On a fall Saturday, Biaggi’s chef-partner Aaron King is preparing for an onslaught of homecoming activity. The evening’s crowd includes 20-person tables with teenagers in towering heels and dutiful dates. “Lots of chicken parm,” he predicts.
Biaggi’s, an Italian restaurant now in its 13th year in Omaha, is known for being a great place for special occasions. Located near 137th and Dodge street, the restaurant serves a brisk crowd of business park professionals for lunch and has earned a loyal base of repeat dinner customers. With its relaxed atmosphere and ability to accommodate large groups, the restaurant has also earned diners that seek an exceptional experience on special occasions – whether for a birthday, rehearsal dinner, wedding or homecoming date.
King attributes Biaggi’s longevity to quality and consistency. The Bloomington-based chain boasts 23 locations in 12 states. At Nebraska’s sole location, King strives to offer good food with the freshest ingredients. “Italian cooking is about the freshness of ingredients,” he said. “It’s about letting the ingredients speak for themselves without overcomplicating it.”
On the Biaggi’s menu is a mix of authentic Italian dishes, like spaghetti and meatballs, and Italian-inspired items, like the popular chicken pietro with its balsamic, honey and mustard dressing.
Nearly the entire menu is made from scratch every day, King said. The osso buco dish is one item that underscores Biaggi’s made-from-scratch ethos. To make the dish, a tough veal shank is braised in a rich broth of vegetables and herbs. In the Biaggi’s version, the shank is first seared and then braised for five hours to yield maximum tenderness.
The roasted beet salad is another dish prepared without any cut corners. Cooks wash, peel and boil fresh beets, toss them with a honey balsamic vinaigrette and then roast them again.
“Instead of a beet that could be opened from a can and done in 30 seconds, it’s a two-and-a-half hour, labor-intensive process for one item for one dish,” King said.
King has been with Biaggi’s since its Omaha beginnings. After starting as a prep cook at age 18, King learned quickly and was offered a sous chef position at 22. He became chef-partner at 24, the youngest executive chef at Biaggi’s at the time.
Through the years, he’s pushed himself creatively with special menus for food-and-wine pairing events. Customers will often find him walking the floor and chatting with guests. His goal is to make every diner’s experience more intimate and special.
“I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve made the dishes hundreds and hundreds of times,” he said. “But every day I walk in and I still have a passion to make great food.”
13655 California St.
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.