Over the past decade, a new food concept has taken the country by storm: food halls. Offering craft beer, spirits, wine, breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert all in one place—food halls are like modern food courts featuring local restaurants and other small businesses.
But while the idea has spread out all over the United States, the concept entered the Omaha dining scene just a few years ago in 2015 with Flagship Commons. Since then, we’ve seen two other food halls pop up across the area, Inner Rail Food Hall and The Switch Beer & Food Hall.
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into these three food halls. Read on to learn more about their history, mission and current vendors!
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. | Friday-Saturday 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
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Nestled in Aksarben Village, built on the grounds of a former horse racing track, Inner Rail Food Hail is a newer venture from Noodle Companies and Hospitality HQ. They opened their doors in 2019 to a roaring success, offering 7,000 square feet of separate stalls that house local food vendors.
The building was designed by Eimer Design of Philadelphia and can accommodate upward of 350 people with indoor and outdoor seating. Inside, you can peruse nine different vendors offering different styles of cuisine all surrounding the Backstretch Bar. Some food vendors are extensions of other Omaha favorites while others are brand new to the city! The Inner Rail Plaza also features a 10-story office building, parking garage, outdoor games, fire pits, lounge furniture and much more.
Current vendors at Inner Rail Food Hall include:
The Backstretch Bar | Bar — Complementing the vendors at Inner Rail Food Hall, Backstretch Bar serves as the primary watering hole for the space, offering innovative cocktails, beer and wine.
B2 Burger | American — B Squared Burger is a fast-casual burger shop from Chef Kenny Cuomo and Charles Grund. They serve the finest quality beef from Greater Omaha in the form of delicious burgers served on Farine and Four buns.
Culprit Café | Coffee Shop — The third location of an Omaha favorite, the Culprit Café at Inner Rail Food Hall offers a robust menu of coffee, tea and espresso drinks, as well as signature sandwiches on fresh bread.
Hola Mexican Eatery | Mexican — This fast-casual Mexican-inspired concept is new to the food hall and offers everything from burritos to bowls to tacos.
Kathmandu Momo Station | Nepalese — After finding success in the Blackstone District, Kathmandu Momo Station has come to Aksarben! Their newest restaurant serves Nepalese street food, with best-sellers being their momo and savory Burmese ramen.
Maharani Indian Kitchen | Indian — One of the newest additions to Inner Rail, Maharani serves up a variety of modern Indian dishes in a warm and inviting setting. Menu items include kebabs, Biryani, curry plates, naan and the signature combo bowls.
Nolis Pizzaria | Pizza — This marks the second location of Nolis Pizzaria, a popular New York-style pizza joint that has taken the area by storm. They have nailed down that authentic NYC taste—even working with a local water filtration company to mimic the exact granite filtered qualities of New York’s water.
Nori | Japanese — Co-owners/co-chefs Diwesh and Bishal met while working in restaurants over 15 years ago and stayed close friends. Their joint venture, Nori Sushi, features a menu filled with delicious sushi rolls, rice bowls, salads and sides.
Rougamo & Boba | Chinese — Rougamo and Boba is a brand-new food vendor in Inner Rail, offering a menu of authentic northern Chinese cuisine. Enjoy crispy rougamo sandwiches, boba and other tasty tea drinks!
Sofra Creperie | Eastern European — Sofra is a classy creperie offering delicious crepes made with the freshest local ingredients. They focus mainly on savory crepes, like Chicken Caesar and Mediterranean, but also have a few menu options to offer those with a sweet tooth!
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
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The Switch Beer & Food Hall, Omaha’s newest food hall, recently opened in the Blackstone District! In addition to being a destination for delicious food and community events, The Switch is the first food hall in the nation certified as a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association and only the second restaurant in Nebraska to earn this status. That means that The Switch’s six kitchens, bar and food hall are all committed to lowering their impact on the environment. Nearly every single-use item you receive at the hall—plates, bowls, napkins and cups—is industrially compostable. These items, and your food scraps, are collected at waste stations throughout the building and hauled offsite daily by Hillside Solutions to be turned into nutrient-dense soil by Soil Dynamics. Everything that isn’t composted is recycled!
In addition to their green initiatives, The Switch is known for tasty international cuisine, street food, interesting concepts and much more. They also offer event rentals, free wi-fi and easy access to the rest of the Blackstone neighborhood.
Current vendors at The Switch Beer & Food Hall include:
Ansel’s Pastrami & Bagels | Deli — This New York-inspired deli serves classics like bagels with lox, house pastrami and bar classics. They open slightly earlier than the rest of The Switch vendors at 9 a.m. daily.
Dirty Birds | Fast Food — The Switch’s newest concept, Dirty Birds, is a fried chicken haven offering chicken and waffles, hot chicken sandwiches, chicken biscuits, and other comfort staples.
El Arepon | Venezuelan — Offering the best and most unique Venezuelan cuisine in Omaha, El Arepon is a must-try. Enjoy everything from arepas and empanadas to quesillos and much, much more.
MiniBar | Bar — MiniBar is The Switch’s permanent bar in the food hall. Dubbed “the biggest little bar in Blackstone,” this is where you can get signature cocktails, beer, wine and other drinks to carry around with you throughout the hall. And we can’t forget about their bottomless mimosa special on the weekends!
Roast | Coffee Shop — Since 1993, A Hill of Beans Coffee Roasters has been roasting high-quality coffee here in Omaha. You can try their signature coffee beans for yourself at one of their Roast locations around town—including in The Switch.
Flagship Commons was the first food hall concept to hit the Nebraska Plains. It was created by the Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group and is located on the second floor of the Westroads Mall.
While it looks a little like a traditional mall food court, Flagship Commons incorporates new locations for existing local eateries along with several new concepts and a corner bar—giving patrons the opportunity to conveniently support small businesses while shopping in the mall! In the center of the hall, there is a large fireplace with lounge seating, surrounded by a mixture of counter and bars at various restaurants and a combination of high-top, traditional and banquet-style seating. After the construction of Flagship Commons, the team created a series of behind-the-scenes documentaries. You can watch and learn more about their inspiration, vision and process here.
Photo courtesy of Flagship Commons
Current vendors at Flagship Commons include:
Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob | Middle Eastern — This sandwich and falafel spot packs spices and sauces from around the world into a straightforward menu that includes vegetarian, gluten-free and kid-friendly options.
Blatt Beer & Table | Pub — This local favorite is a gathering place complete with an impressive selection of beer on draft, delicious pub grub and a lively atmosphere. You can enjoy both fast–casual and full-service dining at this location.
Clever Greens | Salads — Clever Greens is a salad and wrap shop offering fresh ingredients for salad lovers and haters. Each dish is anything but bland rabbit food, featuring delicious sauces, spices, toppings and more.
Juan Taco | Mexican — Juan Taco serves tasty tacos and quesadillas served in a fast–casual, outdoor-feeling space. Charro beans, green chile rice and fresh lime margaritas make the experience muy bueno!
Weirdough Pizza Co. | Pizza — Weirdough Pizza is a favorite for Roman-style, square-cut pies. They make each pizza by hand, daily, in their custom oven. Each offers the perfect crispy bottom and chewy middle with fresh cheeses, crisp veggies and salty meats.
Yoshi-Ya Ramen | Japanese — Yoshi-Ya Ramen is an authentic ramen shop where deceptively simple ingredients work together to create incredible, complex and flavorful dishes. They even have smaller ramen dishes for children, so everyone can enjoy authentic Japanese ramen.
Yum Roll | Japanese — Sushi lovers rejoice! Yum Roll, created by Blue Sushi Sake Grill, serves sushi favorites and yum yum bowls using high-quality seafood, fresh veggies and other yummy ingredients.
Are you as obsessed with these local food halls as we are? Let us know in the comments below.