Some places in North Omaha served a lot of different purposes. One restaurant in Omaha was a meeting place, a social scene, and an eatery. This is a history of Beal’s Grill, which operated from 1940 to 1986.
Located next to Creighton, Beal’s Grill was opened in a house on the southeast corner of North 24th and California Streets. In 1940, Beal opened the restaurant after he renovated the house with a u-shaped counter and booths by replacing the living and dining rooms and added a small dining room with tables and chairs. Walter Beal (1892-1973) and his second wife Hazel Beal (1893–1957) lived upstairs with their family in three bedrooms, a bath and a living room.
A mainstay of Creighton University students for those decades, Beal’s Grill was indelibly carved into the hearts and stomachs of thousands of Creighton students. When he wasn’t running the joint during the school year, Walter Beal also ran a restaurant at Lake Okoboji called Beal’s Grill.
Beal’s Grill was a Creighton University hotspot for years that holds a cherished place in a lot of former students’ minds. Nostalgic articles recall however, Walt Beal’s salty language prompted Creighton’s dean of women to discourage young ladies from eating there. Also, students from Creighton Prep weren’t allowed to go there, either.
I’ve loved every minute of the many years I’ve been with this grill… I like to cook for the students. A good many who came in here for meals have gone on to become famous in their fields.– Howard Fiedler (1913-1996) in a 1984 interview with the Omaha World-Herald
After Walter passed away in 1973, his son-in-law, Howard Fiedler (1913-1996) ran it until 1986. Howard married Walt’s daughter Bernice in 1942, and died a decade after retiring in 1996. The building was sold to Creighton University, and afterwards the building was demolished. Today there is a parking lot on the site.
There are a few signs of Beal’s left around campus, but no memorial on the site of this historic social gathering place.
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