Pizza Today - October 2019 - 51

2019

Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners
in the Peidmont region where he worked
at a Michelin-rated restaurant in Tuscany. That experience laid the foundation
for Strawhecker's approach to food. He
went on to work with world-renowned
chefs in Chicago and Philadelphia before
returning to his hometown of Omaha to
open Dante in 2009.
FAST FORWARD, IT'S 2019 AND PIZZA
TODAY HAS STEPPED BACK INTO DANTE
TO REVISIT THE RESTAURANT AS THE 2019
INDEPENDENT PIZZERIA OF THE YEAR.

Neapolitan pizza is now a mainstay
in Omaha and Dante has a decade of
success under its belt. The restaurant
continues to draw regional and national
exposure. But Strawhecker has never
been one to rest on his laurels. Dante has
constantly evolved. "When we opened,
it was really just focused on Neapolitan
pizza with a small Italian wine list," he
says. "When we opened, we had TVs and
a bocce court. I didn't want to focus on
the fine dining aspect. I didn't want to do
pasta. I didn't want to do all these things.
"Then I wanted to evolve," he says. "I
started getting bored, frankly, and I wanted to do more things. We started making
pasta in house. We started bringing in
more proteins. We evolved the menu in
a big way over the years. We added more
cocktails. We really, really started focusing on Italian wines. We removed TVs.
We removed the bocce court. We added
catering early on with our mobile oven.
We really doubled down on locality and
hyper-seasonality and that is deep, deep
in our core and in our roots now."
Strawhecker has expanded his resume
to include the newly-opened sister
restaurant Forno, which features its own
menu of Neapolitan pizzas, pastas, mains
and Italian wines in the Blackstone
District of Omaha.

Every aspect of Strawhecker's businesses center on ingredient-driven dishes
and his food philosophy behind them.
"My philosophy is to try to stay within
the seasons or hyper-seasonality as much
as possible while staying local," he says.
"You will never see a fresh tomato at this
restaurant in January. You're only going
to find fresh tomatoes in our restaurants when they are happening locally.
And that goes for a lot of our fruits and
vegetables."
Strawhecker sources produce and
proteins from more than 25 farmers in
the Midwest and sustainably caught
domestic seafood partners. Finding local
products has become less cumbersome
than in the beginning when he worked
directly with several dozens of area
growers. Today, Dante still coordinates
with local farmers like Carl, an arugula
producer who dropped by and shared his
passion for produce during Pizza Today's
visit. Strawhecker's restaurants also use
one source for many of its ingredients,
Lone Tree Foods. "It's a centralized
aggregate, if you will," he says. "Lone
Tree represents, does the sales and billing,
distribution for about 40 different farms
within about 100 miles." Strawhecker
simply views lists of available in-season
items early in the week and products are
delivered in one shipment on Thursdays.
Justin Gilmore, who has risen through
the ranks of Dante to become director of
operations for both restaurants, says even
with the restaurants' food focus, its food
costs stay in line. Both restaurants remain
steady in the mid-20 percent range.
NEAPOLITAN-STYLE PIZZA IS A PERFECT
VESSEL TO PRESENT LOCAL, HYPER-SEASONAL
INGREDIENTS. "I can't imagine doing any

other pizza other than Neapolitan," he
says. "Cooking with wood is ingrained in
my soul. It's really all I want to work with.

O B E R 2 0 1 9 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / 5 1
S EO
PC
T ETM


http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - October 2019

Pizza Today - October 2019
Commentary
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Meet The Makers
Conversation
Man On The Street
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead To Know
Destinations
Background Music
Topping Trends
Dollops
Waste Management
Promoting Gift Cards
Holding Events
Independent Pizzeria Of The Year: Dante, Omaha, Ne
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - October 2019 - CT1
Pizza Today - October 2019 - CT2
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Pizza Today - October 2019
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Cover2
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Commentary
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 4
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 5
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 6
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 7
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Contributors
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 9
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 11
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Meet The Makers
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 13
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Conversation
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 15
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Man On The Street
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 17
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 19
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Knead To Know
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 21
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 22
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 23
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Destinations
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 25
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Background Music
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 27
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 28
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 29
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Topping Trends
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 31
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 32
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 33
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Dollops
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 35
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Waste Management
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 37
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 38
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 39
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Promoting Gift Cards
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 41
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 42
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 43
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Holding Events
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 45
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 46
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 47
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Independent Pizzeria Of The Year: Dante, Omaha, Ne
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 49
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 50
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 51
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 52
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 53
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 54
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 55
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 57
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 59
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 60
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 61
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 62
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 63
Pizza Today - October 2019 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 65
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 66
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 67
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 68
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 69
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 70
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 71
Pizza Today - October 2019 - 72
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Cover3
Pizza Today - October 2019 - Cover4
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