Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happiest calories in Omaha

This is Zesto in the Florence neighborhood of north Omaha.

This is the spot on North 30th Street where calories go to make people smile.

Burgers, fries, shakes and malts -- they're all here, and have been for decades. As have decades of kids in Florence.

And their parents, too.

Welcome to a lazy Memorial Day in Florence, just shy of sunset. There's a world of malteds, burgers and banana splits in a simple frame building with a big sign on top.

There's a world of memories in there, too. Whole worlds of them. Inside that Zesto -- more properly known as "Zesto's" -- is the history of the lost youth of the Baby Boom in North O.

And Generation X in North O.

In there lies the joys and fears, crushes and heartbreak of the Millennial generation in North O. At Zesto's also resides the head of one gentleman (above) who -- apparently -- just can't get enough of the place.

Every summer, we hear ESPN announcers singing the praises of the south Omaha Zesto's delicacies during College World Series broadcasts. In Florence, one finds the same good food and the same tasty shakes and malts . . . albeit with one big difference.

The North 30th Street Zesto's doesn't jack up the prices at the first crack of the CWS bat.

Some traditions never get televised, and they just have to rely on the neighborhood clientele. That and generations of memories. And the hearts and minds they inhabit -- hearts and minds forever young, eternally refreshed at a hot-fudge fountain of youth.

Somewhere, it's always 1965. And if you're in 1965 right now, and if you're in Florence, my future wife seems to have lost her new transistor radio somewhere between 25th and Whitmore and the Safeway on 30th.

If you find it, drop me a line. I'll get it back to her.

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