Cafe Ole is expanding into Meridian along Eagle Road, creating the local restaurant’s third location in the Treasure Valley.
The restaurant’s general manager, Brandt Casey, said the new location, at the former site of the Carrabba’s Italian Grill near the corner of Pine and Eagle Road, will capture many new customers that rarely make it to downtown Boise or the mall.
“A lot of our demographic lives out (in Meridian) these days, and it just gives them an easier way to get to us,” Casey said.
The restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-July, but that could change as the new owners move in. The restaurant plans to hire between 40 and 50 people.
Officials with Cafe Ole waited about four years for the coveted location, visible from Eagle Road, Casey said. The restaurant will have 55,000 cars driving by it each day.
The restaurant company, founded and owned by the Casey family, looked at the same location for possible expansion four years ago, but the negotiations fell through, Casey said. Several other spots were considered over the years, but they weren’t as desirable as the Eagle Road location, he said. The company went back to the Carrabba’s spot recently and found terms they were comfortable with, officially signing the new lease May 28, he said.
“It really paid off that we didn’t do anything four years ago,” Casey said.
Casey declined to discuss the details of the transaction.
Bob Mitchell, of Thornton Oliver Keller, who brokered the deal, said the market for full-service restaurants like Cafe Ole has been improving. Several other restaurants will be opening in the area in the coming months.
“One look up and down Eagle Road is a great indication of the confidence that people have in the valley right now,” Mitchell said, citing the opening of restaurants like Mongos, Chipotle Grill, and Noodles and Company.
The new Cafe Ole location will differ slightly from the existing locations at the 8th Street Marketplace in Bodo and at the Boise Towne Square Mall, Casey said. The distinct Mexican-style decor of those two locations will be replaced with more wood, wrought iron and brick.
“We love our old locations, and they are very ornate with the tile and the fountains,” Casey said. “It won’t be the same. It will definitely have more of a cantina feel.”
The menu will also have some changes at the new location, with the restaurant adding dishes cooked by a stone oven left by the previous owners.