In the historic Dundee neighborhood, a new chapter unfolds with the opening of Ooh De Lally, a restaurant that’s more than just a place to dine. It’s a sanctuary of second chances, a crucible for culinary dreams, and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Ooh De Lally has gracefully taken over the premises of the erstwhile Marks restaurant, turning a page in Dundee’s vibrant history with Omaha Food Magazine in attendance to witness the highly anticipated opening.

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Nestled in the heart of Dundee, Ooh De Lally isn’t just another dot on the culinary map. It’s a beacon for those seeking redemption and a fresh start. The restaurant’s ethos is built on the foundation of community, not just as a concept, but as a living, breathing entity. From the art adorning its walls to the dishes that dance out of the kitchen, every element speaks of belonging, of a shared journey from shadows into light.

The Hidden Workforce Awakens

The closure of Marks left a void in Dundee, a silent echo of community and camaraderie lost. Diane Good-Collins, inspired by the transformative power of culinary arts, envisioned a bridge from despair to hope. Drawing inspiration from EDWINS in Cleveland, Ooh De Lally emerged as a crucible for change, harnessing the untapped potential of those emerging from the shadows of incarceration.

Foundation for the Future

In partnership with the Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for Culinary Arts, Ooh De Lally introduces the Jumpstart program. This initiative isn’t just about teaching skills; it’s about nurturing dreams, about finding one’s place in the tapestry of the culinary world. Participants embark on a journey of discovery, gaining not just the tools of the trade but a sense of purpose and belonging.

Beyond a Paycheck: A Lifeline

For many stepping out from the confines of the past, the road ahead is fraught with challenges. Ooh De Lally, in collaboration with 180 RAP, offers more than just employment. It offers a lifeline—a network of support that encompasses financial literacy, peer support, and a pathway to empowerment. It’s a holistic approach, acknowledging that the journey to redemption encompasses more than just the acquisition of skills.

Lean On Me: Building Bridges

At the core of Ooh De Lally’s mission is the understanding that we are all a part of a larger story, interconnected and interdependent. General Manager Ben Dabney’s story is a testament to the power of community support, a reminder that redemption is not a solitary journey. The restaurant stands as a pillar of support, not just for its employees but for the community it serves, embodying the principle of doing better by being better.

A Community Embrace

The response from the Dundee neighborhood and beyond has been a resounding affirmation of Ooh De Lally’s mission. The initiative has sparked a collective embrace, a recognition of the power of second chances. Art, cuisine, and community converge in this space, creating a tapestry of hope and resilience that extends far beyond its walls.

A Culinary Journey Begins

With the dawn of March, Ooh De Lally opens its doors wider, inviting diners to partake in a journey of culinary delight and human connection. The restaurant’s vision extends beyond the here and now, aiming to weave a narrative of growth, opportunity, and communal support that stretches into the future.

A Call to Action

Ooh De Lally stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the transformative power of culinary arts and community support. It’s a call to action—a reminder that within every challenge lies an opportunity for redemption, for growth, and for unity. As the restaurant embarks on its journey, it extends an invitation to all: to dine, to support, and to be part of a story that’s just beginning to unfold.

Location: 4916 Underwood Ave, Omaha, NE 68132
Ooh De Lally’s Official Website

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Feature image credit: Wyatt Fangman