Where to happy hour in Omaha - Omaha.com
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The super asparagus maki is available for $4.50 during happy hour, though it normally costs $8, at Blue Sushi in the Old Market.(REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD)
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OMAHA - 04/17/12: Ashley Mathison (left) eats sushi with Tina Thysen (right) and Tony Weihi (not pictured) during happy hour at Blue Sushi in the Old Market Tuesday, April 17, 2012. BY REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD


DINING

Where to happy hour in Omaha
By Sarah Baker Hansen
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


VIDEO: Happy hour at Blue

What is your favorite happy hour? Does your restaurant or bar have a happy hour special we should know about? Let us know in the comments at the end of the story.

* * *

It's just after 7 p.m. on a Monday at Pitch Pizzeria in Dundee.

Contrary to what you might think, the restaurant is packed.

Almost every table is topped with a bottle of wine and one of the restaurant's coal-fired pizzas. And at the end of the night, each party will pay only $25, plus tax and tip.

Happy hour, once an occasion for a quick after-work cocktail, has morphed into an every-night-of-the-week way for people to eat dinner on the cheap.

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Pitch — like many other restaurants around the city — is capitalizing on our desire for a discount.

Pitch offers the $25 pizza and wine special on Monday and Tuesday nights and a second happy-hour special Tuesday through Friday that features $5 appetizers and discounted drinks.

At Pitch, my husband and I mowed through a Leonardo pizza topped with slow-roasted pork loin, olives, pepperonata, roasted garlic, San Marzano tomato sauce, fontina cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, regularly priced at $18. We shared a bottle of Italian red wine, regularly $24, and took home what was left of the bottle. We added a $4 olive bowl to our order, which brought our bill to just $31 before a tip.

That's a darn good deal for an evening out.

PITCH PIZZERIA

5021 Underwood Ave., 402-590-2625

Specials: Monday and Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. $25 for a pizza and a bottle of wine (make your own pizza not included); Tuesday-Friday happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. includes $5 appetizers, $5 cocktails, half-price bottles of wine, $2 domestic beers and $3 imported beers.

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On a Tuesday night just after 6 p.m. at Blue Sushi in the Old Market, Marypat Heineman and Rachel McGill sipped $5.50 Bloody Mary martinis while they waited for their $4 order of chicken satay and a selection of sushi rolls that are $4.50 each. Both Heineman and McGill live in Lincoln and make the trip to Omaha every couple of months for two things: to shop and to go to Blue's happy hour.

"The sushi is phenomenal," McGill said, "and it's ridiculously cheap."

Megan Longo, spokeswoman for the Flagship Restaurant Group, which runs Blue and Roja, said daily happy-hour specials at both restaurants have become a dining destination.

"When people post photos on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter of their happy-hour tables, it's just a huge spread of food," Longo said. "It's never just a couple of rolls. They have lettuce wraps, crab cakes, sushi, ceviche. They're having a feast."

Food was the main attraction at Blue for Council Bluffs resident Ashley Mathison and her friends Tina Thysen and Tony Weihe, who live in Omaha. Big trays of super asparagus maki — cooked salmon, cream cheese, asparagus and eel sauce — and crunchy L.A. rolls — crab, avocado, Japanese cucumber, crispy panko and sweet chili sauce — filled their table. No cocktails in sight — just big glasses of water and Mountain Dew. All three said they come for the food, not the drinks.

Longo said Blue tries to bring variety to happy hour, with lots of discounted choices: more than 20 sushi rolls and appetizers such as lettuce wraps, crab rangoon and crispy crawfish.

Happy hour at Blue.

"Happy hour has really become part of our image," she said. "It's a huge core of our business."

Longo said the restaurant prices happy-hour specials so it doesn't lose money on the food but can still give customers a deal.

"Some of the items have a bigger margin, and some have barely any," she said. "We picked the rolls that had even margins so we could price them consistently."

All the sushi rolls are $4.50 during happy hour. Three specialty nigiri rolls are $4.

BLUE SUSHI SAKE GRILL & BABY BLUE

Locations: 14450 Eagle Run Drive,402-445-2583;

416 S. 12th St., 402-408-5566;

16939 Wright Plaza, 402-547-5959

Specials: Specially priced appetizers, $4 nigiri, $4.50 sushi rolls, $5.50 house martinis, $3 margaritas and $3 house wine, among other specials. Monday-Saturday 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30 p.m. to midnight.

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At Nebraska Brewing Company in Papillion, owner Paul Kavulak said the patio is a particularly popular happy-hour destination this time of year.

The onion rings are $1 cheaper during happy hour at Nebraska Brewing Company in Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion.

"On good-weather days, sometimes the patio gets so crowded it catches us off guard," he said.

The restaurant discounts all its appetizers — items such as a hummus platter, calamari and fried curry pickles — by $1 on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

NEBRASKA BREWING COMPANY

7474 Towne Center Parkway, Papillion, 402-934-7100

Specials: $1 off appetizers weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Creighton pharmacy student Kathryn Buche said she goes to happy hours all over Omaha, most of the time to restaurants she wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

Some of her favorites: $5 Bang Bang shrimp Wednesdays at Bonefish Grill in Regency; personal pizzas and truffle fries at Crave in Midtown Crossing; and specials at Granite City in Westroads and at Pitch. She hits Blue's all-day Sunday happy hour at its west Omaha location almost every weekend.

"When I go out to eat, it's never at a random time," she said. "It's during happy hour."

BONEFISH GRILL

120 Regency Parkway, 402-391-3474

Specials: $5 Bang Bang shrimp — fried crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce — available all day every Wednesday.

GRANITE CITY

1001 N. 102nd St., 402-393-5000

Specials: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close $1 off tap beer, wine and cocktails and $6 flatbread pizzas, $2 off appetizers from 9 p.m. to close. On Wednesdays, half-price bottles of wine and 20-ounce tap beers for $2.

CRAVE

200 S. 31st Ave., 402-345-9999

Specials: Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, Saturday 9 p.m. to close and Sunday 8 p.m. to close. Various food specials priced for $3, $4 and $5, including $3 mini sliders and sushi rolls, $4 mini pizzas and truffle fries and $5 Asian pork sliders and lemon garlic chicken wings. Drink specials include $3 and $4 beers, $5 wines and $5 mixed drinks.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1069, sarah.bakerhansen@owh.com

Happy hour at Blue

Contact the writer: Sarah Baker Hansen

sarah.bakerhansen@owh.com    |   402-444-1069    |  

Sarah writes restaurant reviews and food stories for the World-Herald.

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