Hundreds gather to support Bellevue’s Nettie’s restaurant employees following devastating fire

A fundraiser for a local business impacted by a fire
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 9:09 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - All day Sunday, Stocks n Bonds, a country dance club in Ralston, turned into a fundraising host.

“Having such community support has been just amazing, like its overwhelming I would say, overwhelming but not in a bad way,” says Michelle Lyons, granddaughter of Nettie, the founder of Nettie’s Fine Mexican Food in Bellevue.

Hundreds stopped by Sunday to support the 35-year Bellevue staple.

“We’ve been together for 25 years plus and went to Nettie’s on our early dates when we first met and have been eating it ever since,” says Bob Mahoney, a long-time customer.

The restaurant burned down on Christmas Eve - it was deemed a total loss.

“They determined it was basically a fluke between the wind and the ice, it blocked up the chimney,” says Lyons. “We have a drop ceiling and it was actually throughout the entire ceiling before we even smelled smoke, so we’re very thankful that the ceiling didn’t drop on anybody and everybody was able to get out.”

All that remains of the restaurant now is an empty lot.

“Heart wrenching,” says Shawna Mahoney. “We live next door to some of the family members and you just can’t believe it.”

In order to provide financial support for their long-time employees, customers gathered to listen to music, bid on raffles, and buy bake sale items.

“They’re like our family they might as well be our family and we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” Lyons says.

And it wouldn’t be a celebration without enjoying some of what so many customers have come to love for decades - margaritas and good food.

“Their chili is extremely hot, and I knew this could be the last time getting it so getting the chili, you know it’s a port chili and it’s really hot and anyone that’s had it knows, it tastes dynamite,” Bob adds.

Many hope the restaurant will someday re-open. The Nettie’s family hopes so too.

“We’re just hoping that we can rebuild on our little plot of land in Bellevue, you know that’s all we’re really asking for,” Lyons says.