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To read more from Sarah Baker Hansen, go to her blog, OMAvore.
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Sullivan's hosts ‘50 Shades' party
Even if you haven't read the blockbuster novel “50 Shades of Grey,” you're invited to the “50 Shades of Red” party tonight at Sullivan's Steakhouse.
The racy novel is inspiration for a slew of special cocktails — The Lip Bite, Charlie Tango, Inner Goddess and Laters, Baby — to be served along with complimentary champagne and passed appetizers.
Andy Stephens, general manager for Sullivan's Steakhouse Omaha, said the parties are taking place at Sullivan's around the country. He said so far, a pretty good mix of both men and women have RSVP'd for the Omaha party.
“Where the ladies go, the guys will follow,” he said.
The party begins tonight at 8 and there is no cover. Live music and prizes are part of the night, and guests are encouraged to wear red. All the guests will be entered to win a number of giveaways, including a $1,000 Neiman Marcus gift card, the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy of books and dinner for two at Sullivan's.
To RSVP, email RedPartyOmaha@dfrg.com. Sullivan's is at 222 S. 15th St.
Get happy at Blatt Beer
Blatt Beer and Table has a new happy-hour menu.
The specials run Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and all day Sunday, from noon to 8 p.m.
The happy-hour menu includes drinks, among them $2 PBR cans, $3 house wine and $5 Guinness bloody marys; snacks such as $2.50 pub peanuts, $2 frites and $4 Bavarian pretzel bites; and larger appetizers including $6 grilled mixed sausage on a stick, $9 Blatt Bites, a plate that includes almonds, olives, cheeses and meats, and $5 vegetarian currywurst sausage.
The restaurant also is having an industry night every Monday, when professionals in the restaurant, bar and hotel industries can get the happy-hour menu from 7 p.m. to close. You must show up in uniform or show proof of employment to get the deal.
Blatt is at 610 N. 12th St., adjacent to TD Ameritrade Park.
Time for lunch at Sons of Italy
The Sons of Italy Hall, 1238 S. 10th St., will start its Thursday lunches a week earlier this year.
The lunches, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., begin this coming Thursday with spaghetti and meatballs. Friday evening dinners, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., begin Sept. 7 with hamburgers, french fries, chicken sandwiches and whatever was served the previous day. The price for both lunches and dinners is $7.50. Information: 402-345-4639.
Show off your tomatoes
Gardeners with a successful tomato crop, take note: This Saturday at the Benson Farmer's Market, the third annual Tomato Showdown is after the best of the best.
“The Good, The Big and the Ugly” contest runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and anyone with an impressive tomato they've grown is invited to enter. Each variety of tomato counts as one entry, and the cost is $5 for one entry or $10 for as many entries as you want.
The tomatoes are divided into two classes: miniature, which includes grape, cherry and plum-sized tomatoes, and standard, which includes all others. The tomatoes will be judged on appearance, taste, sugar content and, in some cases, ugliness.
The judges are Rebecca Bloom of Blooms Organic, Patricia “Big Mama” Barron, founder and proprietor of Big Mama's Kitchen, and José Dionicio, chef and owner at Taita in Benson.
Winners will take home medals and ribbons for first, second and third places in each category. Canoyer's, Earl May, Indian Creek Nursery, Lanoha, Mulhall's, Tomato Growers Supply and Seed Savers Exchange have donated special additional prizes.
Entrants can preregister by midnight tonight by calling 402-553-5627 or emailing email@example.com.
Entrants should bring their tomatoes to the registration table at the market between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. If entering miniature tomatoes, bring at least four. Bring at least two of each large tomato variety. If you are entering a tomato in the ugly contest, bring just one.
Deal at this Baxter's is pizza
The owners of Lot 2 in Benson are bringing another restaurant to the neighborhood.
Brad and Johanna Marr plan to open Baxter, which will serve pizza by the slice, sandwiches and salads in the former location of Ella's at 6113 Maple St.
“We love Benson,” Brad Marr said, “and we want to continue to make it a great place to be.”
Baxter is named after the grandfather of the Marrs' business partner. The late Johnny Baxter opened his first car dealership in 1956 in Benson where the Waiting Room is now.
“It was fitting to bring that name back to Benson,” Brad Marr said.
He said Baxter will serve beer and wine, and they hope to have it open yet this fall.
Johnny's rewards 90th guest
Johnny's Cafe continues celebrating its 90th birthday this month with a new September special. Each day of the month, the 90th guest at lunch and the 90th guest at dinner will receive 90 percent off his or her food bill. Yes, you read that right.
Johnny's has been open since 1922 at the same location: 4702 S. 27th St. For more information or a reservation, call 402-731-4774.
First Bravo in Nebraska
Bravo Cucina Italiana opened in Village Pointe this week.
The restaurant is the first Bravo in Nebraska and will serve affordable, Roman-inspired Italian food.
Chef Jason Shultz, who comes to Omaha from Columbus, Ohio, will serve a menu that includes dishes such as Chicken Parmesan Milanese, Filet Mignon Toscano, Eggplant Parmesan, Chicken Marsala and Penne Mediterranean.
A $3.95 bar bites menu, available Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, will feature specially priced happy-hour appetizers. On weeknights, drinks in the bar will be $5 and on Wednesday nights martinis are $5.
The restaurant's hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is at 17151 Davenport St. For more information, visit www.BravoItalian.com.
Blue Agave closes
Blue Agave, chef Jared Clark's upscale Mexican spot, has closed.
The restaurant closed in mid-July, according to a voice mail on its answering machine. The restaurant was at 13615 California St.
New Freddy's opens
Omaha has a new Freddy's.
The latest location of the frozen custard and fast-food restaurant, at 168th Street and West Dodge Road in Village Pointe, is the metro's third store.
The first location opened in Papillion's Shadow Lake Towne Center in 2011 and the second in Council Bluffs' Metro Crossing, also in 2011. Each location has a restaurant, a patio and a drive-thru.
Freddy's serves steakburgers, hot dogs and signature desserts made with frozen custard.
New Qdoba opens
Qdoba Mexican Grill is open in Council Bluffs.
The fast-casual Mexican's first spot in the Bluffs is at 3825 Denmark Drive. This weekend, guests can win prizes as part of its grand opening.
Diners can spin the Qdoba prize wheel this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the chance to win coupons and swag.
— Staff writer Sarah Baker Hansen