When the Bluejays take the court, you can expect to see a sea of bright blue shirts at the Sam & Louie's at the corner of 24th and Cuming in Omaha. The location has been one of Creighton University's homes away from home since it opened in 1994, but its welcoming atmosphere is found at each of the eatery's 24 locations. There, friends and families bond over great conversation and an eclectic mix of casual cuisine from a menu inspired by traditional New York–style pizzerias. Eighteen specialty pizzas are hand tossed into thin-crust pies before being decorated with more than 35 toppings such as creamy alfredo sauce, sliced Italian meatballs, and canadian bacon. In deference to those with special dietary needs, almost all of these specialty pizzas are available in gluten-free pizzas.
In addition to pizzas, cooks also craft their daily-made dough into calzones and strombolis, which ooze with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. The menu culminates in five third-pound Black Angus burgers, Italian hoagies, and eight types of pastas. In addition to hosting guests inside their welcoming pizzerias for both lunch and dinner, the cooks at Sam and Louie's also take their food on the road, offering catering services for events both large and not-so-large.
Nestled on the grounds of Pheasant Bonanza, Roosters overlooks hunting fields dotted with plump fowl. Chef Aaron Schroder, a hunter himself, draws inspiration from the view, infusing an ever-changing menu with fresh pheasant and other succulent cuts of meat and seafood. Though born and raised in Nebraska, Schroder cut his teeth as a chef at his mother's Italian restaurant in Seattle and then at eateries in New York City, including Mario Batali's Lupa in SoHo. Since returning to Nebraska, he has applied his skills to prepare such favorites as smoked pheasant and slow-roasted pork shoulder. His wife, April Goettle, brings 20 years of bartending experience to Roosters, where she curates an artisan drink menu alongside simple pours of whiskey and beer.
Though its menu always promises something new, Roosters' decor is a reflection of the past. Mounted animals on the walls pay homage to hunting lounges of the 1950s, and the wooden tables, chairs, and bar top pay homage to really old trees.
The aroma of fresh-baked bread and muffins draws diners into the cozy Rumor Mill Cafe and Coffee for breakfast and lunch. Deli sandwiches, paninis, and wraps form the backbone of the menu, crafted with slow roasted meats and seasonal produce. Diners can eat alfresco or snuggle up on microsuede armchairs to catch up on work with free WiFi and a cup of coffee. The café's 42-inch flat-screen television communicates the latest news, sports scores, and values of Beanie Babies.
There isn't a bad seat in the house at Jake's Sports Bar & Grill, where 12 televisions broadcast the latest sports games. Bartenders keep glasses filled with cold beer, and cooks serve up half-pound burgers, hot wings, and other pub favorites.