LITTLE ITALY OMAHA!
Omaha is a vibrant city, rich in diversity of neighborhoods. From incorporation as a city in 1857 to more recent annexations in 2016, there is a lot to learn and choose from. Until now, it has been difficult to find all this online in one place. OmahaNebraska.com is proud to work on this project to showcase what is special about each neighborhood and to work toward connecting people in their neighborhoods and with other parts of the city. The goal is to create a stronger Omaha community and connect this nationally and globally to others.
If you would like to get your Omaha neighborhood on the priority list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 402.932.7243.
Connect. Engage. Omaha!
OmahaNebraska.com begins our Omaha website with three important older neighborhoods on our mission to cover Omaha: Little Italy, North Omaha and South Omaha. We did this for many reasons, including love for the neighborhoods and people there, as well as the opportunity to help positively impact these areas economically during an important time in their history.
Little Italy gets its name from the large number of Italian immigrants that came to Omaha in the nineteenth century. Many of these immigrants came from Calabria and Sicily seeking a better life. Initially, many worked in hard labor jobs such as the Stockyards and then began to move out and open their own businesses. Some of the more famous ones are the Italian steakhouses (Cascio's Itallian Steakhouse, Caniglia's, Piccolo Pete's) and the two Italian bakeries (Orsi's Bakery, Rotella's Bakery). At present, Cascio's and the two bakeries are still in business. Cascio's and Orsi's remain in Little Italy. Rotella's has moved to La Vista, Nebraska.
Little Italy is one of my favorite places to vist and very close to our office in the Old Market. I love to go Orsi's and get a pizza, bread, cookies and deli meat. Jim Hall, Orsi's current owner, is an expert and a very knowledgeable and fun conversationalist. One of our family secret recipes for meatballs (not so secret now) is mortadella. I shred that up and add it to the ground beef mixture that has been perfected by our youngest.
Another Little Italy tradition is the Italian lunch on Thursdays at the Sons of Italy. Thank you to Steve La Greca for the interview.
I also love to visit with Jim Rotella and am working on a project to collect information on St. Ann's Church that was torn down. If you have information to help, please contact us at 402.932.7243.
One of the oldest parts of Omaha, North Omaha was home to many famous people, both in life and in death. Prospect Hill Cemetery inters many of the city's founders and and other historical figures, including Phineas Hitchcock, Willian Connell, Thomas Cuming, Algernon Paddock and Joseph Millard.
It is home to some great people of today, as well as great businesses, including Big Mama's Kitchen. There are many nonprofits also, including No More Empty Pots. They are doing great work in the city to feed the hungry and teach job skills. Thank you to Nancy Williams for the interview.
Not many people know that South Omaha started as its own city with the same name, incorporated in 1886. Annexed in 1915, South Omaha was nicknamed the Magic City because of its fast-paced growth. It attracted many immigrants who came to Omaha and found work in the Omaha Stockyards. These included Germans, Italians, Czechs and Greeks. Today, the population has added Latinos, many from Mexico.
South Omaha is a lovely place to visit; just drive down any of the main streets there. Vinton and 24th is always exciting, full of life, the entrepreneurial spirit and, of course, many businesses.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Kroc Center. We thank Madeline Moyer for her great interview and insight into the development of the Center and South Omaha.
Little Italy, Omaha