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.
Traditions, formerly known as Indigo Joe's, maintains a devotion to large frosty brews, colossal dishes, and the art of displaying gentlemanly brutes on multiple screens. Their 49 high-definition TVs show all the popular sports, and Traditions provides a radio at every table in case you need to hear your event's play-by-play or Coach Roosevelt's halftime fireside chats. The comfortable cushioned chairs pamper posteriors during marathon clashes, and there’s a bulked-up bar-food menu. Hulking specimens may wish to try the onion rings with barbecue sauce ($7) or the juicy bacon cheeseburger ($9), which comes in a half-pound slab of certified Angus beef. Wash it down with the monolithic 34-ounce beer, served from an extensive bar that features 20 beers to wet all frequencies of whistle.
At That Pottery Place, the definition of an artist?s canvas expands to include everything from mugs to coin banks. The studio invites budding van Goghs to choose from more than 200 pottery designs and cloak their selection with lead-free paint from a rainbow of more than 50 colors. Stencils, stamps, and idea books stand ready to inspire artists who are facing creative blocks or giving their muse the silent treatment. After participants fully realize their visions, they entrust their work to the studio?s professionals, who glaze and fire each piece, readying it for pickup within a week.
In addition to pottery painting, That Pottery Place lets guests channel their creativity with mosaics, whose tiles and gems can be grouted or glued to mirrors and frames, and other small fused-glass projects. Whatever the project, crafters can tote along their own snacks and drinks to fuel their creativity or throw at copycats. For more structured crafting, the studio organizes kids? art classes and camps, and for celebrants seeking a hands-on event, they host parties.
Big Red Restaurant & Sports Bar slings a menu of hot sandwiches and loaded salads alongside more than 50 TVs, an outdoor patio, and two brand new sand volleyball courts. Patrons can don a bib for a game of shirts versus potato skins ($6.99), or quiet cheese cravings with a heaping order of Macho nachos ($9.99). The fresh 1-pound Big Red bacon double burger ($10.99) pairs with any free-weight set or choice of hearty sides. Entree fans can take a peek inside a Kentucky gentleman’s flask with an 8-ounce, charbroiled Whiskey River steak ($13.99), or go green with a Cajun-spiced chicken salad ($7.99). Big Red carries a vast inventory of beers, mixed drinks, and sodas to quench thirsts or splash in the face of a blind date whose mustache catches fire.
Otte Golf and Family Fun Center is a perennial fixture in Golf Range Magazine’s list of the country’s Top 100 Golf Ranges. Its 300-yard driving range houses more than 50 stalls—guests can choose between grass and mat hitting surfaces—set under high-powered lights that keep the target greens illuminated at night. The range provides a venue for independent practice or preparation for rounds on the center's 18-hole executive course, a circuit of par-threes and fours that takes a convenient 2.5 hours to complete, which gives golfers more time to trick out the vintage golf carts in their garages.
A lighthouse stands sentry over the 18-hole miniature golf course, where guests advance through flowerbeds, willow trees, and tidy rows of shrubs and hedges. Those interested in striking balls that aren't placed on tees or the noses of their best friends can visit one of nine batting cages, where pitching machines dispense a steady stream of baseballs and softballs at various speeds.
An Omaha theater fixture since the 1920s, the Omaha Community Playhouse flash-cooks acting chops with acting and stage performance classes taught by committed, experienced instructors. Beginners and experienced performers can take part in a variety of adult and youth courses, including acting, improv, musical-theater dance, youth acting, and speaking in iambic pentameter at work. Learn new skills or revisit old passions at weekly classes that last six weeks, with new courses starting on April 18, 2011. The creative drama/movement class offers youngsters acting games coupled with creative movement interventions, and culminates with a showcase of the skills learned in both areas. Classes are first come, first served, and you can go online for detailed class descriptions or to register for an upcoming course.