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Serving 'soul,' new cafe replaces Fair Deal

Emery's Cafe opened mid-June
Posted at 4:04 AM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 09:41:39-04

A vacated restaurant space belonging to what some dubbed as the new "Black City Hall" is now replaced with a new business.

Emery's Cafe, located just south of 24th and Lake streets, sits where Fair Deal Cafe used to and hosted an under-the-radar debut during the North Omaha Block Party mid-June, said owner Diamond Simms.

"Black city hall is back," she told 3 News Now.

The restaurant space served more than dishes. It also served as gathering space for people.

The move follows the unexpected fallout between the owner of Fair Deal Cafe and its landlord, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, in January over reported differences related to a business agreement.

Sunday dinners with Simms' grandparents fostered the new southern-style restaurant.

After my grandparents passed away, I couldn't find any place in Omaha, Nebraska, that could offer that experience, Simms said.

Currently, the menu features dishes stemming from her grandparents' recipes including: fried catfish, oxtails, stuffed lobster muffins and shrimp and grits.

The plates, she says, are part of a pop-up menu but a permanent listing will launch later.

While business continues to grow by word-of-mouth, Simms knows there aren't many sit-down restaurants along the 24th Street corridor.

She hopes Emery's Cafe helps usher in a new wave of economic revitalization, but says it'll take time.

I'd like for it to be the street of dreams like in the 1950s, she said, but only in 2018.