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Issue #7 Winter 10-11  

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Winter News 2010-11
issue #7

Congratulations to Carol Coy for winning our quarterly drawing for a $100 gift certificate! Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, we'll do it again in 3 months.

The Art of Sharing

At least once a week we get an email with a request for a recipe for a dish that a guest absolutely loved when they were here.  Most of the time, we are happy to share our recipes.  Actually, there’s only one recipe that no one will ever get, the one for our pizza crust!
Our soups are creative gems produced by our chefs.  There’s a couple that are so popular, we keep the recipes in a general file so we can print and send them home with our guests on the spot!  Some aren’t written down until someone requests the recipe.   But it doesn’t take long for the person that came up with it to proudly produce the recipe, in layman’s terms, for home cooks to enjoy.
Sharing a recipe is like earning a badge of honor, it is such a pleasant sight to see the expression on a line cook or sous chefs’ face when I go to them with a request for a recipe.  The pride they feel when they know someone enjoyed their creation so much as to want to reproduce it at home is indescribable.  I know it makes the job they do much easier and encourages our kitchen staff to keep on doing what they love, creating wonderful masterpieces for people to enjoy and to keep them coming back for more. 

Tomato Bisque
 Makes 1 Gallon

Olive Oil                                                      Enough to cover
Whole Tomatoes                                       5 each of any color   
Shallots                                                       4 each
Garlic                                                          1 bulb
Red bell Pepper                                         1 each
Jalapeño                                                     1 each
Vegetable Stock/Chicken Stock          2 cups
Cream                                                         2 cups
Vitamin D milk                                       3 cups
Dill                                                              3 tablespoons
Basil                                                            4 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper                                              to taste

-Take all the tops off the tomatoes and all the seeds out of the peppers.
-In a mixing bowl put the garlic, shallots, tomatoes, jalapeño and red peppers and toss with just enough olive oil to cover.
-Place the vegetables on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 45 min at 275 degrees
-While you’re waiting for the vegetables chop your herbs into very small pieces.
-Once the vegetables come out of the oven let them cool and then pull the skins off of the tomatoes, jalapeño and red peppers. 
-Add all vegetables, milk, cream, and stock into the pan and bring to a boil.  Use a stick    mixer and puree until the soup is completely smooth.  At this point you can add your fresh herbs and season to taste.


More Than Just a Salad
Next time you dine with us here at Vivace, try our signature Field Salad.  This is offered as a choice before your entrée or have it as a meal. 
I know you think “a salad is a salad”.  Oh no, not here!
This salad is a bed of mixed field greens, crisp & fresh, succulent, sweet sliced strawberries, all topped off with candied walnuts.  Just writing about it makes my mouth water.  But I’m not finished… to the side of this is cool white pear balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle on top. 
Can it get any better? Yes it can!  Follow your server’s suggestion and have gorgonzola cheese crumbles added to this sensational salad.  “BAM” as Emeril would say.  Even in the cold blues of February this salad makes you feel like you just ate a little bit of sunshine.  Try it, you’ll be asking for more!


I remember when…..OMG I’m grown up! I’m now one of those relatives that start off a story with “I remember when!”
Well, nonetheless, I remember when going out to eat you were asked if you preferred to be seated in the “smoking or non” section.  Now I’m wondering of it should be “cell phone or non-cell phone” section!
Recently I had the pleasure to witness a dining experience which has changed me in many ways.  Seated at a round table were two parents and their 4 lovely children, just being served dinner.  Before the mother could take her first bite, she looked around the table and all 4 children either were tweeting, texting, face booking, my spacing or just searching the web.  One pair of hands was under the table frantically tapping ever so small keys on their phone.  She spoke quickly with that motherly tone we all are aware of; “can we just have a nice family time dinner with no electronics?”
How profoundly this struck me.  I remember when going out to dinner with my family or a friend was a special time.  We actually had conversations.  We looked each other in the eye when speaking, we sat up in straight in our chair and we placed our napkin in our lap.  We listened attentively to our server while she explained the soups and specials of the night.  We spoke of world events, reminisced of family vacations, planned new ones and social gatherings. We chewed slowly and enjoyed each course. 
Perhaps we should have cell phone and non-cell phone sections. Happy dining!  Maybe the day will come when checking coats will include checking electronics, too!
I remember when it was a slower time, when you had to open an encyclopedia to get the answers.  Our society has come to expect everything so fast and we only communicate with block letters. 
So, next time you’re ready to go out with friends or family and you’re going over that mental check list, lights off, oven off, got the keys, wallet, money, oh yeah, hit the “off” button on the cell phone.
“That you may hear the whisper of falling snow, take time to be silent”.  Enjoy the moment and have a conversation.  You remember……………Phillip 

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Fall News 2010 Issue #6

to Karla Uhlir for winning the Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it really helps.  Thank you for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.

Farewell to a Friend

You never really know how much you need something till it's gone. Those words have never rung more true than in the past few weeks around here. The untimely passing of our dear friend, Jay Bock, has hit us hard. Jay was the kind of guy that spread fun where ever he went. Whether we were crawling around on the ladies room floor replacing a sink or trying to make sense of numbers on the computer, I could always count on there being a lot of laughs! Jay was our "fix it" guy. Anytime we had a repair needed or something needed to be built, Jay was our man!
So how do you say farewell to a longtime friend? I don't think you really do. You just try to pick up where he left off: using the lessons you didn't realize you were learning. I'm not afraid to grab the drill, hammer or screwdriver. I just smile when I think of my friend as I open my tool box, knowing he's watching me, somehow giving me the advice and encouragement I need to get the job done-right the first time (with the right tools for the job)! Jay gave me my first cordless drill and I still use it today! I miss Jay every day, but I know he's in a much better place, made even better by his presence, and handy man skills.


Chef's Perspective:
Competitions & Fundraising Events

Vivace & M's Pub recently participated in a fundraising event called "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen". The name says it all. There were eleven executive chefs as well as their sous chefs running around in a hot & unfamiliar kitchen trying to put out six courses to a table of ten guests that we only met moments before the dinner starts. I thought it would be interesting for people to know what goes on behind the scenes of an event like this.
Fundraisers and especially culinary competition events are one of the things chefs look forward to the most throughout the year. The reason; we are given absolute freedom to prepare anything we wish. In everyday business, we have to hold back our creativity (some) so that we don't scare people away with our grilled ostrich, roasted python or braised veal cheeks. While we are serving all of these culinary goodies to our tables or judges we are all scurrying around to each others' work areas to taste and critique our creations.
All chefs have weird hours and tight schedules, these events also give us a chance to rub elbows and talk about food, business trends and verify any rumors we have heard through the grape vine about anything restaurant related. All while doing something good for the community. Omaha may be a growing city but the chef community remains a tight and compact group of professionals. Clean-up for events is usually done with a cocktail in hand and chatter amongst one another about what we will do next time.

Fall Wine Dinner October 2010

We haven't had a wine dinner in quite some time and we decided it was time to get back at it. With the help of our friends at Johnson Brothers and Banville & Jones Wine Merchants, our guests were treated to a great evening of wine and the creative handiwork of our chef, Bobby. Yummy appetizers featuring duck & black truffles started us on our way with Terlan Pinot Grigio. A really nice combination "salad pizza" with figs, goat cheese, prosciutto and watercress kept us delighted, paired with Paolo Scavino Dolcetto d'Alba. Veal Osso Buco was served as the main course, with "The wine of kings & the king of wines" Scavino Barolo, and, for the sake of comparison, Valdisanti, a bold, fruity cabernet was also served. All topped off by goat cheese - cheese cake with fig & apricot compote with a sparkling glass of Moscato d'Asti. Wow, what a fantastic meal! Our pastry chef Tina, surprised us with a beautiful chocolate truffle to end the evening. It was a fun evening, made even better by the addition of some new friends, attending their first Vivace wine dinner. Bobby suggested we have another one this fall ......I said let's wait until AFTER the holidays! So, we're looking at our spring wine dinner in March 2011. We hope you can join us ....Guaranteed to be a good time!

Teamwork - It's a Beautiful Thing!

It's amazing how much we rely on teamwork. The restaurant business depends on it greatly and it proved to be a way of survival for M's & Vivace earlier this summer. We arrived to the restaurants to find we had no power and it wouldn't return any time soon! Our chef Bobby and the day crew quickly jumped to action. A refrigerated truck soon arrived and we all got to work emptying the walk-ins and coolers to try to save what we could of our precious inventory. We worked like a fine tuned machine. Carefully, in the dark caverns of our basements, our team of owners, managers, cooks and dishwashers made the task easy work! With flashlights attached to our heads and strings of camping lights around our necks we formed a human conveyor belt. Speed racks were filled then unloaded in to Jay's truck, driven around the corner, and we unloaded everything on to the refer truck. It was an impressive legion of people, working together to make the best of a potentially ugly situation. With our product safely stowed in its' chilly confines for the night, we all sat down to enjoy a cold one, (ok, kinda cold one!) and discuss what we just accomplished. The next morning the power was back on and everyone quickly returned to undo what had been done the day before. Once again the spirit of team made me proud to be part of a group of such loyal and hard-working folks. We had our restaurants re-stocked and ready to open by dinner that night. None of it would have gone so smoothly except for the fact that we all know
"there's no I in team"!

light bulb guy

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Summer News 2010       Issue #5


to Cindy Arterburn of Papillion for winning the Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it really helps.  Thank you for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.


Dough-lerious Alchemy
   I have always had a love affair with dough. When my doctor suggested that I quit eating wheat about a decade ago, I pondered laboriously about a life without dough. No pizza…no sourdough bread…. no doughnuts…
   No matter how much better I felt, I still missed working with that magic concoction of flour, water, salt and yeast. These days, my doctor and I have a gentleman’s agreement. I can eat wheat whenever I choose, so long as I so in moderation ( I really HATE that word!!).So when the opportunity presents itself, and the quality is VERY high, I indulge. Simple as that. Moderately.
   In the past year I have worked extensively with our chef Bobby and pastry chef Katie to upgrade some areas of our service ~ all related to dough. At M’s the hard rolls were great when they first came out of the oven, but lost their quality as the day wore on. At Vivace, it was all about the pizza, as documented in a past edition of this newsletter.
   Through much research with suppliers, we found flour that was much better suited to our needs and replaced the convection oven with a beautiful stone bottomed deck oven that insures the quality of both the crust and the crumb of the M’s rolls. An upgraded (to 725 degrees) pizza oven conversion was installed at Vivace to get the required BTU’s to insure a crispy outside but tender and chewy interior that are hallmarks of our style of pizza.
   But the real work was in simply allowing Mother Nature to do her thing. We applied some Old World techniques of mixing and fermenting the dough with fabulous results. The M’s rolls use and old French method  called Pate fermentee whereby a small piece of today’s dough is held back and added to tomorrow’s batch to fortify it with more acid, giving it better shelf life naturally, and a beautiful aroma and  flavor. You will notice a difference in the almost "creamy" interior, and a light, crunchy crust. The pizza dough was subjected to an "Autolyse" where the water and flour are allowed to meld for around twenty minutes before the addition of the yeast and salt, and before any kneading takes place. We have subsequently adapted this same technique with the M’s rolls, finding that it makes the dough easier to work with.
   The pizza dough is also started with a "pooloish" which is an ongoing mixture of flour and water that is allowed to sit out for short period during the day to "collect" wild yeast from the area. It is then incorporated into the dough that is then allowed to cold ferment for 24 to 48 hours. That is what gives our crusts their unique flavor.
   This brings me to my latest dough obsession …errrrrr. Passion ~ DOUGHNUTS! The Italians love their doughnuts and the style we co-opted are called bombolini. Warm, light and fluffy, they are coated in cinnamon sugar and stuffed with sweet, gooey fillings, then served with a coffee infused dipping sauce…OUCH! They should be on the dessert menu at Vivace for the better part of the summer, along with some great new gelato creations. So ask your server for details and relax while you savor the fruits of our passion for all things dough….

Ms Rolls


Remember When...
   One of the things that I have learned over the years is that people mark watershed moments in their lives with food.  They eat over celebrations, disappointments, tragedies, and everything in-between.  Seeing all the proms and graduations over the last few weeks has reminded me of this fact.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve spoken with people who had their prom dinner here at Vivace and are celebrating a wedding anniversary.  Same goes with people who have gotten engaged at the restaurant( most proposals are successful but there was one unfortunate one not long ago) and are celebrating 5 or 10 year anniversaries.  These moments bring a sense of joy into the restaurant and into the heart of even the most cynical person. With all the hustle and bustle of the restaurant it is nice to see these events happen.
   We also have employees that graduate almost every year from college and it is wonderful to see them move on to different periods in their lives.  Many of them pop in from time to time and let us know how things are going in their lives and, on occasion, come back to work here part time.
   Working for a local restaurant affords the opportunity to develop relationships with customers and employees that truly seem to be rare these days.  It hearkens back to the time when a restaurant was more than just a place that serves food, it is a family of both employees and guests to which we share revered memories of our pasts and look forward to our futures.


Kids on Patio

Rainy Day = Patio Fun Day
Ever had one of those days that the weather just refused to cooperate?  Well, okay, we’ve all had our share of them this past winter!  I’m talking about the kind of day when you planned to go to the zoo, head to the pond to drop in a line and while away a few hours, or just planned a cook out with the neighbors.  Then out of nowhere, the rains came!  We all know there’s nothing we can do but make the best of a damp situation!  This was the case on a drizzly Friday morning when a group of students from Indian hills Elementary found themselves seeking refuge from the rains.  The planned field trip didn’t include a stop at Vivace, originally, but the rain forced them to relocate from the park where they originally intended to eat their sack lunches.  These kids are certainly lucky to have such a smart group of teachers and escorts leading them!  Our patio turned out to be the perfect spot, they got to eat outside, keep dry and enjoy the perks of one of the finest patios in the Old Market!

Baby at Table

In A Family Way
   High Chairs.  Booster Seats.  Children’s’ Menus.  Standard terms in so-called ‘family style’ and/or chain restaurants around Omaha in the mid 1990s, these concepts were as foreign to the staff of Vivace as a buttery California Chardonnay or Lasagna.
   My, how times have changed!  Over the last decade and a half, there has been a not-so-subtle shift in the look of our typical diner.  With seemingly little fuss, we happily cater to all guests; the newly engaged, the business traveler, prom goers, and definitely to the family!
   I can’t help but notice that these changes have coincided with a change in the family dynamic of many in our work family as well.  When I was hired in 1995, very few employees were parents, and I can recall working with only one expectant mother.  Lately, from the dining room through the kitchen and to the owners’ offices, photos of brand new baby faces are popping up all the time!
   I now tease Ann and Ron that we should start a co-op day care for all the soon-to-be, new, and veteran moms and dads.  As the mother of a five year old and another on the way, it would sure help me every day!
Some Helpful Hints…

  1. Any human being, no matter how small, counts as a place at the table (6 grown-ups and an infant is, in fact, a party of 7).
  2. If your child is a picky eater, you are welcome to bring snacks you KNOW they will eat.  Also, let your server know; we’d love to help you find something the little one will eat (we’ll even leave all the green things off their plates!)
  3. Yes, we can make chocolate milk, but unfortunately not strawberry milk!
  4. We DO have a diaper changing station in the ladies room.
  5. Sometimes our crayon selection isn’t the best. Bringing your own ensures that your Picasso has the right color to complete her masterpiece!
  6. ….and last but definitely not least:  We are here to make your dining experience as enjoyable as possible.  Let us know what we can do to make that happen!



Vivace Enrolment Perk, receive an entree no charge when you buy one of equal or lesser value.  Use promo code 100038

PinPoint Card


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Spring News 2010              Issue # 4


to Mark Markham of Atlantic, IA for winning the Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it really helps.  Thank you for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.

Vivace's New Lights

by Ron

   Gratitude is something we cherish around here. And gratitude is what Ann and I feel for all of you, our loyal customers. We had a another successful year in spite of the stumbling economy, and our thanks go out to all of you for continuing to support us, as well as our staff who continue to serve with energy and joy!
   As a token of our gratitude, you can look for some information soon regarding a customer loyalty program we are about to launch. Go to for more information, or ask your server the next time you are in to check out how you can generate rewards simply by patronizing your two (we hope!!) favorite restaurants Vivace and M’s Pub.
    Also , new lighting adorns the West wall of Vivace in what we hope will be just the beginning of some much needed dining room updates that we’ll unveil soon…can you believe it has already been 17 years?? Until then, think spring, and look for the new seasonal updates on our menus, some delightful delectable sweet treats, and the new Pin Point loyalty program to thank you for your continued support. It never is taken for granted!! 


 By Chef Bobby
   What do you do for a living?  It’s all to common when I respond to this question with, "Well, I’m the Executive Chef of M’s Pub and Vivace downtown.", the question that immediately follows is.  How do you work at both?
   To answer that question I always start with the owners Ron Samuelson and Ann Mellen. In order to properly and successfully manage two restaurants like these it is  crucial to have two passionate owners that believe in what they are doing and give me the freedom to learn, grow and make mistakes.  I don’t believe enough can be said for their active involvement in day to day operations.  Everyone knows that they care and are there to help keep everyone on track to accomplish their vision.  In my opinion, not having a sturdy foundation like this is the demise of numerous businesses, especially restaurants.
   Another important component is having first hand knowledge of both restaurants from the front lines of execution to the management of them. Restaurants use their history daily to implement proper staffing, food trends, patron traffic and problem solving.  What amazes me the most is that even though Vivace has been around for 16 years, most people don’t know that Ann Mellen and Ron Samuelson own both M’s and Vivace.  I started as a line cook at M’s about 8 years ago becoming the Sous Chef shortly thereafter.  From there I moved to Sous Chef at Vivace.  I took over as head chef at Vivace 5 years ago and 3 years ago this May I became responsible for both restaurants.
   When I first started in this business at 16 I fell in love with food and cooking first and foremost.  Those passions lead me to culinary school and a short string of great jobs over the last 12 years.  I’ve been in management since 17 and to put it lightly I was not nice.  I thought the world of a restaurant revolved around me, and whoever crossed my path needed to get with the program.  This brings up what I would say is the most important lesson I’ve learned with regards to running these two restaurants now; The well being of our staff is what makes a great team.  I have learned the importance of listening to my staff and working with them to solve problems.  This gives them a sense of ownership in what they do, and lets them know they are appreciated.  My kitchen staffs are both the most reliable, trustworthy and professional people I have ever worked with.  Their ability to take direction and communicate clearly, in my opinion, is why the environment I work in is more like a family than a business.

Vivace Patio

Patio Time
By Scott

                A lot of restaurants claim to have the best patio in Omaha but we are fortunate to have a patio in one of the most interesting spots in Omaha. When was the last time you saw a Shetland pony walking down the street?  How about a man with a parrot on his shoulder or even an old guy playing a tuba?  For us at Vivace it was just last year and it could have been you as well if you had been sitting on our patio.
                As major-leaguers anticipate Opening Day we dust off the tablecloths, fill the salts and peppers and eagerly await the opening of our patio, a sure sign that the Old Market is once more awake and bustling with the arrival of warm evenings.  
Our patio is a great place to sit and whittle the hours away, enjoying our house-made Sangria or sharing an Affogato, all the while watching the diversity that the Old Market has to offer.  So if you’re here don’t be surprised by anything you might see, after all it is the Old Market and just about anything goes.

Wine Award

Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Restaurant Awards
Vivace received the
2009 Award of Distinction
Five Omaha restaurants received awards for 2009 including M’s Pub!
Check out the February 2010 issue

Party Room

The Perfect Party Room
By Becca

                Sixteen years ago when Ann & Ron made the decision to open Vivace, they knew they had a real gem hidden within the confines of the restaurant.  Our party room is one of the most elegant settings in the market!  Tucked behind the boisterous activity of the dining room, our party room is the quintessential setting for business luncheons, family celebrations, or just a very romantic dinner for 2. 

                The process of booking the party room is very simple, just give us a call and we’ll get you all set up.  From everything to designing the menu from your specifications, arranging for a special dessert from our Pastry Chef, or getting flowers delivered.  We can handle it all.  There are a few details we need from you, the date, the time and the number of guests you intend to have (the room will hold up to 32 for a sit down dinner).  All you have to do now is relax and enjoy the occasion. (You don’t even need to clean your house for this one!) Since we don’t charge a rental fee for the room, it makes for a very economical choice when deciding where to have that celebration! 

We’ve hosted many an important person in our party room.  So, whether you have a group of celebrities, or people that think they are celebrities, treat them to a special evening in our party room.  They’ll feel like they are celebrities after an evening with us! 

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Winter News 2009              Issue # 3


to Mary Sweet of Lincoln for winning the Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it really helps.  Thank you for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.


Got "Chew?"
Apissa SchollsApizza Scholls Pizza
"Transcendent Pies."  That is our stated goal.
   The internet is full of blogs and sites dedicated to the fine art of pizza making and the makers them selves, and on those sites you’ll find as many opinions as there are pizzerias.  So after months of research on line and in the bakery I had a chance to visit one of the glorified makers of the aforementioned "Transcendent Pies."
   Many people make pilgrimages out of their visits to Patsy’s in Brooklyn, Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix or Varasano’s in Atlanta.  My visit was to Apizza Scholls in Portland last month on a family vacation.
   It was as small as advertised but on a rainy Thursday we only had a fifteen minute wait, and happy it was only that after reading about some nights enduring one or more hours for a table.  The server was helpful, the appetizers were passable, but we came for the PIE!
   I’m here to report it was good.  Very good!  A little thinner than ours, the toppings were more "traditional" – I.E. uncooked vegetables, generic meats and there was less "Chew" in the crust.  Great sauce and cheese balance, and the "Char" was not over done, as so many complain of at some other pizzerias I mentioned.
   How does our pizza stack up?  Are they indeed "Transcendent?"  We’ll leave it up to you to determine how close we’re coming to achieving that caliber of pizza at Vivace.  But I can say that for the style of pie we are trying to emulate, I have not yet had better.  But I’m still looking...

Short Rib Ravioli
Short Rib Ravioli
There are a lot of options to consider when coming up with menu items.  What’s the weather like?  How can we stay innovative and still be cost effective?  How do we get the customer to want a certain item again and again?  All of those questions were answered when we started making our braised short rib ravioli.
   With the purchase of our new pasta machine it has opened a lot of doors for us with flavoring pasta and filling it with different ingredients.  We were creating a menu for a special event one day and we had just had short ribs a few nights before at another restaurant.  We thought we would give them a try.  When you prepare them right there is just no beating the flavor.
   So we roasted them at 200 degrees with mushrooms, garlic, fresh thyme, carrots, celery and onions for five hours.  The meat fell off the bone and then we pureed it with all the vegetables and put it into fresh spinach pasta.  When we prepared them we just sautéed them with some seasonal mushroom demi glaze that we had and stuck them on our special menu to see what the response would be.
   Apparently we filled a need because we can barely keep up with them now that they are on the menu.

Chef Bobby


Water, so taken for granted!
Water Main Old Market
Recently we had to call everyone on the reservation list Saturday afternoon.   "We may not be able to serve you tonight, we have no water."  Someone bumped the pipe next to the curb that was serving as the Old Market's temporary water main.  Thousands of gallons of water were flooding the streets.  We had no way of knowing when we would get back on line.  Luckily we were with out water for only a couple of hours.
   The worst was later that night, Vivace’s basement was flooded.  Everyone worked feverishly to clean up the water.  Even so, the damage was done.  We enlisted professional help to remove the office carpet, shelving, platforms, sanitize, the works.
   We are not the only ones to get water in our basement; there are many horror stories up and down Howard Street.  No one knows if the incidents are related.  I’m sure the insurance companies will work all that out.
   On the bright side it has helped to motivate everyone to spruce up the place.  The shelves are reorganized; walls are painted and soon new carpet will be installed in the offices.  So all in all it turned out good, please just never let that happen again!



Celebrity Sleuth
Scott Tyler Florence
The restaurant business can be stressful at times.  During the rush we don’t have a lot of time to do anything but what is right in front of us.  In the down times we do a lot of cleaning and brushing up on our wine and food knowledge.  However, sometimes we do have time to play and one of our favorite games at Vivace is celebrity sleuth.
   The rules of the game are pretty simple, when someone notices a guest who looks like a famous person they will go to the rest of the staff and announce celebrity sleuth giving the table and position number.  It is then up to the staff to identify the celebrity that the person looks like.  Some of them can be pretty easy but some can require some thought especially when it is a character from a certain movie or T.V. show.
   Another factor is also age, there is nothing that will make you feel old like coming up with a great character from the Love Boat and have everyone stare at you in silence.
   So, if you notice staff looking in a particular direction on a given night, do not be alarmed, it is more than likely just a time honored Vivace tradition.



Holiday Wines
Vivace Wine Room
The holidays are just around the corner and it’s time to think about the wine for your upcoming parties. There’s plenty to consider, but it shouldn’t be the foreboding task people make it out to be!
   First things first……what do you like?  The rule of white meat - white wine or red meat - red wine doesn’t necessarily have to be followed!  A good rule to follow is to serve something you enjoy. If a fruitier Pinot Grigio, like the Mezzacorona Riserva, is your preference, enjoy it with your Grandmother’s roast goose recipe.
   If you prefer a glass of robust California cabernet with your turkey and stuffing, by all means, serve the B.R. Cohn Silver Label!  Any self respecting turkey would be proud to be sitting on the table alongside a bottle of velvety Brunello, reserved for the perfect occasion with special friends and family.
   Prosecco is an Italian bubbly with a lot to offer.  Its’ light effervescence, subtle fruit flavors and crisp finish make it a great accompaniment to cheeses, salads or desserts.  Add a splash of cranberry juice and you have a delicious aperitif!
   We’ve all had a lot on our plates this year and we need to take some time to enjoy the things that are important to us.  Grab a nice glass of wine, indulge in good food, surround yourself with good company and relax. We all have a lot to be thankful for!


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Fall News 2009              Issue # 2

to Ryan & Jennifer Green of Omaha for winning the Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it really helps.  Thank you for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.

New Menu Update
 Pepperoni Pizza  Welcome to the second edition of our M's Pub / Vivace Newsletter!  We have appreciated all of your input and hope you continue to let us know what you would like to see us cover in upcoming installments. 
     I thought I'd fill you in on the reception our newest Vivace menu has received and the changes we've made since the early July kick-off.
   Guest feed back has been especially positive regarding the new pizzas and the "Old Pasta Program." We've tinkered with the pizza toppings a bit. (Such as replacing the mozzarella / Romano cheese blend with fresh mozzarella on the Pepperoni Pizza to tame the saltiness) The Caponata Sauce has been modified acording to your feed back and is now a big hit. We found some wonderful stuffed pastas and we are going to change them every month because we want to try them all.
   We continue to hope that our Sunday Brunch pleases those of you who have tried it, and want to let you know that the newest brunch menu reflects your wishes for more "Lunch" & less "Breakfast" a work in progress, to be sure.
   As always, I would love to hear from you- call anytime, or visit the website and get to know your favorite staff member with our newly added Bio section.  Until November, Happy autumn.


On The Wine Front

Choosing a wine when going out to eat can be a daunting task.  With the vast number of wines to choose from picking one can easily cause a headache from frustration.  Do I want white or red, smooth and easy to drink or full bodied with lots of tannin?  This is where a knowledgeable bartender can come in handy.
   As a bartender I considered myself a tour guide of the offerings of our bar.  The most important question I asked was "What do you like to drink?"  From there I could pick out two or three options for people to try and almost always found something they liked.
   Another key attitude is to be open to new and different wines.  If you normally drink white wines, try a light red.  If you don't drink white wines try a full bodied one.  You might be surprised and discover you like styles of wine that you didn't think that you would.
   Wine is supposed to be fun.  When all else fails try one that has a cool name or an eye-catching label.  It's a crap-shoot but many times I have found a great wine doing just that.  Also know that you can easily find a crummy wine, but at least you tried and had fun while doing it.

V Wine Rm4



Vivace Back Tables 
 Omaha Originals
   Look for Vivace and some of our wait staff featured in the newest Omaha Originals commercial.  We were invited to submit an essay explaining what made Vivace Omaha's most "original" restaurant. Erin wrote the following and earned Vivace a spot in the "Omaha Original's" new commercial!


 Our neighborhood is truly a 'neighborhood'.  The Old Market, with its eclectic galleries and shops, brings people from all walks of life together in a city, a town, and a block that exists nowhere else.
   Vivace, in the heart of this neighborhood, is truly an Original.  Our patio dining and street front, plus floor-to-floor ceiling windows gives the best spot for people watching in the Old Market.  Once you come through our double doors, you realize you are in a restaurant like no other.  Our spacious, welcoming bar is the perfect spot to sample wines from our Wine Spectator award-winning list.
   The aromas you experience let you know you are in a contemporary Italian restaurant, but there is something more; something different.  It smells...Fresh.  From the foccacia bread and homemade desserts that might still be baking in our pastry kitchen to the daily-made pastas, award-winning soups, and the dry-aged hand cut beef, you know instantly that this fare is the most original and one of the best values in town!  And what a setting to enjoy it in; the heart of the world's largest 'small town'!


Omaha is talking about Vivace!

   Recently, publications have taken notice to the changes and improvements on our menu! The Encounter, an Old Market/Downtown magazine, recently published an article about our new Neapolitan-style pizza, "Passionate About Pizza ." 
   The Omaha World Hearld's  Nichole Aksamit did a lengthy review over the menu makeover last month. From the new tapas, pizzas and pick your own pasta and sauce, it seems that we have taken a huge leep into the right direction! Thanks for all your feedback and support.
Passionate About Pizza



Vivace in the Technology Age
   We have definitely entered a new age of technology recently.  Just about everyone has access to the World Wide Web; some of us are even connected via our phones!  Not to be left behind, we at Vivace are joining the cyber-club!
   Vivace now has a "Fan Page" on  If you are a "facebooker", become a Fan!  We regularly release information about upcoming events and special deals.  You can even make reservations and access our website on our Fan Page.
   Speaking of making online reservations, did you know that Vivace is one of the few restaurants in the area that uses Open  Making reservations couldn't be easier.  When you become an Open Table user (at no charge), you get an added bonus.  For every reservation made online at any restaurant on the Open Table listing, you receive points.  After a certain number of points are accumulated, Open Table will send you a gift certificate redeemable at any participating restaurant, and we certainly would love to see it used here!
   So, please, take advantage of Vivace's entry into the Age of Technology; keep in touch with us via, and make your reservations online!

Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen
Bobby and Kelly, cooking in a tree.  (Doubletree!)  Omaha Restaurant Association's fund raiser for "Feed the Hungry" and Culinary Scholarships is Sunday September 20th at the Doubletree.  Ten local Chefs each prepare a fabulous five course dinner complete with wine pairings for their individual tables.  This year Bobby is representing Vivace and Kelly M's Pub.  The Chefs have a great time flexing their culinary "mussels" together for a good cause.  You can call the ORA at 493-4739 to get tickets. 
Chef BobbyChef Kelly


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Vivace Summer Newsletter            Issue # 1 

   Welcome to our world, M’s Pub and Vivace!  This is the first of our ongoing quarterly news letters in which we hope to inform, educate and entertain.  These quarterly postings will include information and advice from our talented staff members on a variety of subjects from wine & spirits, seasonal foods service issues and downtown events.
   We welcome your comments & critiques as well as your questions about any subject you find interesting about our restaurants, how they are run and our vast array of products.  Our aim is to give you more of a voice in the process of developing new items, redoing old classics or, just to develop a better line of communication with our most valued asset-you, our loyal guests!
   We know we can’t do this without you, so drop Jay or Becca an e-mail, or call Ron at either place. We’ll be glad to help any way possible.
   Ann Mellen, Ron Samuelson
Owners Vivace & M’s Pub

Happy Hours

To say thanks to all our loyal patrons and to help welcome new ones we are having happy hours at both Vivaceand M’s.  4 to 6 and reverse at 10 to close Monday thru Saturday.  All night on Sundays.  We will be  serving munchies and beverages at discounted prices, so please come and join us.

Pizza Engineering

Here at Vivace, we have a serious passion for "Pie."  We have always wanted to make that "Artisan" style pizza that is so good you just can't stop.  So we have spent hour upon hour doing research.  We have tried dough after dough, changing the protein content of the flour: 9%, 14%, 11%, 13%... We’ve used starters, experimented with poolish, tried a two day rise, and then a three day rise.  We wanted the sauce that is not too sweet, not too acidic; Just right!  We have sacrificed(!) ourselves by eating slice after slice for months now, trying to make the best pie around.  Like so many things, simple is best, so we’ve chosen to not use a lot of toppings with our perfectly balanced sauce. The hardest part for us to develop, of course, is that crust that is light, crispy and flavorful enough that you want to eat the bones!  (And it leaves a beautiful aftertaste lingering on your palate.) We think we have found success!  Late June or early July is the launch date for our new Menu.  So come in and try a pie! We want you to benefit from the fruit of our labors!  We think you will agree that its one of the best out there.

 On The Wine Front

Summer weather and foods are perfect for light and refreshing wines.  So, we have been working with the purveyors and the staff exploring Pinot Grigios, Dry Rieslings, and Sparkling Wines.  We have found some really fun wines.  The staff especially likes the Maculan "Pino & Toi" it is a blend of Tocai /Pinot Bianco/Grigio with soft mouth feel and a clean crisp finish.  M's is working with the same flavor profiles and we really like the Macon Lugny, all stainless steel aging produces chardonnay with a dry finish.  Perfect for a lazy afternoon of people watching on the patio!


New Menu!
We have heard your cries!  At your request, we have added lots of Tapas, so you can enjoy a taste treat before your entree or mix and match to create your own personally styled meal!  Our Neapolitan Style Pizzas have been redeveloped and refined to a new level of delicious!  For sandwiches we have several of our ever-popular Panini, which is toasted on our panini grill; the Tramazini, which is a light finger sandwich; and a Piadini, the Italian version of a Wrap.  As always, we will have beautiful salads as accompaniments and as meals in themselves.  We wore out our old pasta machine so we brought in a new and improved one.  We are again making all our own fresh pasta, flavored with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, saffron…  We are revisiting our original concept which gives you the creative power to design your best meal.  Choose a dreamy pasta and then select from our extensive list of sauces.   Personalize it even more by adding steamed clams, grilled chicken, as well as other choices.  As always we are using the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients to bring out the simple flavors that make Italian cooking so much fun.  Also check out homemade pastas on the Special sheet at M's next time you're there!

Help us serve you better, please!

Sometimes, unfortunately, things don’t go as planned during a dining experience.  The service may be poor, the food may not be up to the quality you expect for the price you are paying.  As a consumer you are entitled to have a satisfactory experience while spending your hard earned money on an evening out.  What to do, you may ask, if you want your voice heard?  As a longtime restaurant person and current manager I say let someone know.  Many people are reluctant to say anything because they don’t want to seem like they are complaining or looking for something complimentary.  The problem is that we can’t fix the problem if we don’t know about it.  Our ultimate goal is the satisfaction and, hopefully, frequent return of the guest. There is almost always an amicable solution to any problem that may be encountered and some of the best relationships have had rocky starts.  Let yourself be heard and satisfied.  And, if you have a wonderful experience, let someone know as well for those are the situations which remind us why we love what we do.


Congratulations to Mike & Vicky White of Omaha for winning the first Quarterly Drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for all your comments, it helps us do a better job of serving you.  And Thanks for your participation in our newsletter.  We will do it again in three months.

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