OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Few food items are as simple conceptually as a sandwich. We’ve been eating and making them for almost our entire lives. It’s meat and cheese between bread; what could be easier, right?
But when you have an eye-opening sandwich, you realize there’s nothing plain about it. The type of bread, the choice of meat, the application of sauces; when all are in perfect balance, this working man’s delicacy transforms into a meal fit for royalty.
Don’t believe me? Here are five Omaha restaurants that will serve you a sandwich you’ll never forget.
Patterned after legendary New York delis, Phyl’s Deli [restauranthoppen.com] gives diners a trip to the Empire State without buying a ticket. Phyl’s keeps it as simple as possible; the menu has only six sandwiches, all of which consist of little more than bread, meat, and cheese, and they’re constructed by owner Craig Hoffman [podcasts.apple.com] himself behind the counter.
But there’s nothing basic about the flavors in these creations. The ‘Rami features a mountain of smoky, succulent pastrami along with sweet caramelized onions, stone ground mustard, and mild, nutty Swiss cheese. The flavors bursting forth from the coppa and soppressata in the Little Italy are so delicious, all this sandwich needs is fontina cheese and a slather of butter to make it a home run.
But the best of the bunch might be the Everything Bagel & Lox, which starts with a chewy bagel studded with sesame seeds, garlic, poppy seeds and onion. The base is amped up with a healthy schmear of herbaceous veggie cream cheese, which brings a creaminess to balance the pops of salt from the capers. But the star is the heaping portion of lox (cured salmon). Silky and buttery in texture, this meat is definitely salt-forward but maintains salmon’s delightful velvety nature.
Get Real Sandwiches
Get Real Sandwiches [restauranthoppen.com] offers sandwiches familiar to diners, but with a chef-inspired twist that take them to the next level. The Grilled Cheese gets amped up with a three-cheese blend (white cheddar, provolone, and Swiss), while the traditional Roast Turkey gets a boost from rustic ciabatta bread, a creamy, acidic aioli, and thin slices of tart green apples, not to mention the juiciest sliced turkey you’ll find in Omaha.
But no sandwich better exemplifies Get Real’s brilliance than the Pork Belly Cubano, which makes a few game-changing substitutions to the traditional Cuban sandwich. Pulled pork is swapped out for unctuous, fatty pork belly, while dijon mustard combines with aioli for a creamy, tangy twist. Those elements, combined with salty ham, crisp pickles, and a perfectly toasted Cuban roll make this one of the best sandwiches in Omaha [restauranthoppen.com].
Owners Aden Beck and Jim Lesperance [podcasts.apple.com] have created something new and unique in Omaha, and you haven’t enjoyed a great sandwich until you’ve visited Get Real.
Wait, wait, wait… great sandwiches from a pizza joint?! That’s right; Virtuoso Pizzeria [restauranthoppen.com] not only serves some of Omaha’s best pies [restauranthoppen.com], but also some of the finest sandwiches in the city. In fact, if owner David Losole [podcasts.apple.com] gave up pizza entirely and focused solely on sandwiches, I’d bet he’d still have a completely successful joint.
It all starts with the Italian Beef Sandwich. The beef, pumped up with garlic and Virtuoso’s house rub, is shaved razor thin and is perfectly tender, and the spicy giardiniera adds some spice and oil. But the key is the bread/jus combo. The sandwich is best ordered dipped—or, as David calls it, baptized. The bread is toasted on the grill, then the entire sandwich is dunked into a vat of jus for several seconds. The bread inhales the salty, meaty flavor of the jus, but the toasting technique helps it maintain its integrity.
Then there’s the Spicy Meatball Sub, overflowing with Virtuoso’s incredible sliced meatballs and a delectable marinara sauce, and the Salsiccia e Pepe (sausage and peppers), a terrific balance of sweet and heat. Bottom line: it’s hard to get anything other than pizza at Virtuoso, but if you’re craving a bready delight, this Benson [restauranthoppen.com] gem has you covered.
Omaha Cheesesteak Company
Philadelphians understandably adore their beloved cheesesteaks, but there aren’t many places to get them in Omaha. Thank goodness that Omaha Cheesesteak Company [restauranthoppen.com] arrived, offering owner Jon Stastny’s [podcasts.apple.com] creative twists on Philly’s delicious masterpieces.
A part of Blend Virtual Food Hall [blendfoodhall.com], Omaha Cheesesteak Company takes the classic philly to new levels. Sure, the traditional Philly Cheesesteak, with succulent, tender prime rib, is a hit, but specialties like the Omaha Cheesesteak (a marriage between a cheesesteak and a Reuben) and the Bulgogi Cheesesteak (an Asian take with sweet, smoky notes) make this a special sandwich stop. Best yet, it can easily be delivered or picked up along with Blend’s other offerings with Blend’s convenient app [apps.apple.com].
You can’t have an amazing sandwich without great bread, right? That’s a philosophy Lola’s [restauranthoppen.com] believes in, so they just make their own.
Lola’s bread, from the buttery, oily focaccia to the crusty, hearty sourdough ciabatta is so delicious on its own that Lola’s doesn’t play around with crazy combinations. Each sandwich has five or fewer ingredients, each of which are carefully selected and sourced.
If you must try one, it’s the Toastie, Lola’s signature breakfast sandwich. A piece of spongy, springy focaccia is sliced in half and filled with buttery, fluffy scrambled eggs, salty prosciutto, and slightly sharp parmigiano. It alone, not to mention Lola’s other incredible sandwiches, is worth a visit.
Do you have a favorite restaurant to grab a sandwich from? Let me know about it! Shoot me a message on Facebook [facebook.com], Instagram [instagram.com], or Twitter [twitter.com]. I want to try your favorite spot!