Olsen Bake Shop

Bakery
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
Michael Stern | August 04, 2019
Save

You can get a cup of coffee at Olsen Bakery, but only in a to-go cup. Everything made here is sold to go. There is no place to sit. Furthermore, don’t plan on eating in the car if you park out front. Signs warn that street parking is limited to 10 minutes. The point is to make it easy for customers to stop by and pick up the pastries they need, then be on their way.

All those caveats aside, if you are in Omaha and like fine, Old World (and new world) baked goods, Olsen Bakery is an essential stop. It’s a delightful little place, staffed by ladies who know their kolaches and strudels and donuts, located not too far from downtown but well away from the hurly burly of the Old Market.

“We’re the late bakery,” one of the gals told a very disappointed customer who had come for cherry strudel shortly after 8am, only to be told that it had been baked but was still too hot to cut.

“Is it worth coming back for?” I asked the dejected customer.

“Oh, God, yes!” he declared.

So I came back midday. The sad man was so right. This is great strudel: weighty and yet flaky-fragile, filled with fruit that is only sweet enough to harmonize with its essential tartness and topped with sugary frosting that makese it into one just-right package. A poppy seed kolache, made with the tenderest dough, is only barely sweet, the oily nuttiness of its poppy seed center delivering taste that verges on savory. Magnificent!

Donuts, on the other hand, are all-American, both cake and yeast-raised, available in all the usual flavors with all the usual toppings. I don’t know if it’s just that I am so smitten with this place and its more exotic fare, but I do believe that the chocolate frosting on cake donuts is better than frostings found on national-chain donuts, delivering really good chocolate flavor — not fancy chocolate flavor, mind you; but donut-right chocolate flavor. I’ll say the same about Olsen’s white frosting. It’s a cut above any ordinary donut frosting.

I can’t imagine anything this bakery makes is less than excellent.

What to Eat
Olsen Bake Shop, Cherry Strudel
Cherry Strudel
Must-Try
Sweet, fruity, crisp-crusted cherry strudel
Olsen Bake Shop, Kolache
Kolache
Must-Try
Tender-dough kolache hugs potent poppy seed filling.
Olsen Bake Shop, Donuts
Donuts
Must-Try
Cake donuts and yeast donuts are equally excellent.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Dessert
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Saddle Creek Breakfast Club

    Omaha, Nebraska

    Stylish interpretations of traditional cafe fare made with seasonal & local ingredients make SCBC a coveted destination among food-savvy Omahans.

  • Lithuanian Bakery

    Omaha, Nebraska

    Omaha’s Lithuanian Bakery is famous for a spectacular Napoleon torte; it’s also a source of kolaches, cookies, breads, and cakes.

  • 11-Worth Cafe

    Omaha, Nebraska

    11-Worth is a spacious vintage Omaha coffee shop known for especially giant breakfasts and hot sandwiches — all with plenty of gravy.

  • Amateur Coffee

    Omaha, Nebraska

    An Omaha coffee house with masterful espresso and drip brews, Amateur Coffee is strictly vegan, including gluten-free waffles and oat milk for coffee.

  • Wheatfields

    Omaha, Nebraska

    A big, efficient bakery and three-meal-a-day restaurant, Wheatfields has a broad menu with something for everyone. We like the savory meat loaf sundae.

  • Harold’s Koffee House

    Omaha, Nebraska

    Harold’s is a bright, happy, mid-20th century urban coffee shop with great pies, donuts, and hot breakfast as well as heartland square meals for lunch.