(Left) Jeff May, of Bar Gernika, and Jason Farber, of Archie’s Place, have joined food forces to form Manfred’s Catering. (Right) Nato Mexican Food makes a neato keeno burrito.
Longtime Boise restaurateurs Jason Farber and Jeff May go way back. Friends since they were students at Boise High School, Farber went on to open Archie's Place food truck and May became the owner and operator of Bar Gernika. In July, they joined food forces and opened Manfred's Catering at 1114 W. Front St.--a riff off both popular eateries.
"We're putting our efforts, our knowledge and experience together," May said.
Manfred's is a restaurant and catering service operating out of a kitchen in Woodland Empire Ale Craft that serves lunch and dinner. The menu is electric and eclectic, with wild specials like fried basque peppers with cotija cheese and crostini, and the beer sandwich, piled with lamb and pork meatloaf, Electric Warrior mustard and hopped pickles.
In creating Manfred's, the owners hoped to break from their previous restaurant experiences. For Farber, Manfred's is a chance to escape the orbit of long hours and harsh economics in the food truck business. May was looking for a way to create efficiencies at Bar Gernika and improvise off Basque cuisine at a location less defined by a classic menu.
"Every day you have to shop; every day you have to cook; every day you have to clean," he said of running Gernika. "I wanted a commissary."
As downtown spreads and the nearby JUMP project nears completion, Manfred's owners said they hope people in west downtown will gravitate toward the eatery during the lunch hour and, eventually, the plan is to expand the Manfred's concept to include full dinners with Woodland Empire beer pairings. For now, Farber and May said they're trying to cultivate a clientele.
"The short-term is to build the culture and show people we're here," Farber said.
After a beer sandwich at Manfred's, it's only a few steps to a cold beer at Doc's Bar, housed in the little shack at 1108 W. Front St., which has seen more tenants come and go than a hostel. It was once the Locker Room, which gained some notoriety after Dave Attell visited on piercing and fetish night for an episode of his popular TV show Insomniac. It was the original home of the beloved Lucky Dog (which moved into a building that once housed a McDonald's and a donut shop—tastiest ghosts ever), followed by Pitchers and Pints for a few years, then Dolly's Bar for about a minute.
One rejuvenating facelift—both inside and out—and it's now the friendly, shiny Doc's Bar. The good doctor is at facebook.com/Boisedocsbar.
If you scream for ice cream like one Vista neighborhood resident did during an Energize Our Neighborhoods meeting, Cold Stone Creamery might be listening. Another location of the popular ice cream shop will open this fall at 1028 S. Vista Ave. in the Vista Village Shopping Center. Stay tuned for deets.
In news of the not-so-new, a trip to the movies can be a costly endeavor, leaving you little bread for a bite to eat. However, after you see, say, Suicide Squad at the Edwards Stadium 22 mondoplex, head across Overland Road to Nato's Mexican Food at 1492 Entertainment Way for a beautiful, big-ass burrito—or chimichanga, enchilada, taco or torta.
Nato's, which is locally owned, has been serving delicious deals for about four years now, at prices low enough to feed the whole fam: from $2.25 for a bean burrito to $10 for a shrimp and beef combo plate. The house special (shrimp and a chile relleno), the adobada (juicy marinated pork and guacamole) and the lengua (tender beef tongue and cilantro) burritos plus a huge slice of fabulous flan only set us back around $20. Find the menu and more at natosmexicanfood.com.
Last but not least, it's time to get on the sauce. Join the people pouring into the Basque Block on Friday, Aug. 19, for the 19th annual Basque Museum Winefest. Eat, drink and be merry while benefiting the Basque Museum. Tickets are $35 adv., $40 if you wait until you get there, so call 208-343-2671 to reserve yours. Visit basquemuseum.com for more info.
After hangover Saturday, spend a little time Sunday at North End Organic Nursery for its fourth annual Tomato Salsa Festival, with wine, food, music and activities for the kids, complementing a salsa competition and samples galore. Ketchup on all the info you need at northendnursery.com.
Eureka! Boise will feature 40 craft-beer taps, small-batch spirits (with a focus on whiskey), and a scratch-kitchen American menu with uncommon options like osso buco riblets, truffle cheese fries, fried-chicken sliders, lobster tacos and a variety of burgers.