The Griddle 

2310 E. Overland Rd., Meridian. 208-288-1848, Mon.-Sun., 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

Walking into The Griddle is like the first day of summer, warm and bright. The walls, tables and chairs are all yellow, and everything is shiny and new. The room itself is wide open with a high ceiling that gives it a warehouse feeling, but in no way is it uninviting. It's easy to tell that someone had a vision for the decor and worked rather hard to make it a reality. There is plenty of seating available in either a comfortable booth or a table, but most charming was the counter lined with swivel chairs. The elderly couple sitting at the counter during my visit gave it a classic look like a Norman Rockwell painting, and I half expected to see a soda jerk complete with the white apron and a sailor hat. There weren't many customers while I was there so I felt no remorse occupying a booth all to myself and taking my sweet time. I ordered a cup of coffee ($1.45) and spent half an hour or so catching up on the Idaho Statesman's version of reality. My waiter, a young fellow in his early 20s with an obvious talent for reading people, knew to leave me alone for the most part while still providing great service.

After a while, I perused the menu and was a little shocked at the prices. Most meals at The Griddle are in the $8-$10 range which seemed to contrast with the mellow, informal atmosphere of the establishment. After calling my banker and moving some money around, I was ready to order. Maybe I have an unhealthy obsession with anything and everything San Francisco, but it is my former hometown, and since most things associated with that city tend to be of a certain level of quality, I ordered the Golden Gate sandwich ($8.75). It's a hot turkey sandwich with melted cheese and bread with dried peppers baked right in. Mind you, my love for SF isn't the only reason I ordered the Golden Gate. Someone once asked me what I would choose to eat in the unlikely scenario that I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life, and I said, with no hesitation, turkey sandwiches. San Francisco-inspired names, turkey sandwiches and the fact that I was about to part with at least $18 (I always tip well) all combined to create within me some rather high expectations.

My food arrived promptly and piping hot. Aside from the sandwich, the plate was covered with french fries. And not average french fries. It looked like there were potato skins around every individual fry, no breading, just warm, fluffy fried potato. Oh, the guilty pleasures. The much-anticipated sandwich was next. The first bite was divine, well worth nine bucks. The healthy helping of turkey was complemented by an even more healthy helping of melted cheddar cheese, and the bread that had piqued my interest before did not disappoint. With dried peppers baked in, the bread added spice to the naturally savory sandwich. I cleared my plate in no time and would have craved seconds had I not been so full. Satisfied, I left the warm and sunny restaurant and ventured out into the cold Boise winter wonderland.

The Griddle is a bit of a drive for Boiseans, located on the south side of Meridian near Overland and Eagle roads. But don't let that stop you; in fact, consider it an outing, an adventure to a new place for some new tastes.

—Tom Kershaw thinks french fries should be at the top of the food pyramid.

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