Review by J1 Reporter Courtney Thompson
Over Christmas break, I ate dinner at Stirnella Bar & Kitchen. This more-than-a-little classy restaurant is located on 38th and Farnam in Omaha, Nebraska. I had to park down the street in a neighborhood to avoid putting quarters in the meter, but that’s because I don’t have a job at the moment. Walking in, I was immediately greeted by the kindly smiling hostess, and asked if I had a reservation. I did not, and offered to sit at the bar, as it was a Friday night, and I’m sure they had a large number of reservations.
I was taken to the bar with a drink menu, which I did not glance at because I am very underage. The bartender came over and introduced himself to me, Maddissen, asking if I was eating or just having a drink. I told him I was just eating, and was quite entertained by the jokes about how young I look that followed.
Maddissen brought me a menu, and gave me time to peruse while I nodded my head to “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. The menu was one of the most interesting I had ever seen. It has foods from cultures all around the world, and I had to ask what more than a few things were. I ended up ordering the Blackstone Burger, one of the only meals in my price range, for a whopping $16. While I waited for my food, I went to use the restroom, and on my way back I noticed the art covering the walls. About 5 feet apart, littering the restaurant, were beautiful paintings of an assortment of animals, some doing or wearing things that animals usually don’t do. My favorite was the goat smoking a pipe.
A server passed me while I was looking at a lovely yellow bird painting, and told me that the painting was of a Meadowlark, the state bird of Nebraska. She said that Stirnella was derived from the scientific name of the Meadowlark, and that the owners had a hard time coming up with such a well thought of name. Wanting to know more about the restaurant, I asked her if this was the only place that the owners managed, and she told me that the two men, apparently both named Matt, own 3 businesses just in the Blackstone district of Omaha. Stirnella was the first one they started, followed by a sushi place called Butterfish, and an old fashioned bar called the Red Lion Lounge.
I returned to my seat at the bar, and was brought my food about 10 minutes later, which was quite understandable as it was seven o’clock and they were getting busy at that point. I took the first bite of my burger and almost made a noise I shouldn’t. It was cooked perfectly and I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger that good. The fries were perfectly salty and the sauce provided to dip them in was to die for. I finished rather quickly, and was almost immediately offered a dessert menu. I couldn’t refuse after how good the burger was. I was recommended the gooey butter bar and, trusting Maddissen’s word, ordered it. It took about 10 minutes to come out and it was almost better than the burger. It was sweet and savory, and I couldn’t get enough.
Maddissen took my plate, and offered me another one, but there was no way my stomach or budget could fit it. I received my check, and left a generous tip for the exceptional service I received. They left me with a “Have a nice night!” and I was on my way home with a full belly and a smile on my face.