Coffee & Treats in Nebraska


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  • The Tea Smith
    The Tea Smith owner Tim Smith searches out loose-leaf teas from all over the world—and he says he has to consciously limit himself as he fills the shops' stock of about 150 teas. But it wasn't long ago that Tim didn't even like tea. "I thought tea was brown water and a bag," he confesses. It took a gift for his wife to change that. "I was traveling for business, it was around Valentine's day, and I was married long enough to know that you don't come home empty-handed," he says. So he bought her some loose-leaf tea and the right accessories to brew it. "She made me try it, and it was surprising," he says. "It was not that stuff in a bag. It had some character and some taste to it." He began researching, and realized that tea—already the world’s most widely consumed beverage after water—was experiencing a resurgence in the United States. While many tea spots have British or Japanese themes, Tim decided to open a tea shops with a "comfortable contemporary" vibe, where people could enjoy hot, iced, and bubble teas with friends. For at-home brewing, visitors can shop for classic teas such as Earl Grey, sample more unusual flavors such as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy” (an oolong), or browse seasonal blends such as pumpkin spice, cranberry cream, and fireside chat. The shops also stocks travel tea mugs, teapots equipped with infuser baskets, and unglazed Chinese YiXing clay pots that enhance the tea’s flavor. Tim knows that many people who walk into the shop are unfamiliar with loose-leaf tea and may not be sure what they'll like—which is why he only hires tea enthusiasts. "Part of their training is to come in and drink each of the teas, and make notes on the flavor profiles," he says. That way, the staff can recommend blends suited to each customer's palate, rather than having to analyze a Rorschach tea-blot test. In addition to events including an annual blending contest, they also run periodic Tea 101 sessions that introduce attendees to the "history, the myths, the legends, and the lore of tea," says Tim.
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    1118 Howard St.
    Omaha, NE US
  • Sam and Louie's
    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.
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    1501 Pine Lake Road
    Lincoln, NE US
  • Union Orchard
    Although it may be open for visitors year-round, the fall is when Union Orchard is at its most vibrant. Morning fog hangs low to the fields, depositing drops of condensation on the ripening apples; apple-cider donuts emerge from the fryer for a dusting in sugar; and tart ciders bring out the flavors of apple varieties grown onsite. A wagon trails behind a rumbling tractor, carting families through the trees and off the premises to perform ancient rituals in the pumpkin patch. The plot, now over a century old, also gives rise to the makings of fragrant wines, preserves, and fruit butters. In September 2014, Union Orchard's Central Apple Market store opened in downtown Nebraska City. The building, dating from 1880, has been restored and offers gift items including wines, ciders, spa products, and goods such as glasses, party platters, and wine racks as well as orchard products.
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    2405 S Highway 75
    Union, NE US
  • Perkins Restaurant and Bakery
    If you have yet to try Perkins on Wilmar Ave, it's the perfect time to check out the hugely-popular deli. It's a culinary destination for customers looking for an excellent waitstaff and a yummy meal. No specific attire is required, so feel free to dress casually and comfortably. Also, though the prices are considered to be lower than average, you aren't going to sacrifice any quality. In fact, you should be able to enjoy a good meal for $11 or $12, and can probably get in and out for $8 if you try. If you're on the lookout for the perfect spot for family or friends, it's been reviewed as a solid option for large groups and kids. WiFi is available if you want to get some work done, and if you're in a hurry, you can always take advantage of the convenient take-out offerings. One of the tastier franchises in the area, a trip to this Perkins is definitely worthwhile.
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    106 Wilmar Ave
    Grand Island, NE US
  • Barista's Daily Grind
    One of the best-rated restaurants in Kearney, Barista's Daily Grind offers a familiar vibe with a delightful menu that features coffee. It's a culinary destination for guests looking for a helpful staff. Though the overall price can be a bit on the low side, you won't be sacrificing any quality. For those keeping an eye on their diet, the menu does feature vegetarian items and it's been tabbed as a nice option for both large groups and families with children. WiFi's available if you're trying to get some work done, and it offers convenient local delivery, and can even cater events in the area. A good spot for both breakfast and lunch, a visit to Barista's is definitely worthwhile. Visitors to the restaurant have access to a private lot nearby or can park on the street.
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    2301 13th Ave
    Kearney, NE US
  • Alotta Brownies
    For a flaky croissant or old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie, Alotta Brownies is the best bakery around. Low-fat alternatives are not available, however, so make sure your waistband has some wiggle room. Alotta Brownies is a good restaurant to dine with a small or large group. No need to put on airs for a trip to Alotta Brownies — the dress code and ambience at this bakery are totally laid-back. Alotta Brownies prides itself in its delicious catering. Sidle into a space on the street or park your vehicle in the adjacent lot.
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    317 N Main St
    Fremont, NE US

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