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Home / Columns / Kona Grill at The Village of Meridian: forget the construction zone outside

Kona Grill at The Village of Meridian: forget the construction zone outside

Jennifer GonzalezThe clamor of construction at The Village at Meridian isn’t stopping restaurants like Kona Grill from fine-tuning their menus and preparing to open their doors in the next few days.

On Oct. 7, I had an opportunity to tour the Arizona-based restaurant chain’s first Northwest location. I was impressed with the enthusiasm and, more importantly, the presentation of every entrée that was served by general manager Michael Torres and executive chef Russell Meahl. Kona specializes in upscale American and Asian fusion cuisine, sushi, fine cocktails, and a killer happy hour food and beverage list.

When you walk in, you can make a right into a spacious bar area with high- and low-top tables, a sushi bar and windows that open up to the Village’s center terrace. If you enter and take a left, dining tables for small and large parties are scattered near a fish tank and an open kitchen where servers and chefs are bustling about.

Preparing sushi at Kona Grill. Photo by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Preparing sushi at Kona Grill. Photo by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Executive chef Russell Meahl is no stranger to opening new restaurants around the country, but this is his first in the Treasure Valley. He has worked for the Walt Disney Company, Mirage Resorts, Cheesecake Factory and most recently in Boise’s Whole Foods. Meahl will be overseeing a dining room that seats 300 people. Meahl emphasizes that he serves fresh seafood, and told me that ahi and other fish literally arrives “from the boat to your mouth.” Seafood is shipped in almost daily from Hawaii, and most of Kona’s vegetables and other produce are local.

“Literally out of the field and into the kitchen,” he said.

General manager Michael Torres has been with Kona Grill for several years. He opened the Denver restaurant, managed four Arizona locations, and now he and his family, with a baby on the way in January, have settled in Meridian. He will lead a team of 160 employees. He’s clearly a pro.

Kona Grill General Manager Michael Torres been with the company for several years and recently moved to Meridian with his family to open The Village restaurant. Photo by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Kona Grill general manager Michael Torres has been with the company for several years and recently moved to Meridian with his family to open The Village restaurant. Photo by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Kona Grill is one of several new restaurants that will be wowing guests when The Village opens Oct. 18. While it’s a bit tricky to see from the corner of Fairview and Eagle Road, the inside of this lifestyle center will feature a Settebello Pizzeria, Twig’s Bistro and Martini Bar, Yard House, and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. These restaurants will have their first Idaho presences when they open.

I know people in Boise like to complain about Meridian being so far away. Honestly, as many times as I have now been out to The Village, covering its construction and progress, my advice is to chill, enjoy the experience and, more importantly, sample all the good eats that await inside The Village.

About Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez covers construction, real estate and development news. Contact her at jennifer.gonzalez@idahobusinessreview.com or 208.639.3515.

6 comments

  1. I was lucky enough to be able to sample a preopening dinner ” meatloaf “entre with red skin mashed , marinated mushroom caps & green beans. It was the best ” meatloaf” I have ever eaten. It was like eating steak…(.no bread filling- all meat ) with a sauce that was delish :) the portion was ample. Can’t wait to try some of the other menu items when they open !

  2. I agree with Greg. The fact that new businesses are coming to Meridian is a good thing for all of us that don’t live within a few miles of downtown Boise. There are more than 200,000 people that live in western Ada County (Star, Eagle, Meridian, Kuna, W. Boise and unincorporated areas). That size of population, coupled with lower property taxes and higher disposable incomes is a no-brainer for any business looking to expand. So what does it matter to people that live in and around downtown Boise if businesses are looking at western Ada County? Is there a lack of entertainment options in downtown Boise? No. If you don’t want to drive to Meridian, the don’t drive to Meridian. But consider the fact that you’re not the target demographic for all this development – it’s the 200,000 of us that don’t want to drive out to downtown Boise for all our entertainment.

  3. If at any time you would like to verify my Fedex tracking numbers showing point of orgin date and delivery site come on in.

  4. Boom! Roasted! Lol- why can’t people just be happy for the new businesses coming to the city of Meridian???

  5. Glad you cleared that up- A few questions I must ask to your claims…Do you deliver the fish? Do you catch it? Receive it? Seems fishy that you are so sure….maybe you are in Hawaii right now watching to see where the boats and planes go….maybe you just have nothing better to do…

  6. At Aka sushi “houston tx”they also have fresh fish brought in from Pandora farm grown by the Nabi tribe, Chef Russell Meahl has no clue or is the editor making up this idea of fresh from Hawaii , the seafood company that distributes to kona restaurants is North coast seafoods from Boston! This is me just keeping it real and seperating fact from fiction!

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