As a new resident in Omaha I was told about the legendary Amato's and eager to give it a try. I have actually made two visits but have only eaten there once. On my first visit, 4 minutes in total, I made a crucial mistake. As you enter Amato's there is a dinning area on your left and right. The right side is where most people eat and allows you to see the kitchen. The left, looks homey but reserved for select patrons.
On my first visit a group of 8 was seated on the left so I sat on that less crowded side. Before I knew it this gruff voice from a distance said, "Can I help you?" That is Cathy. I walked over to where she was and told her I was by myself. In the same gruff manner she said, "Get to the other side!" I decided to leave at that point. Yelling at a customer is not appropriate in my mind.
On my second visit I went early and made sure I sat on the right side. There was only one other customer at a time. Tables are set up in groups of four so I was unsure if I was going to escape being fussed at for being alone. But all went well.
Amato's is a true neighborhood diner where everyone knows you name. As patrons enter they say good morning to the other diners. Patrons talk to one another and call each other by name. Cathy does the same. She knows the customers names and is able to ask key questions about events in their lives. On this morning I found Cathy to be very friendly. If you want to appear like a local, say good morning to all as you sit down.
As I sat down Cathy brought me water and asked if I wanted something else to drink. I told her coffee with cream. She brought a little cream pitcher. I ordered the ricotta berry pancakes. Berries are a dollar extra but well worth it. I also ordered a serving of their homemade Italian sausage. My two pancakes were big and thick. They were nicely browned and I could see both the blueberries and spots of ricotta cheese. The berries help the pancakes to be more juicy and less dry. I don't what the ricotta cheese adds to the pancake. The pancakes taste like what I could make at home. I feel like they were from scratch and not from a mix. The homemade Italian sausage is a coarsely ground and flavorful. It is also thick like a hamburger patty. I found the coarse look of the sausage unappealing.
While eating one of the regulars called out to Cathy to tell her that his friend was ready to order. Then he quickly added, "when you are ready Cathy." I had to laugh after my initial experience. As I finished eating Cathy asked if I wanted any more coffee and I said "No Thank you." She told me to come up to the register when I was ready to pay. I found that very helpful. As a new comer you want to make the right move.
It would be interesting over time to see if a new comer could become a regular. For me a need food with a more unique taste before I could become a regular diner. My meal totaled $12.87 which I thought was high for breakfast.
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