It's going to be a name that all Omahans will SOON know!
Nice Noodles, located at 210 S. 16th Street, inside the Brandeis Food Court. It's another fantastic addition to the array of food options available to those that work downtown or stopping by for a quick healthy lunch or early dinner. And did I say healthy?
Brooke Barsell is the owner, the brains, the brawns, the beauty behind the noodles. She opened the restaurant in the food court mid June - just a few days after we opened here at Blue Oceans Float. So, you could consider us sister businesses!
We wanted to support Brooke and her vision, passion, and goals for the business and life, so we took some time to chat with her about the noodles business. She already is very active in the the community, with teaching at local schools, building after school programs, beautifying parks by picking up trash, and taking improv classes.
It was and IS Brooke's life mission to help the world, make it happier and healthier. She explained to us that in the past, "I struggled with food allergies, seasonal allergies, constant hives, mood swings, and a long list of many other things. At one point, I had a four day rotational diet, another point no sugar, wheat, corn, shellfish, chicken, hardly anything. I spent some time as a vegan, then a vegetarian, and then became gluten free form any years." She also finally found Dr. Shawn Schmidt's holistic clinic, Natural Health Center P.C., and with it cleaned up her diet and was finally able to heal. As her body healed, she would slowly re-introduce other foods and not experience the intense reactions like before.
This life experience is what prompted her to offer food that, "even I could eat when on the most restrictive diet and that people could eat whatever they want and still enjoy it." When you stop by the shop for a bowl of noodles, you can definitely see it the thought, time, and energy put into crafting a healthy, varied, and fresh menu. Another bonus to this already yummy idea is that you can eat these noodle bowls at a low cost!
Nice Noodles started out as a Japanese Hibachi style grill, but after more research, the plan was adjusted. She had that "aha" moment after a dinner with friends at a local Ramen bar, where the subject of soup came up. Brooke continues, "That is where I came up with the idea of
offering a few different kinds of noodles, rice, and salad mixes. The sauces are actually what keep people coming back. All but two are homemade in the house, including Hoisin, Teriyaki, Thai peanut, Coconut Curry, and Chinese Spicy." Just take a look at their menu and you discover the wide variety and endless combinations you could try. They offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free chemical free, and MORE than just noodles! Check out their menu HERE!
While it's only one location right now, Brooke hopes to expand Nice Noodles with a few more locations around Omaha (maybe a food truck, yay!) and eventually franchise the business. A long-term goal means placing Nice Noodles in Airports, so people traveling can supplement the stressful time of air travel with a healthy food packed full of good vitamins! Gotta stay healthy when you travel!
The biggest reason, though, why Brooke and her passion is so contagious is her love for kids. It's her dream to start an after-school program where the older students lead clubs and activities for younger children. They would focus on what the kids are gifted in, whether that be art, history, math, dance, cooking, etc. It's like taking school outside, into the fresh air, and giving kids the chance to be active while learning. She wants to incorporate her low cost, nuritious, and fun food in programs like these, to ensure that all kids get the nutrients they need.
Nice Noodles has already received a lot of positive attention. And as more people discover this gem in Omaha, I'm sure Brooke and all her visions for the future will come true. Look out for Nice Noodles on Grub Hub, hosting events and lectures, tastings, and even parties. The sky is definitely NOT the limit for Brooke - she's already in outer space and traveling at light speed.
What more could you ask for?