We spotted them in other cities, huddled in cliques in parking lots, all dolled up and sighing plumes of smoke. They were enviously cutting edge and always on the move. And when we issued a plea to Boise to get hip with the times and join the cool kids back in March 2011, we had no idea just what that would mean for the Treasure Valley food scene. Since then, it seems like a new food truck has rolled out every week. From off-shoots like B29 Streatery—a mobile wagon slinging more populist versions of Dustan Bristol's James Beard Award-winning Brick 29 fare—to the niche, like Archie's Place sloppy joe and soup truck, 2011 was undoubtedly the year of the food truck in Boise.
This past year in restaurant openings also furthered the local/sustainable foods trend. The Northwest-themed bistro Fork opened in the cursed Boise City National Bank building and has made its name slinging dishes like chicken and cheddar waffles. Further from the city center, Salt Tears Coffeehouse and Noshery opened in the Collister Shopping Center in January 2011. The project of former MilkyWay owner Andrea Maricich, Salt Tears offers up small plates and Doma coffee during the day and pours wine and microbrews in the eve, dishing out not-to-miss family-style meals on Wednesday nights.
Not to be left out, Nampa's husband-and-wife restaurateurs Clif and Tracy Volpi opened Simple Sushi in March 2011, serving only certified sustainable fish and ample vegan fare.
In other trendy opening news, Caterer Lisa Peterson—of Boise Co-op and Idaho Shakespeare Festival fame—opened A' Tavola in the former Donnie Mac's building in the Linen District. In a white-washed open space that feels like a scaled-down version of Mario Batali's uber popular Eataly in New York City, Peterson offers prepared salads and sandwiches, along with to-go lasagnas and enchiladas. A' Tavola also includes rocking cheese and cured meat counters, along with a coffeeshop and bakery.
In the tried-and-true column, Boise also added a few new pizza joints to the roster. In late August 2011, Christine Reid (of Red Room and Locavore notoriety) opened an eclectic, retro space-themed pizza joint called Cosmic Pizza. The restaurant dishes up wacky pies like the Galactic Fair with mini corn dogs, chili, red onions and cheddar cheese. On the downtown front, Ketchum-Hailey pizza purveyor Wiseguy Pizza Pie took over the former Chronic Tacos location in early 2012. The joint slings hand-tossed New York-style, stone-deck oven pizza.
While 2011 did bring a new winebar to the downtown scene, The Press, 2012 is gearing up to be all about the brew house. Meridian staple Brewforia and its Bown Crossing offshoot Bier:Thirty have blazed the multiple micro tap trend that will soon explode in downtown. The Taphouse, which will offer 44 taps with rotating regional and local brews and pub grub fare, is slated to open in the space that formerly housed The Lobby. Down the street, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. out of Bend, Ore., will open a satellite location in Boise at Ninth and Bannock streets. 10 Barrel's menu will also focus on classic pub fare, with an emphasis on simple, quality ingredients. •