The snail mail crossed in the post as the Richard’s Café Vicino and the Inn at 500 Capitol initially reached out to each other to see if the long-time Hyde Park restaurateur would be a fit for the boutique hotel going up at Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard.
The answer, when it came, was “yes.”
James Beard Award finalist chef Richard Langston will say arrivederci to his Café Vicino in the Boise Co-Op shopping center in December and re-emerge with Richard’s on New Year’s Eve, the scheduled opening date at Inn at 500 Capitol.
“My wife and I had been reading about the (Inn at 500 Capitol) project,” Langston said. “We just said ‘let’s send them a letter.’ We put a letter in snail mail on the exact same day we got a letter from them (Obie Development Partners, which is building the hotel).
“They were scouting our restaurant,” Langston said. “They absolutely wanted an independent restaurateur. They really liked us.”
Richard’s will have a 3,700-square-foot space along the Myrtle frontage that is independent from the hotel. Langston brought in Boise-based erstad ARCHITECTS to design the restaurant space.
“I think their commitment to excellent food and excellent services parallels our mission completely,” Inn at 500 Capitol General Manager Aaron Black said. “For us to ally with someone with such strong local roots is a coup.”
Langston arrived in Boise as a chef at Amore in 1993. He struck out on his own in 1996 with Richard’s Bakery and Richard’s Across the Street, both in Hyde Park. He opened Richard’s Café Vicino on Fort Street in 2007, and he was a 2014 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef Northwest.
He decided to stick with just Richard’s for his Inn at 500 venture, which will be a continuation and expansion of his Mediterranean bistro concept of “modern not old-school” French, Italian and Spanish cuisine.
“It’s a culmination of all the things I’ve done in my career,” Langston said. “To this day, more people remember Richard’s Bakery in Hyde Park as Richard’s.”
Richard’s will take Langston from a small, 42-seat eatery tucked away in a strip center to a 108-seat restaurant at a major intersection with a captive audience from 110 rooms plus two more hotels at the same intersection.
“I’ve always been on the fringe of downtown,” Langston said. “For a long time, I’ve wanted to do something in the downtown core.”
He will keep his signature dishes – such as the grilled, marinated shrimp on risotto cakes with basil cream sauce – but the larger kitchen will allow Langston to expand the menu. Richard’s also will have breakfast and Sunday brunch, which are not served at Café Vicino.
Richard’s will have 68 seats “in several distinct dining areas” in the dining room, 28 seats at the bar and an adjacent, reservation-only room with 12 seats.
Langston visited Obie Development Partner’s first boutique hotel in Eugene, Ore., Inn at the 5th. The Boise hotel, Obie’s second, will follow similar concepts.
“I was really taken by their quality of service and how important that is to their business model,” Langston said.