Ali Baba Closes 

And High Note Cafe takes over former Willi B's space

Ali Baba's closing has nothing to do with 40 thieves.

Laurie Pearman

Ali Baba's closing has nothing to do with 40 thieves.

Ali Baba's chairs, tables and kitchen equipment are sitting in storage, waiting. Over the next month, the items will either be sold or kept in hopes of opening a new restaurant.

The Mediterranean eatery closed in late April. The restaurant (originally called Aladdin) was the first business to open in the strip mall located at 111 Broadway Ave., which sold recently. The new owners aren't renewing leases as they plan to tear down the strip mall altogether.

"With more businesses leaving, there's no more foot traffic," said Tina Martinez, who helped run the business.

Martinez said they have been looking for a new location for more than a year.

"If we can find a place that's affordable, we'll open another restaurant," she said. "But I don't see that happening."

Martinez said the poor economy makes it hard to open a new restaurant, since people aren't eating out as much.

Boise Fry Company, which opened its first location in the same strip mall three years ago, isn't worried about the transition.

"We have an extended lease for another year and a half or two years," said BFC's Brad Walker. "We're not in panic mode at all."

Walker said Boise Fry Company plans to open another location downtown before the Broadway space closes.

"We're keeping our eyes out," he said.

Boise Fry Company opened a second restaurant in October 2011 at 3083 S. Bown Way in Bown Crossing.

In other downtown transition news, the former Willi B's space at 225 N. Fifth St. will soon become the High Note Cafe. A menu posted on the tiny shop's door advertises familiar apps like grilled quesadillas and jalapeno poppers, along with a smattering of sandwiches, including a prime rib dip and a pork torta with pulled pork, manchego and salsa verde. The joint also plans to serve brunch.

High Note Cafe will showcase local and seasonal products--like Gaston's Bakery bread, Ballard Family cheese and Payette Brewing beer--and will feature live music every other night and karaoke on Wednesdays. Owners could not be reached for comment on the cafe's projected opening date.

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