Wrap Shack 

On the plate of reviewer No. 1

Admittedly I was pretty cranky about driving out to Nampa from downtown Boise in the middle of a busy weekday afternoon for the sole purpose of shoving a wrap into my mouth. Given the name Wrap Shack, I had visions of a slightly grimy parking lot hut with questionable food safety standards. Wrap Shack is anything but.

It's situated in a corner suite in one of those relatively new standard stucco strip malls--the ones with the ubiquitous instant check cashing places and some sort of salon. Full-color, full-window-sized posters advertise the Southwestern--now with steak!--and the Ranch--only $2.99!--between neon beer signs.

From the outside, Wrap Shack certainly looked mass-produced and that look extends to the inside as well. Bright colors make for a lively inside. The beach theme is undeniable: a tiki umbrella stands near the front, copious photos of surfers in action hang on the walls, a pair of hanging surfboards are suspended from the ceiling, and a body board has been converted into a specials board. It's decor that not so subtly translates into light and summery food. With its highly professional graphics and low, low price point (everything is regularly priced at $2.99-$5.99), it also smacks of franchise.

Do yourself a favor: Tell the counter help it's your first time and get the rundown on how to order. A half dozen menu options are merely starting points. From there, you have to narrow it down first to a meat preference--beef, chicken, pork or none--and then to presentation: wrap (couple of choices here, too), bowl or salad. After that, it gets nitty gritty with your preference of dressing and additional toppings.

The food is where the pleasant surprise factors in. The Big Island veggie is a meatless option that's been put together with some thought. Rather than being just a standard dish sans meat, it's a concoction of seasoned cous cous, red quinoa and a veggie medley partnered with tomatoes and mushrooms. Served over rice with green peppers, olives, pepperoncinis, fresh cilantro and black beans smothered in house spicy-sweet Hawaiian dressing, the dish is a fantastically tangy and a healthy departure from the usual meat-veggie-sauce routine of most wrap joints.

If a wrap is what you want, however, the combination of creamy kickin' Southwest sauce, shredded chicken heavy on the liquid smoke, bacon, cheddar and tomatoes will take two hands to eat and a serious dedication to finish. Less successful was the grilled ranch wrap, advertised for only $2.99 on one of the window posters. Smoky shredded chicken, cheddar, Southwest sauce and bacon proved too rich a combination without the veggies that come on the non-grilled wrap version, though I'd wager that a slightly inebriated concert goer might happily wander over to the nearby Idaho Center with the hot snack in hand. I am, however, pretty curious about the grilled pizza wrap. Too bad the Idaho Center is much too far for a quick lunch jaunt from downtown Boise.

--Rachael Daigle thinks "franchise" is the other "f word."

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Wrap Shack.

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