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Omaha Magazine

Sisterly Grub

Jul 15, 2016 11:08AM ● By Sarah Wengert

Sisters Cafe is your typical small-town eatery—with a delightful globe-trotting twist.

Sisters2As diners approach the restaurant on historic downtown Plattsmouth’s Main Street, they’re greeted with whimsical signage featuring a pair of flitting butterflies, one decorated like the national flag of Thailand and the other mimicking the German flag.       

Inside, sisters Jit Kunkel and Noopin Hammerich flutter about, seamlessly combining the cuisine of Thailand and Deutschland on one diverse, delectable menu. Sisters does not create Thai-German fusion, rather, the restaurant offers Thai and German dishes side by side—just as the sisterly duo stands together in the kitchen.     

“The Thai side evolves from Jit's background and experience owning Jit's Thai Cafe in Omaha,” says Greg Kunkel, Jit’s husband and a third owner alongside the sisters. “Noopin brings the German component from her training and work experience in Hamburg, Germany—so the combination is natural for us.”

Sisters3The sisters grew up in Northeast Thailand before Jit immigrated to the U.S. and Noopin immigrated to Germany. After 40 years, during which time Noopin attended culinary school and worked in catering, she joined Jit stateside to launch their joint endeavor.

Jit creates amazing housemade Thai sauces, perfecting the flavors of their homeland, while Noopin oversees the German side. Noopin also contributes the standout baked goods, including homemade bread and desserts: apple strudel, special cakes, and tortes. Sisters' homegrown vibe is partially provided by fresh organic vegetables and herbs that come from the garden at Greg and Jit’s Bellevue home. Greg's part in this venture is tending that garden.

Between my German last name and a pronounced penchant for pad thai, I felt completely in my element at Sisters. However, neither characteristic is necessary to appreciate Sisters’ emphasis on freshness and friendly service. From wienerschnitzel and sauerbraten to panang curry and drunken noodles, Sisters’ commitment to authenticity and homemade provisions makes this place special.   

Sisters4On a recent visit, the pad thai was, predictably, a favorite. Sisters’ solid version of the classic dish boasts a homemade sauce so well-balanced between sour, salty, spicy, and sweet that Buddha himself would be pleased. The dish achieved a harmonious texture through expertly cooked rice noodles and egg mingled with garden-fresh green onion and bean sprouts, a crushed-peanut finish, shredded carrot, and a juicy lime wedge. We opted for chicken, but the dish is also available with beef, pork, tofu, or langostino.       

Sisters’ take on the German classic rinderrouladen presented a tender beef filet stuffed with bacon, pickle, and onion, then topped with a rich, savory gravy. Soft, eggy spaetzle with a crisp exterior and pickled red cabbage, sweet with apple flavor, accompanied the dish. German dishes are served with a small salad and Noopin’s noticeably homemade bread.   

The cafe’s ambiance is cozy and unassuming, with a front door beset by two large windows that allow a pleasant supply of natural light. A small front patio provides a nice perch from which to experience quaint, downtown Plattsmouth while dining. Sisters offers beer and wine alongside Thai tea to quench your thirst.

Sisters bustles with business and is clearly popular with local regulars, but Omahans and those from other nearby communities will find it worthwhile to make the short trip to Plattsmouth, and, from there, be transported to far-off Thailand and Germany. 

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