Brewforia Expands Downtown 

Plus Deli George launches Erna's Kitchen and The Modern serves brunch

Brewforia plans to fill the former TableRock Brewpub space by late summer.

Kelsey Hawes

Brewforia plans to fill the former TableRock Brewpub space by late summer.

Call it the wandering bottle shop. Since Brewforia Beer Market started life at a storefront near Boise Towne Square Mall in November 2009, it has moved to Meridian, opened an offshoot in Bown Crossing (which later became Bier:Thirty Bottle and Bistro), then opened and closed a concept in Eagle that included the restaurant Grind Modern Burger.

Now Brewforia has set its sights on downtown Boise. The brand is opening a new beer market and relaunching Grind Modern Burger in the recently shuttered TableRock Brewpub space at 705 W. Fulton Street.

"We've just started the first little bit of demolition and the process to remodel and re-launch, hopefully in late August," said owner Rick Boyd.

According to Boyd, the space is getting a major facelift, with a repositioned entryway and roll-up garage doors leading to an indoor/outdoor patio. The decor will also get an "upscale contemporary" reboot.

"It's very minimalistic and monochromatic--so a lot of very sleek, clean lines; a lot of grays, whites and blacks with touches of color here and there," said Boyd. "The bar is going to be less pub-y and more upscale lounge."

Boyd said the spot will focus "almost exclusively" on burgers, with a few salads, salmon dishes and appetizers offered, as well. Though the burgers will be similar to those served at the previous iteration--a seasoned blend of ground beef and pork with various gourmet toppings--Boyd is upgrading the plating, presentation and service.

"We're really kind of splitting the difference between that $120 steakhouse and the $12 pub burger," said Boyd. "So you'll be able to have an experience that's somewhere in between."

"It's really closer to that fine dining experience, just with burgers instead of steaks and lobster," he added.

Though Grind will drop a few of its previous menu items, like pizza and mac 'n' cheese, it'll continue serving fresh-cut fries with a line of housemade sauces, including ketchup, habanero dill and yogurt cilantro. Boyd eventually hopes to bottle some of those sauces and sell them in stores.

And TableRock's brew system won't go untapped. Though Boyd confirms he's hired a brewer to craft a line of beers on-site--including seasonal releases of re-tooled TableRock favorites--he declined to elaborate further.

"It's going to be a different approach than what most of the other places around town, or even here in the Northwest are doing," Boyd said. "It's going to be a lot more fun, a little less geeky and more geared toward taking an interesting spin on things and presenting them in a different way."

TableRock's former private dining room space facing Capitol Boulevard will be transformed into a Brewforia Beer Market. The bottle shop will stock between 800-900 beers and offer at least 10 rotating taps.

"We're going to shift our focus a little bit with Brewforia and really focus more on beers that aren't available in this market through our distributors in Northern Idaho," said Boyd.

Boyd said customers can expect to see a bigger selection from breweries in Montana and Colorado, including Bitter Root Brewing, Great Divide Brewing Co. and Avery Brewing Co.

After a late-August soft opening, Boyd plans to host a grand opening party the third weekend in September.

For more on Grind Modern Burger, visit the company's website, grindmodernburger.com. For more on Brewforia, visit shop.brewforia.com.

In other food news, longtime lunch staple Deli George debuted a dinner concept last weekend dubbed Erna's Kitchen. Named after owner George Blumenschein's German mother, Erna's Kitchen will transform the Deli George space at 220 S. Broadway Ave. into a European-style restaurant every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

"We close the deli at 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to about 5:30-6 p.m. begins the transition," Blumenschein said. "We do some candles on the table and switch out a few things ... just class it up a bit and make it just a little bit different. And then our regular menu goes away."

Erna's Kitchen offers an assortment of hearty German fare--including four different types of sausage, red cabbage, German potato salad and yellow kraut--along with cheese and meat boards.

"Right now I have Creminelli products," said Blumenschein. "I have some sopressata; I have a beef prosciutto; I have a salami."

Though the spot doesn't have servers, food is delivered to the tables and a selection of European beers and wines are be available for around $3.50 a glass.

"The idea is that you just sit down, maybe have a glass of wine or a beer and maybe a little appetizer and just discuss the day," said Blumenschein.

For more info on Erna's Kitchen, call 208-323-2582 or visit Deli George's Facebook page at facebook.com/DeliGeorge.

In other debut news: The Modern Hotel and Bar launched its much-anticipated brunch program June 14. Spearheaded by Chef Alex Cardoza (full disclosure: He's the author's fiancee), The Modern's brunch menu features a few re-imagined classics--like Greek yogurt topped with brandy-macerated fruit and a frittata with seasonal vegetables and fromage blanc--along with more eclectic offerings, like beet pierogi with smoked sturgeon and a poached egg. Another unique offering is the banh xeo, a Vietnamese rice flour omelet stuffed with shrimp and pork belly then served with greens, fresh herbs and nuoc cham. And if you want to brunch it up a notch, you can get a half dozen oysters on the side for $10.

The Modern's brunch also features a handful of specialty cocktails, including The Sparkling--with prosecco, Campari and sweet vermouth--and The Wild Card, made with gin, absinthe, lime, mint and egg white.

Brunch is now served Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with cocktails available after 10 a.m.

For a peek at the complete menu, visit boiseweekly.com. For more info on the Modern Hotel and Bar, visit themodernhotel.com.

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