Diamonds in the Rough
About the author: Daphne Eck is a self-employed writer, creative thinker and project wrangler.
For one glorious year, Fresh Juice entrepreneur and creative consultant, Elle Lynch, was the owner and chef of Daily Grub. If you're from Omaha, you probably know the joint as 2010's Best New Restaurant. A whole food, farm-to-table lunch spot that didn't necessarily sell itself as a vegan restaurant, but was. Everyone knew that Daily Grub was the place to go for gorgeous-yet-spare ambiance, a hundred hellos at the hand-poured concrete bar and fresh, carefully crafted food: dishes like stacked-high sopes drizzled with cashew ancho cream, vegan meatball subs, freshly squeezed juices or a Mexican Coke.
Now that Daily Grub has closed, Elle consults for restaurants that want to have that same magic thing that "the Grub" had. You know, where you walk in and sigh contentedly thinking, "Ahhh, I could stay here a while." This month, Elle is taking her dreams for Omaha and tossing them out like seeds in the wind, perchance to fall in another dreamer’s field.
The project is called Diamonds in the Rough. Here's how it works: each day in June, Elle and her partner, Joey Lynch, post a business concept on the Fresh Juice website that re-imagines an abandoned storefront in Omaha. Each concept comes complete with branding, inspirational images of the vibe and even music choices for the venue.
No, these are not all ideas that Fresh Juice will actually create. No, Fresh Juice does not have the capital to invest in restoring every promising building they see in Omaha. But Fresh Juice is oozing with inspiration and creative energy; so much that they simply have to share.
This is a goodwill effort to inspire Omaha and the world to make those old, boarded up buildings into something beautiful (and über-cool) again. How many people do you know who are throwing their ideas out there, hoping that someone, anyone will just go for it and make Omaha a better place to live?
I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one who wants my city to have access to hip ping pong parlors (above), boutique hotels, locally-sourced brunch (right), a sweet downtown yoga spot, bohemian bakeries, a beer-slinging bike repair shop and beauty bar. C'mon folks! I'm calling all our Entrepreneurs of the Plains to help make these ideas happen!
Credits: Photos and logos by Elle Lynch. Photo of Daphne Eck courtesy of Eck.