FFP Omaha: Soft-serve saga, patio season, cyclists assemble

FFP Omaha newsletter

Hey there, it’s Jeremy. 

When I moved to Omaha last year, something about Zesto captured my attention. Maybe it was the ice cream institution’s long-standing association with the College World Series or the iconic old-school look of the Florence location. Maybe it was that I’d come across the brand before … in Atlanta. 

If you’re from here, you can be forgiven for thinking Zesto is “a Nebraska thing.” In fact, the six locations in our state are part of a loose network of more than 30 restaurants sprinkled throughout the Midwest and the South. And there used to be many more. 

In our feature story this week, I dove deep into the little-known history of Zesto and the dream of two Nebraska-born ice cream obsessives to shape the brand’s future. 

Read the story here (or click the photo above).

Jeremy Turley - Flatwater Free Press
A patio season appreciation, with 34 Omaha outdoor dining recs

Omahans (including this one) start to get the itch to sit with a glass of wine on a deck chair as soon as that first warm-ish spring day hits. Now that we are in high patio season — and high summer — it felt right to revisit the question of just why Omahans love patio season so much. Three restaurants and chefs shared their thoughts on the matter. And, while we are at it, we are also presenting you with a list of more than 30 patios that I love and that FFP readers recommended to us.

Read the latest “Just Add Salt” right here, or click the photo above.

Great news: The Documenters program is up and running again! Last week one of our Documenters went to the City of Omaha’s Human Rights and Relations Board, which advises the mayor and City Council on issues of race, gender, disability and more. The meeting had no votes or public comment, and discussed a fair housing training session. We’ve posted a summary. You can see the full notes from the meeting here.

Moving forward, expect to see weekly overviews and highlights of important meetings happening in our community. Want to help inform your community and create better journalism while getting paid? Become a Documenter today.

What I'm Into

I love pedaling to work (aside from the past few sweltering days), and I love meeting up with other cyclists around Omaha. A bunch of them are getting together at the arch in Gene Leahy Mall for a community ride at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28. This is a recurring gathering every last Friday of the month, led by members of the cycling community, including my pals from the Community Bike Project. Spoiler alert: It gets a little bumpy on the brick-paved streets of the Old Market.

Read This Next

Chris Burbach at the Omaha World-Herald looked into housing complaints against the Omaha Housing Authority that have driven months of protest. Some people are clearly having problems OHA isn’t fixing. Others aren’t. OHA has a difficult task — maintaining its aging housing stock on a shrinking budget, while also receiving more scrutiny under state law — but some advocates feel the public housing organization is making excuses. 

Heavy thunderstorms and strong wind gusts downed power lines, flooded streets and uprooted trees in the Omaha metro earlier this week, KETV reported. Other communities along the Missouri River have seen flooding disasters, and Omaha officials warned of a flooding risk here, WOWT reported. 

A nonprofit is closing a downtown homeless shelter two years after opening it due to a lack of funding, WOWT reported. Caseworkers will work to find permanent housing for the 18 people who lived there. Together Inc. opened the shelter in an old renovated hotel but couldn’t raise enough money to match the pandemic relief dollars that initially made the project possible.

The fans in orange left Omaha happy after their Tennessee Volunteers took down the Texas A&M Aggies in the final game of the College World Series. The World-Herald’s Jon Walker had to paraphrase a few expletives in his story capturing the Rocky Top reaction

The Douglas County Board voted to create an advisory committee on artificial intelligence to examine the uses and risks of the emerging technology, the World-Herald reported. 

A missing Russian tortoise named Natasha has been found after west Omahans mobilized a robust search effort. The tortoise’s relieved owner treated her to a lettuce feast upon her safe return, The World-Herald’s Marjie Ducey writes.