best Cities to Start a Business (NerdWallet.com, 2013)

  • JEAN STOTHERT Mayor City of Omaha

    DAVID G. BROWN President and CEO Omaha Chamber of Commerce

    LINDA REVIS Director Sarpy County Tourism

    KEITH BACKSEN Executive DirectorOmaha Convention & Visitors Bureau


    All of us who call Omaha home know we live in one of the best cities in the country.

    Its always gratifying when others agree with us. You find Omaha on many Best City lists, including Time.coms 5 Best Big Cities in the Midwest, CNBCs Best Cities for Millennial College Students, and Wallethubs Best Cities for Recreation.

    Each year, Omaha Magazine celebrates the best. From bakeries to BBQ and from festivals to theatre, spas, doggie daycares, and happy hours, The Best of Omaha issue is a trusted guide for entertainment, dining, personal services, and much more.

    Congratulations to the 2016 winners! Omaha is a great city, and together we will become an extraordinary city.

    Congratulations to all of this years Best of Omaha honorees! Your work ethic and success help write our story, a thriving metropolitan region that encompasses all of the indispensable elementsa wealth of options for activity, nationally renowned businesses, schools, and medical facilities; and a beautifully-supported arts, entertainment, and restaurant scene.

    Companies tiny to titan flourish here, from the neighborhood mom and pop to the Fortune 500s known around the world. We embrace entrepreneurs, cultivate innovation, and let imagination run free. Anyone determined to make a markinstead of just making duewill find a place here.

    We dont coast.

    We build. We inspire. We strive to be the best.

    Like you.

    Congratulations to this years winners. As the official agency in charge of inspiring visitors to choose Omaha, you make our job easier.

    Close to 12 million people visit Omaha every year. Many travel here to see friends and family, while others come for a long weekend, to take in an eve...