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Omaha Magazine

How Sweet It Is! Omaha’s Sweet Scene Has a Little Sugar for Everyone

May 23, 2023 03:32PM ● By Kim Carpenter
How sweet it is! Ted & Wally’s, Brownie Bar Bakery, Pettit’s Pastry, Bubbly Tart, CTRL Coffee & Cereal Bar, Coneflower Creamery, Sofra Crêperie, Buttered Marshmallow, D&D Frozen Cakes, International Bakery, Tipico Helado, Grand Patisserie, The Cordial Cherry, Camille’s Bakery, Lithuanian Bakery & Kafe, Chocolat Abeille, Graley’s Creamery & Confections, Yuvi’s Bake Shop Omaha Magazine June 2023

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

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It was a sweet job, but someone had to do it.
Omaha Magazine exhausted every corner of the metro in search of the city’s most tantalizing desserts and decadent treats. Whether churning ice cream, baking brownies, or rising to the level of a pâtissier or chocolatier, those working in the local sweet treat trade know how to craft desserts that delight eyes and palates alike. Italian actor Michele Renzullo once said, “Nothing describes us better than the sweets we eat.” In that case, Omahans are among The sweetest people in the country—so sample, savor, and indulge!


Ted & Wally’s 
1120 Jackson St./Old Market
Benson location: 6023 Maple St.
Sunday—Thursday, 11am to 10pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am to 11pm
An Old Market staple since 1984, this humble ice cream parlor lives up to its promise of dishing out “homemade ice cream made from scratch with hyper-local ingredients,” such as cream and milk produced by dairy farms within 100 miles of Omaha. Their old-school process, which involves churning butterfat and eggs in century-old White Mountain freezers with rock salt and ice, results in ultra-premium ice cream with a butterfat content of 20%—or the highest butterfat ice cream that can be found anywhere in the nation. (Ultra-premium usually tops off at 16%.) Rich and creamy, dense and decadent, a cone or dish from Ted & Wally’s is perfect after dinner downtown or as a standalone when visiting the Old Market.

On average, 15 to 20 selections are offered daily, with flavors like Dutch chocolate, toffee coffee, caramel praline, or blueberry crisp prominent customer favorites. The more adventurous may opt for picks like pink peppercorn, sour apple, or lemon Oreo. For those with dietary considerations, vegan and keto ice creams are also options. 

Brownie Bar Bakery
1217 Leavenworth St./Old Market
Rockbrook location: 2821 S. 108th St.
Wednesday—Saturday, 12pm to 8pm; Sunday, 12pm to 5pm
Next to chocolate chip cookies, brownies are the ultimate comfort food, and the Brownie Bar kicks that comfort to the next level with a “build-your-own” approach. Choose from three types of brownie—traditional, blonde, or dark chocolate—which are whipped up from scratch with fresh ingredients that include butter, eggs, and real vanilla and chocolate. Toppings come next and run the gamut from peanut butter frosting and fudge sauce to compote and crushed nuts for sweet-meets-savory combinations.

Indecisive? Indulge in a “brownie flight,” which features all three flavors of brownie and up to eight toppings so you can mix, match, taste, and compare. Keeping with the “bar” theme, the bakery also offers six-packs and cases of 24 or 36. 


Pettit’s Pastry
502 N. 16th St.
Monday—Friday, 5am to 6pm; Saturday & Sunday, 5am to 12pm 
West Omaha location: 311 N. 114th St.
Tuesday & Wednesday, 6am to 1pm; Thursday & Friday, 6am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday, 6am to 1pm
Baking for Omahans since 1954, Pettit’s Pastry maintains a simple menu: doughnuts, rolls, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and cookies. But that’s where the simplicity ends. Masters of old-school piping and frosting, the bakers here create fanciful cakes, cupcakes, and other confections in just about any style desired. Do you want a cake fashioned to resemble an armadillo? This bakery has you covered.

If you’d like a pastry to accompany your morning coffee, try the apple fritters or turnovers. If you’d prefer something even more traditional, opt for one of their signature doughnuts. There’s a reason generations of families have been stopping by this bakery for close to 70 years. 

Bubbly Tart
3020 Leavenworth St./Downtown
Tuesday—Thursday, 11am to 8pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am to 9pm; Sunday, 10am to 2pm
Specializing in what it calls “boutique desserts,” the Bubbly Tart, one of the most recent additions to Omaha’s sweet scene, offers an impressive array of in-house developed baked goods and custom pastries. The business offers creative ways to package its treats. “Grazing boxes” come brimming with macarons, cakesicles, oatmeal creme pies, tarts, olive oil chocolate chip cookies, brownies, bars, cupcakes, and homemade caramel popcorn. “Bento boxes” contain six cupcakes and a small buttercream frosted cake in tempting flavors like marble, almond, lemon, red velvet, and coffee, with filling options including lemon curd, champagne custard, and chocolate mousse.

Of course, there is also the selection of cupcakes, cookies, macarons, miniature cakes and more, all gorgeously decorated in a pleasing palette of pastel rainbow hues. The influence is decidedly French pastry meets an American approach, with a result that is almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Gluten-free and vegan are always menu options.

CTRL Coffee & Cereal Bar
1016 S. 10th St.
Tuesday—Thursday, 7am to 10pm;
Friday—Sunday, 7am to 3pm
“Life’s too short for boring” is this cafe’s tagline, so it’s unsurprising that they make patrons feel like kids again with their cereal bar, a nostalgic take on a childhood staple. Choose from 33 types of cereal, ranging from Coco Puffs to Cheerios, and mix and match them in a bowl for unique flavor combos.

Cereals also come with your choice of two toppings. Did your parents ever tell you not to have too much sugar for breakfast? You no longer have to listen as you ladle marshmallows into your bowl. And it’s not the sugar rush that’s playing with your vision. The colorful interior really is that hippy-trippy. Sip, slurp, crunch to your heart’s content.


Coneflower Creamery
3921 Farnam St./Blackstone District
1241 Millwork Ave./Millwork Commons
Tuesday—Saturday, 12pm to 10 pm;
Sunday, 11am to 8pm
Drive through the Blackstone District and you’ll inevitably see people queuing for Coneflower ice cream. For good reason. The “farm to cone” approach means ingredients are local and fresh with each purchase supporting community farmers. While standards like dark chocolate, salted caramel, and vanilla bean are always on offer, don’t miss speciality flavors like coffee, made with local partner, Archetype Coffee, and in-season sweet corn, truly a loving nod to the Cornhusker state. That latter is one of Coneflower’s signature menu items and a flavor even the most devoted ice cream aficionados don’t typically associate with the frozen treat.

Toppings are both the usual suspects—hot fudge, sprinkles, and the like—as well as unexpected ones, like whipped coconut cream and Amarena cherries. Ice pops, floats, and artisan bottled sodas are also offered for those with dietary considerations. Also note: they opened their second location in Millwork Commons in April.

Sofra Crêperie
1911 S. 67th St.
Aksarben Village Inner Rail Food Hall
Sofra Kitchen
220 S. 31st Ave./Midtown Crossing
Sunday—Thursday, 11am to 8pm;
Friday & Saturday, 11am to 9pm
Anyone who’s spent time in France knows the utter delight of walking up to a sidewalk crêperie and ordering an almost paper-thin crêpe piping hot off the griddle and filled with various sweet fillings. You don’t have to travel far to have the same experience. Pan-fried and eggier than a pancake, crêpes may be delicate, but still offer the ideal foundation for a wide variety of fillings. Omaha’s own Sofra offers savory and sweet crêpes alike, but it’s the latter option that always has us craving a return visit. Specialty crêpes include Nutella and graham cracker, chocolate peanut butter, s’mores, strawberry cheesecake, white chocolate, and, in an American spin on this very French speciality, peanut butter and jelly. Fresh bananas and strawberries often round out the flavors.

Whether you’re dining in or grabbing a crêpe on the go, you’ll understand why these easy-to-eat desserts are a favorite on the streets of Paris. 

Buttered Marshmallow 
2515 N. 48th Ave.
Mondays—Sundays, 9am to 11am
With a tempting mélange of flavors like pink champagne, chocolate Zinfandel, orange coconut, pumpkin and cream, and of course, the eponymous buttered marshmallow, choosing just one type of cake is a true challenge in this modest bakery. Fortunately, there are “charcakerie” boards, which serve cake wedges, fillings, buttercreams, and garnishes for dipping, spreading, and sprinkling. Dessert boards similarly provide an opportunity to sample items like cookies, profiteroles, tarts, cake bombs, and signature cakes.

Decorated sugar cookies, sandwich cookies, and brownies provide for standard delights, while breakfast treats like apple strudel, poppyseed bread, and crumb cake offer perfect complements to morning tea or coffee. Then, there are pies (apple, cherry, key lime, and pecan, for starters) and tarts (chocolate, lemon, and cranberry.) The daily hours may be limited to mornings, but this is the kind of place that demands repeat visits for a representative sampling.

D&D Frozen Cakes
2626 Dewey Ave.
Friday, 2pm to 7pm; Saturday, 1pm to 5pm
This “daddy-daughter” -owned business started so that Freddy and Rose Perry could spend more time together. In doing so, they’ve also provided a way for more people to gather and linger over artful frozen cakes made from smooth, creamy premium ice cream. Cake flavors to order are limited to four, but what a rich four they are! Big brownie features vanilla and chocolate with a brownie top and bottom. Cookie dough and cookie and cream are each loaded with drizzle and chunks of their dominant cookie types.

And the strawberry dream cake? It’s a fruity overload with strawberry ice cream, syrup, and crumble all paired with fresh strawberries—a fitting way to celebrate the start to summer and strawberry picking season. 


International Bakery
5106 S. 24th St.
Monday—Sunday, 7am to 9pm
The moment you cross the threshold into this neighborhood bakery, you’re greeted with the aroma of freshly baked, straight-out-of-oven pastries and breads. Grab a tray and pair of tongs to serve yourself as your make your way to to the register, cafeteria style. (Keeping your tray reasonably piled is a challenge.) Prices start around 55 cents for single items, so the surprise at the register is usually how little so much costs.

Variety is the name of the game with everything from cakes, cookies, and pastries to doughnuts, stuffed breads, and croissants, and of course, Mexican baked specialties. Don’t miss the pay de queso (cheesecake) and marranitos (soft gingerbread pig-shaped cookies). Unexpected sweet treats also include jalapeño and cream cheese rolls. This is a South O staple for a very deserved reason.

Tipico Helado
5210 S. 21st St.
Monday, 1pm to 10pm;
Tuesday—Sunday, 11am to 10pm 
This family-owned small business offers a variety of Mexican ice cream and sorbets in flavors that delight and refresh. The mangonadas, made with fresh mangos, are a perennial favorite and perfection on a steamy summer day, as is the cucumber ice cream—not sweet, but hydrating.  Fruit cups comprised of mango, melon, and watermelon are spiced with tajin and chamoy. The paletas are also a perennially popular option. These Mexican popsicles are made from fresh fruits such as strawberry and mango or rich ingredients like pistachio and chocolate.

If you’re on the thirsty side, sample an agua fresca, or refreshing fruit beverage made from water, fruit, lime juice, and sweetener like sugar or agave. Other favorites include the piñon (pine nut) ice cream and the fresas con crema (strawberries and cream).


Grand Patisserie
14451 W. Center Rd.
Monday—Saturday, 10am to 7pm; Sunday, 10am to 4pm
Chocolate mousse and pistachio raspberry cake. Banana hazelnut mousse and almond pear tarts. And of course macarons upon macarons upon macarons—all in vibrant primary colors and a variety of flavors. The French approach to pastries doesn’t just come from the business name; it’s evident in every flaky pastry and cakey crumb on display in this bakery’s glass cases. The swan choux, golden cream puffs filled with sweet cream, or galettes des rois, (“cakes of kings”), made from delicate puff pastry filled with frangipane almond cream, are just two examples of traditional French pâtisserie regularly on offer.

For those who want something a little less grand, try the pains au chocolat, or chocolate croissants, the plain croissants, or the straightforward fruit tarts. Simple and uncomplicated, these items have a devout following, including among Omaha’s transplanted French community. 

The Cordial Cherry
16939 Wright Plaza/The Shops of Legacy
Tuesday—Friday, 12pm to 6pm; Saturday, 12pm to 4pm
As the name suggests, the business offers handmade cordial cherries and chocolate truffles created with breathtaking details that make these treats seem more like miniature works of art than something edible. Whether choosing a cherry dipped in chocolate for a special occasion like a birthday or Valentine’s Day or treating yourself simply “because,” a box from the Cordial Cherry is certain to delight.

Designer cherries, filled with made-from-scratch liquid syrup, are often holiday or season-themed, such as as the miniature baby rattles ideal for baby showers. Designer truffles, too, demonstrate the level of expertise that goes into every morsel of chocolate produced in the shop. The whimsical “Bee’s Knees” collection, for example, includes truffles crafted with rich, brown butter ganache that resemble bumble bees and hives.


Camille’s Bakery
8717 Countryside Plaza/Countryside Village
Monday, 9am to 2pm; Tuesday—Friday, 9am to 4pm; Saturday, 9am to 3pm
Coconut macaroons, Russian teacakes, and chocolate meringues—oh, my! Camille’s offers a delectable assortment of sweets that run the gamut from mousse cups and chocolate almond tortes to raspberry scones and lemon tartlets. A staple in Countryside Village, the business draws people from around the metro thanks to its eclectic range of baked goods.
The ever-changing selection of confections comes down to the bakery’s namesake, Camille, who draws inspiration from far and wide. Items might be as traditional as a basic pineapple upside down cake or cinnamon rolls—the kinds your grandmother used to make—or more elevated baked goods like German chocolate cakes and profiteroles. 

Lithuanian Bakery & Kafe
7427 Pacific St.
Monday—Friday, 9:30am to 5pm; Saturday, 9am to 4pm
Lithuanian Bakery & Deli
5217 S. 33rd Ave.
Monday—Friday, 8am to 6pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm
Founded in 1962 by Lithuanian immigrants Vytautas Mackevicius and his wife, Stefanija, the Lithuanian Bakery has been baking its specialty tortes for over 40 years. Known for only two items—the Napoleon and chocolate tortes—the bakery consistently delivers a heritage product that has become beloved among generations of Omahans.

Why only two? The Napoleon torte takes three painstaking days to meld eight wafer layers with butter creams made from vanilla and lemon extracts, while the middle one contains a whisper of apricot. The chocolate, based on the original Napoleon and introduced to satisfy chocolate lovers, is similarly demanding to create and boasts mixed nuts and chocolate sprinkles.


Graley’s Creamery & Confections
147 N. Washington St.
Monday—Thursday, 11:30am to 8pm; Friday—Saturday, 11:30am to 9pm; Sunday, 3pm to 8pm
Stopping into this old-fashioned ice cream parlor feels like a visit to the 1800s. From cones to floats, sundaes to banana splits, there’s a charm to enjoying one of the 24 flavors of home-churned super premium ice cream served by staff sporting kerchiefs, aprons, bowties, and spitfire caps. Flavors, blended from fresh, all-natural ingredients, are as traditional as butter brickle and butter pecan to more contemporary selections like piña colada and blood orange. 
The creamery also specializes in old-fashioned sodas like brown and black cows. Nothing brings back childhood memories quite like combining root beer or cola with ice cream and a shot or two of chocolate syrup.


Chocolat Abeille
555 Cornhusker Rd.
Monday—Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 9am to 4pm

French for “chocolate bee,” this retail establishment created a buzz from the moment it opened with its artisan-crafted chocolates. Hand-painted with colored cocoa to create chocolates that are miniature works of art, five of its 21 signature pieces are combined with wildflower honey from the establishment’s own bees. Fanciful shapes include items like horseshoes, coffee pots, mushrooms, and roses with nuanced flavors like rosemary almond, orange blossom, saffron, and hazelnut honey crunch. 
Seasonal assortments and chocolate art are often fanciful with offerings like chocolate shoes captivating cocoa connoisseurs. After all, who needs to cram a foot into a glass slipper when you can savor a stiletto made from chocolate?

Yuvi’s Bake Shop
Locations vary

The brainchild of Yuval Kolbar, or “Yuvi” for short, this regular pop-up features dessert tables laden with artisan global desserts and other assorted sundry pastries. The owner’s passion for travel inspires her offerings, which have a distinctive European flair. Crème brûlée puffs, Paris Brest, Basque cheesecake, and macarons all figure prominently on her thoughtfully curated menus.

While pop-up locations vary (Aksarben Village’s Inner Rail Food Court is a common one), giving Yuvi's a follow is well worth the watch. 

Hours of operation and menu listings are correct at time of publication but subject to change. Omaha Magazine encourages readers to visit websites and/or call in advance before visiting a business.

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Omaha Magazine. To subscribe, click here. 
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