Boise Fall Food Roundup 

New food and brew spots, say goodbye to Bleubird and hello to Mad Mac, and McDonald's now delivers

click to enlarge Gas Lantern Drinking Company on Fulton Street serves Smoke & Thyme bites and classy pours in an upscale atmosphere. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Gas Lantern Drinking Company on Fulton Street serves Smoke & Thyme bites and classy pours in an upscale atmosphere.

UPDATE: The original version of this story stated that Wild West Bakery and Espresso in Eagle will be closing and will reopen in 2018 as Mama Italia's Trattoria. That was incorrect. Owner Matteo Raymond explained that Wild West will stay open and new Italian items will join old favorites on the menu during a transition period. Breakfast and lunch service will continue as usual. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Boise is still growing, and although more people means more traffic, they also bring something absolutely wonderful to the city of trees: new restaurants, filling spaces where other eateries have been and gone.

A prime example is New Garden Chinese, which opened its doors last month in the Collister Shopping Center on State Street, taking over a storefront that used to belong to Nam King. With bottom-shelf prices and 179 menu items—ranging from traditional Cantonese and Chinese-American favorites to true American standbys like burgers and fries—to choose from, there's a lot to like about New Garden. Continuing the Asian theme, a new Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Tay is slated to open at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Five Mile Road in the space previously occupied by Taj Mahal. Though there isn't a definite opening date, any restaurant with "pho" in the name is more than welcome to make a winter debut.

Plus, some beloved Boise institutions are expanding into new territory, foremost among them the all-pasta food truck Mad Mac, which will open a brick-and-mortar location in early December. Mad Mac, known for its top-notch dishes piled with unconventional mac-and-cheese toppings like sweet corn, buffalo chicken and fresh jalapenos, will fill the former Pollo Rey space at the Boise Spectrum (home to Edwards 21 and IMAX). Although it has been open less than eight months, Paddles Up Poke, the build-your-own-poke-bowl place on Ninth Street, is opening a second location at the intersection of Eagle and McMillan roads. Paddles Up owners have yet to announce an opening date.

In booze news, Gas Lantern Drinking Company on Fulton Street (between White Dog Brewing and Longdrop Cider), opened at the end of October. The space is beautifully decorated, with a sweeping bar, sleek gray upholstery and old-fashioned fixtures, and the bar serves food from Smoke & Thyme, the barbecue food truck parked in the adjoining alley.

Then, in brews news, veteran-owned Bear Island Brewing plans to open a taproom next year. Readers may already be familiar with Bear Island, as owners Beth and Steve Bechtel have been operating the brewery out of their family garage since 2014 and sell their beer at more than 80 locations citywide. Beth, the creative force behind Bear Island's inventive suds, began brewing at home when she and her then-boyfriend Steve were deployed overseas with the U.S. Navy.

"...I really had a knack for it, really enjoyed it, and it just became a massive passion of mine," Beth said. "So I started writing my business plan and just knew, [even though] I still had five years left on my Navy contract, I knew someday that I was going to go home again and start this brewery for Boise."

Bear Island is known for using local ingredients to flavor its creative pours, like lavender sprigs, pumpkins and even Idaho potatoes—read more about Bear Island's best-selling brew, Idaho Potato Ale here—and is currently in the process of moving into the old Fire Station 6 on Fairview Avenue. The Bechtels have their fingers crossed for a 2018 opening.

In a mix of bad news and good news, the owners of Bleubird, the beloved Boise sandwich spot and three-time consecutive BW Best of Boise winner for Best Local Sandwich Shop, announced on Facebook that they will be shutting down for good on Friday, Jan. 26. Owners Sarah and David "DK" Kelly will take their culinary excellence elsewhere, opening a new restaurant called Petite 4 on the Boise Bench next spring. Although the new menu has yet to be announced, if it lives up to the Bleubird standard, it will undoubtedly become a destination eatery.

Wild West Bakery and Espresso, an Eagle mainstay since 1995, is also closing its doors before the end of the year, joining downtown steakhouse Angell's Bar and Grill Renato in the restaurant graveyard. It will reopen in early 2018 as Mama Italia's Trattoria, a traditional, family owned Italian eatery that will have little in common with the brunch spot it is replacing. Diners can expect light, authentic Italian dishes straight from the recipe book of the Italian grandmother who gave the restaurant its name.

Lastly, fast food giant McDonald's has partnered with UberEats to bring its newest venture to Boise: McDelivery. As of Oct. 24, customers can place orders through the UberEats app or website and, for an additional booking fee, fast food from the Fairview Avenue McDonald's will be delivered directly to their door.

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