State Court's Grand Opening and a Half Dozen New Restaurants Downtown 

The All-new State Court Cafe

My girlfriends used to drag me to State Court Cafe for regular hangover breakfasts. I never put up too much of a fight because it was so stinkin' cheap and the servers were always so good at keeping the coffee topped off. Until last week, I thought the only thing I'd missed about the joint was its gritty building, which was torn down a few years ago to make room for some shiny new dollar store and a payday loan place. And then I spotted the new Jerry's State Court Cafe on Fairview Avenue and some combination of nostalgia and a hankering for biscuits and gravy almost had me blowing off a meeting to sling in for lunch. Responsibility prevailed, but come Saturday morning, you know where you'll find me. The doors opened June 15, but the grand opening was just Monday, July 20. Although I haven't been back in as of this writing, I'm told the menu is similar to the old restaurant but only the real favorites made the cut. If you check it out, let me know.

Jerry's State Court Cafe, 6767 W. Fairview Ave., 208-376-6767.

Downtown Dining on the Upswing

And if the resurrection of a long-closed, longtime restaurant is any indication that things are looking up for area restaurateurs, then what I'm about to say should be a glowing endorsement of better dining times to come.

Vietnamese restaurant Pho Nouveau opened on Idaho Street. Lunch and dinner are available at fairly reasonable prices with noodle bowls, rice plates, one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes--beef salad--and, of course, pho. I have yet to find the Vietnamese restaurant in Boise that doesn't dumb it down for those of us who know the real deal, but I'm hearing good things about Pho Nouveau. And since they're on the BW Card, I may just treat myself to dinner this week.

Around the corner on Eighth Street, Osaka Japanese Sushi and Restaurant is poised to open in the former TaCaBi space, keeping alive the too-many-sushi joints on Eighth Street tradition on which Boise diners apparently insist. Also on Eighth Street, the two spaces formerly occupied by Gino's Ristorante and Gino's Grill are getting slow makeovers. One, as we reported a few weeks ago, will be Shige's Japanese Steak House, but the other piques my interest. On the north side of that second-floor, which is blistering hot on a July afternoon, Taj Mahal Fine Indian Cuisine is moving in. When I pressed my mug up against the window, the place was in shambles, blueprints splayed out on one table, a rolling buffet in back.

And as if six new downtown restaurants weren't enough (don't forget about Willi B's and Chronic Tacos), Eli's Italian Deli from Nampa will be opening up shop in Cafe Bellisima this Wednesday, July 22. Maybe the economy is getting better. Or maybe we've just decided we want to eat our way through the doldrums. Either way, I'm happy.

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