Yep! It’s true! I went out to dinner this weekend, and I have the pictures to prove it (click any pics to enlarge)! 😉
To many, I am surely known as the girl who never goes out to eat. And, for the most part, that has been true for the past 4 1/2 years since learning about all of the additives that are hidden in so many foods…and how incredibly sensitive I am to them!
Until now, it just hasn’t been worth the risk for me to dine out…and certainly not worth the hassle of interrogating the wait staff with a million questions only to determine that it’s impossible for me to eat there, anyway. And, most importantly, it’s generally not worth the anxiety that rushes over me as I wonder if what they’re serving me really is as additive-free as they think it is. And, of course, nothing is worth the inevitable disappointment that sets in later as I realize that I am having a physical reaction to something that must’ve slipped past the radar. Ugh! Perhaps some of you can relate? Really, it’s quickly become more “fun” to stay home and do all of the work myself. LOL!
That is…until I realized that Omaha cake decorator, Gina Sterns, was opening her own restaurant, Dolce Cafe, in Omaha (at 124th & Maple) and that she was determined for folks with food sensitivities and allergies to be able to dine at her cafe along with everyone else. And, yes, even people like….me!
How can this be achieved?
Well, it’s simple – by providing total transparency of the ingredients!
Gina and her staff are incredibly gracious about answering as many questions as one may have about what ingredients are used in their dishes.
As stated as part of the the Dolce Cafe Concept (which greets diners at the door), at Dolce “We believe customers have the right to ‘know their food’ when dining out. We are happy and willing to answer any questions about ingredients and preparation of every item on our menu.”
As a diner who must ask TONS of these types of questions, I can assure you that not every restaurant is so “happy and willing” to answer them. But my experience at Dolce was very pleasant, and not once did I feel that I was “burdening” the staff – heck, they even brought a few packages to my table from the kitchen so I could verify the ingredients for myself! And they were pleasant and helpful with each question I posed and with each of their corresponding trips to the kitchen to inquire with the chef or to check a product label.
I decided to keep it pretty simple on my first visit by ordering a dish called “Naked Grilled Salmon.” In the end, there were only 5 ingredients used to prepare my entire plate: wild salmon, salt, pepper, scallions, and broccoli. And it was delicious!! I also enjoyed a side salad featuring lots of yummy veggies and a dressing prepared in-house from olive oil, white wine vinegar and fresh herbs…a true “Grocery Geek’s” delight! Oh, and apparently in culinary school they must teach some magic tricks for grilling salmon because mine never turns out this moist and delicous when I prepare it at home!!! (I guess it really does pay to leave some things to the professionals. LOL!)
At Dolce Cafe, they also source organically raised ingredients when possible and they work with many local farmers — I LOVE THIS! I can’t wait until my next visit because I’m definitely going to try one of Dolce’s local, grass-fed beef dishes featuring cuts from Range West Beef of Marquette, NE!
Have you eaten at Dolce? If so, please leave a comment below to let us know what you liked? If you haven’t been there yet, what are you waiting for?!
Also, if you’ve discovered any other Omaha eateries that cater well to food allergies/sensitivies, please share your experiences by commenting below!
I haven’t been there yet, but it is on my list of places to try!
Once you go, let us know your thoughts 🙂
So glad you finally got a chance to go! I have been there numerous times and it has been superb! This is really a special place for exceptional cuisine! I have had the meatball sandwich. Not something I would usually consider, but the reviews from others were very enthusiastic, so it tried it. Definitely something to savor. Just the right blend of Italian flavor, cheese and in-house bread. The meatballs, made from grass feed beef and organically raised and fed pork, are bursting with flavor. Gina does not leave much to chance. The ingredients, the preparation, the service, the relaxed atmosphere, all combine for a great experience and exceptional value! I have also had the hamburger. It will make you proud that Nebraska is the beef state! The attention to detail is there, everything complements the flavor of real beef. Dolce Cafe is a gem for West Omaha!
Christy, I can so relate to your concerns regarding dining out and not knowing the ingredients, the concern about reactions, the agony of the discomfort from the unknown. It does become so much more fun to create meals at home. Thanks for you encouragement to continue my fine dining. I look forward to eating at Dolce Cafe during a visit to Omaha. Cheers, VeraMae
I have been to Dolce Cafe three times for lunch! The entire experience (atmosphere, food, service) was wonderful:) I can’t wait to go again soon!
I recently visited Dolce and was so impressed. The food was fabulous – I had the hamburger and agree with the other reviewer that it was delicious – cooked to perfection with a true beef taste – no processed food here. The side salad was full of dark greens that were crisp, fresh, and the house made Ranch dressing was great. Best of all was the service. Gina made a point of coming to the table and introducing herself and gave us information about her philosophy and some upcoming events. The server we had was very good and made the luncheon a delight. We will certainly return – I’m looking for to dinner.