OMAHA. NE — It's no secret anymore than Omaha is a great town for foodies, filled with people who like to dine out.
And one bit of evidence for that is a Facebook group devoted to all things food and restaurants in Omaha. The Omaha Food Lovers group started about a year ago with a few dozen people and has grown to more than 15,000 members.
And now the group is also moving from a gathering of virtual friends to a gathering in real life, as the group's founders, Stacy Winters and Heather Lake, are planning meet-ups at local restaurants. Several members got together for a group meal recently at Geno's Bar & Grill.
The founders say the appeal of Omaha Food Lovers is the sharing of real, genuine information and opinions.
"I think there wasn't necessarily a group that was offering honest reviews of restaurants," said Heather Lake. "And, I think people really like the opportunity to hear honest reviews, the good and the bad."
Those reviews can spark some lively debates.
"If someone has a negative review on a place, you'll see a lot of people will come to the rescue of that restaurant, which is great," said Stacy Winters. "People love their restaurants, so it will be 'oh, you ordered the wrong thing, it must have been a bad night, please give them another try' ".
For many of the members, the overriding benefit of belonging to the Facebook group is discovering new places to eat, especially locally owned restaurants.
"We've gone to 2 or 3 places we wouldn't have gone to otherwise," said group member TerriAnn Joy, who joined the group a couple of months ago and was attending the meet-up at Geno's.
Belonging to the group now even comes with some financial benefit. Several area restaurants which have seen an increase in business because of the group are offering discounts to members.
If you want to expand your culinary horizons in Omaha, consider checking out the Omaha Food Lovers group. It might lead you to a new food adventure.
"To maybe find the hidden gems that are not necessarily in your neighborhood but are close by in Omaha that you might really enjoy," said Lake.