Messenger Pizza and Brewery 

Jalapeno pop it like it's hot.

Leila Ramella Rader

Jalapeno pop it like it's hot.

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.

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