Kim’s Note: While working on a book about Omaha restaurants that have closed, I started to notice a trend about the more recently shuttered spots.
I hadn’t dined at nearly all the ones that were still open in recent years. And I missed out on some gems. So I’ve decided to make it a goal to visit Omaha’s oldest restaurants before any more shut down before I’ve had a chance to sample their best.
The first restaurant I ventured to after I made this pledge to dine at Omaha’s oldest restaurants has become an Omaha institution thanks to our city’s favorite billionaire, Warren Buffett. That’s right, we went to Gorat’s Steakhouse.
Old Italian steakhouse entrees remained, even after new ownership. Prime rib au jus, chicken parmesan, and good old spaghetti and meatballs are on the menu, as are burgers, sandwiches and small plates. I tried the chicken piccata, which was pretty good though oddly served with the sauce on the side. It is a kid-friendly restaurant so there is a kid’s menu. The food, from cheeseburger to steak, on the kid’s menu is between $6 to $8.
There’s a plentiful bread basket brought to the table before your meal arrives. My kids were sure to fill up on that so they wouldn’t eat their dinner. Naturally.
The exterior hints at the bygone days, but once you’re inside that old school steakhouse vibe is gone. The restaurant has been remodeled since it first opened in 1944. It looks more modern farmhouse than old school Italian steakhouse, though the women’s bathroom still had an vintage feel to it. There were some pictures to call to mind older days.
There’s a lounge with live music, which attracted my kids (the live music attract them, that is, not the lounge).
It didn’t happen on the night we were there. Has it ever happened to anyone or is that a myth?
I can’t speak for how Gorat’s once was, but I can stay there’s a reason people still dine there. I can’t quite put my finger on that reason – is it loyalty or the dream of rubbing elbows with Warren or love of the food?
Dining at Gorat’s was pleasant but it didn’t feel like I was experiencing a bit of Omaha history while being there. It was underwhelming. My 7-year-old, however, was impressed. As we left, he announced “That was one classy joint.”
Where does he learn these things?
If you go
Where: 4917 Center St.
What has been your experience at Gorat’s? Where should I head to next in this series?