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Cheap Eats: Fig. café at Luminarium

September 14, 2023

Originally published by the KMTV Staff
View original story here(opens in a new tab).

The Kiewit Luminarium has been exciting for downtown Omaha. The museum opened in April and so did a new restaurant inside. It’s called Fig. The period at the end of the name is part of the restaurant’s brand and a nod to scientific papers.

It’s an all-day cafe that specializes in fresh, made-from-scratch food. Fig. café offers breakfast, lunch — and even happy hour. The owners already have a popular restaurant in Dundee. That’s how they were selected to run the official restaurant along the RiverFront.

A visit to the Kiewit Luminarium could stimulate your brain and your appetite.

“Omaha has been hungry for this museum to open,” said Clare Watston Bartolomei.

That’s what the Fig. café owner is counting on.

“We are the only place to eat or drink on the Riverfront with great views of the river and the new parks,” she said with a smile. “We count ourselves very lucky.”

The name is a play on the museum and science.

“When you read a scientific paper and you see Fig. 1 – like Figure 1. Figure 2 when they’re showing your graphs or pictures,” she explained. “So, that’s why it’s a Fig. with a period.”

She and her partners also own Lola’s Cafe, but they say Fig. has its own identity.

“We like to say we’re related to Lola’s,” she smiled.

This menu is designed for people who are discovering the newly opened parks and museum.

“We want to be approachable for whoever walks in, whether you just want a pastry and coffee and sit here, the ladies who lunch whoever that may be — come have a glass of wine,” shared General Manager Collin Dorwart.

“We’re healthy. We’re clean eating. You know we have food for everybody when you look at the menu,” he added.

You can get everything from a juicy burger to sweet & spicy salmon and plenty of pastries.

“They love the citrus cake and the banana bread, the Lola’s chocolate chip cookies and the bakery developed a rye brownie for us to help feed the kids,” she chuckled.

Serese: What’s your favorite item on the menu?
Clare: I love the Hummus Bowl.

Sous Chef Natalie Rutten says that bowl is a Fig. favorite.

“We have our in-house roasted sweet potatoes, we have pickled beets that we pickle in-house, quinoa, cabbage that we thinly slice here and toss in our lemon vinegarette that we make, and we have our shredded chicken and then our hummus,” Natalie revealed.

“It’s one of the best hummuses I’ve ever had,” she added.

It also comes with sliced baguettes from Lola’s bakery. All of our bread comes from Lola’s bakery.

Serese: You can’t beat Lola’s bread.
Natalie: No, you cannot. Lola’s is where it’s at.

Their burger is just as popular.