While the word "potential" is commonly slapped on to crumbling bungalows or career-less boyfriends, it takes on an entirely different meaning at Messenger Pizza and Brewery in Nampa. The high-ceilinged eatery opened in the former Stockman's Press Building in October 2010. Scanning the vintage couches that line the natural-light flooded front dining room, it's easy to imagine the place filled with boisterous beer-swillers and chattering young families.
But it's not there yet.
First, they need to get the brewery up and churning. Though Messenger currently has some eclectic microbrews on tap--Terminal Gravity IPA, Manny's Pale Ale and Nampa's own Crescent Highland Hammer Ale--husband and wife brewing team Jenn and David Schram are still hammering out the legal logistics of opening their own brewery on-site.
Another husband and wife duo, Shawn and Cassidy McKinley, manage the pizza-end of things and have created a crispy, thin-style crust, which they top with an array of fresh ingredients. House-made pesto makes an appearance on a number of rotating pies, and creations like the Drunken Goat--chevre, arugula, figs, bacon, balsamic--showcase local ingredients.
On a recent lunch visit I snagged a slice of the spot's signature Jalapeno Popper pizza ($2.50 a slice). Though the concept was brilliant--cream cheese, lightly sweet sliced jalapenos and mozzarella--I found myself wishing they had taken it all the way. Throw some actual, oozing fried jalapeno poppers on there--or any other crunchy element--and the slice would've been mind-melting.
Picking at a red-pepper flecked pesto roll ($2.50) at the best table in the house--a tiny elevated nook with bright pink walls, Christmas lights and a Last Supper painting--I began to daydream about Messenger Pizza becoming a downtown Nampa institution. Potentially.