Memorable | One of the Best
Harold’s Koffee House | Omaha Roadfood At Its Best
Review by: Michael Stern
When Cliff Strutz (Roadfood’s “Buffetbuster”) learned I was going to Omaha, he highly recommended Harold’s Koffee House. He praised its “Great Roadfood atmosphere,” as well as its cinnamon rolls, donuts, and pies. Bingo! As usual, a tip from Cliff led me to a good-eats gem — Omaha Roadfood at its best.
A big, friendly booth-and-counter cafe, Harold’s has built its reputation among Omahans since 1958. It maintains the polite, efficient demeanor of a vintage urban coffee shop. Long time regulars fill the big, airy space with chatter and good cheer. They and a hospitable staff make first-time visitors feel right at home.
Let’s start with a cinnamon roll. This big heartland beauty demands knife and fork and mighty appetite. Cake donuts are unmistakably house-made: irregularly shaped, relatively small, so easy to eat by twos and threes with a bottomless cup of coffee. (Donut sundaes add ice cream and chocolate syrup.) One day’s breakfast special is listed on the blackboard as a Whoa-Nut. What a brilliant idea: donut batter dotted with bits of ham poured into a waffle iron. Please pass the syrup!
Like so many coffee shops, Harold’s is known, rightfully, as a breakfast place. But lunch is no slouch. Consider, for example, the hot beef sandwich: a bountiful pile-up of tender beef, stout mashed potatoes, and plenty of gravy atop white bread that turns to savory mush underneath the pile of beefy goodness. This is Omaha Roadfood at its best.
Whatever you eat, side it with Harold’s potato crisps, which are curls of crisp-fried skin. A sliver of potato interior freights a few of them. But most bites are nothing but salty, spuddy crispness.
I’ve sampled only one pie, and it is a dazzler: coconut meringue. Late morning, my tall slice was still slightly warm, indescribably fragile, crowned with a meringue so light that it wanted to float up into the air.
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