Crane Coffee (Downtown Omaha Cafe)

Crane Coffee is a local coffee shop franchise that recently opened a long-awaited cafe branch downtown in the Paxton building. It was a rumor for years, and a boarded-up construction site for even longer, and finally in the last few months it opened.

And it’s worth the wait. It has the real cafe feel, more than any other place I’ve been to in Omaha. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer on tap, wine, cocktails, coffee, and gelato. In order to be a “real” cafe, mind, you’d need to do exactly that: serve every imaginable course, most liquor, some wine, and at least a couple tap beers. Few places do this even in big American cities (Europe is rabid with them, of course). Crane’s downtown branch notably has Lucky Bucket and Boulevard Tank 7 on tap, a good selection of wine, and a big breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.

However, like any jack-of-all-trades, they don’t do everything perfectly. The coffee is okay, but you’d best stick to Blue Line, 13th Street, or Aromas if you’re a snob (I can’t throw the first stone). I haven’t yet been disappointed by the food, which tends to be usual cafe fare for breakfast and lunch, plus a hodgepodge of dinner offerings. In particular, the sweet-potato tater-tots are outstanding. I’ve had nothing like them. Salty, sweet, and savory, all in a crispy orange tater. I also love the e-Creamery gelato.

Because I work and live nearby, I expect I’ll be at Crane often. It’s not an outstanding place, really, but as a convenient cafe with nearly everything imaginable, I’m quite glad it’s around.

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