Focus on local ingredients, made from scratch
Louie’s Wine Dive at The Shops of Legacy in West Omaha may have been the first restaurant in Nebraska to have wine on tap, but owner Jamie Burrow wants customers to know they are much more than wine. In fact, not only does Louie’s have a full bar, more than 20 craft beers, and wines from around the world, they also have a gourmet menu, making the restaurant an upscale place, but with an emphasis on comfort.
“Recently, a customer said she likes coming here because she feels so comfortable,” Burrow said. “That’s the highest compliment someone can pay us.” He said that for a long time wine bars were thought to be pretentious, but Burrow wants to debunk that myth. “We’re more pub guys, not club guys,” he said. “A lot of our customers aren’t wine drinkers, but because our wines are so accessible, they’ll often sample them and find something they like, then come back for more.”
Their wines on tap change almost weekly, and Louie’s does have a sommelier on staff, giving them the same high level of experience as a fine dining restaurant, but with a casual flare. “Wine is supposed to be fun, and that’s the approach we have taken,” Burrow said. “People often misconstrue what we are, but we want people to come here and have fun with friends, family, and even our staff.” He said they treat their regulars like family, giving them hugs when they walk in the door.
Embracing the community is an important aspect of the business for Burrow, so much so that he has taken great measures to ensure they’re sourcing their food and beverages locally as much as possible. Some of their new offerings in the upcoming year will include beverages with a local connection. Currently their beef is all sourced from Nebraska.
Louie’s has also made a move toward becoming a 99 percent scratch kitchen. John Vong, Executive Chef, said it’s important they offer high quality food they are passionate about. “Preparing everything from scratch is more work for us, but we’re more proud of it too.” With his Vietnamese heritage and training at the Art Institute of California in Orange County, he’s brought some unique and creative dishes to Louie’s.
The Pho Wagyu, which takes Vong 16 hours to cook the traditional Vietnamese broth, is served with Wagyu flat-iron steak, rice noodles, hoisin and Sriracha sauces. The four pork gnocchi is a best seller made with slow-roasted prosciutto, pork shoulder, ground pork, Italian sausage, and a red-wine cream reduction. The staff favorite is the steak portobella truffle mac. And a large number of items on the menu are either gluten-free or can be easily modified to be gluten-free.
“When John interviewed with us, we knew we had something special with him,” Burrow said. “If you’ve been to Louie’s in the past, we’re a different restaurant now, and I’d say we’re at our best, doing things in the kitchen you won’t see anywhere else in Omaha.” This includes seasoning their fries with fresh herbs and parmesan, adding kale to a burger, and serving four different kinds of mimosas during their made-to-order Sunday brunch, such as traditional orange juice, grapefruit juice, grape juice, and cranberry juice.
Burrow said they’re always trying to push the limits with their offerings while keeping things comfortable. “We’re looking at introducing some creative happy hours this year and testing new products to see how they’re received by guests. At the end of the day, our goal is to ensure our guests are happy and that they have an amazing experience.”
Louie’s Wine Dive
16920 Wright Plaza #118