What was once meant to be the future home of Zesto, an annual College World Series favorite, has morphed into both Zesto and Blatt Beer and Table — a full-service restaurant named after Omaha's beloved Rosenblatt Stadium.
Zesto negotiated with the City of Omaha to put a stand-alone restaurant on the spot at 12th and Mike Fahey streets, just south of TD Ameritrade Stadium. One of the conditions of the purchase was to build a two- story mixed-use building.
“Once we got into the pricing of all this,” Zesto co-owner Michael Kelley said, “it escalated into a $3 million development. That's too big for a Zesto ice cream stand.”
Kelley said he had to make a year-round enterprise instead of a seasonal one in north downtown. So Zesto is partnering with the Flagship Restaurant Group to open Blatt Beer and Table. The group also runs Blue Sushi and Roja locations in Omaha.
The menu at Blatt, inspired by Bavarian and German cuisine, will include things like brats, spaetzle, mussels, calamari and lahvosh, among other items. Flagship spokesperson Megan Longo said Tony Gentile, the same person behind the menus for Blue and Roja, is working on Blatt's menu.
“We will still have the traditional Zesto food and outdoor venue,” Kelley said.
Diners will be able to get Zesto ice cream, burgers and brats at the downtown location.
Elle Lynch, who used to run Daily Grub, a much-loved vegan restaurant that closed in 2011, is working with Blatt on its list of craft beers, Longo said, and she's also inspired the restaurant to carry a few vegetarian menu items, including a vegetarian version of pork skins. (Don't worry, actual pork skins are on the menu, too.)
“We definitely want to stay away from being identified as a sports bar,” Longo said. “We're definitely not that.”
Kelley said he's also negotiating with Rosenblatt Stadium to get memorabilia from the site in the restaurant.
“We want to keep it in the spirit of Rosenblatt,” he said.
Kelley said the south Omaha Zesto will open for the summer in the next two weeks.
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The restaurant will be located at 604 N. 12th St. and the website is www.blattbeer.com.