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Tavern at Bown Crossing to expand into The Owyhee

The Owyhee Hotel in downtown Boise. File photo.

Tavern at Bown Crossing will develop a restaurant in this 5,500-square-foot space at the Owyhee Hotel in downtown Boise. File photo.

Ever since The Owyhee in downtown Boise was renovated in 2014, developer Mike Brown has let the prized corner space at 11th and Main streets sit empty until he found the perfect restaurant.

This month, Tavern at Bown Crossing will get to work on the 5,500-square-foot, street-level space once occupied by The Gamekeeper. The new Owyhee Tavern is expected to open in late July.

Brown is co-president of LocalConstruct, the Los Angeles developer, and 62.5 percent owner of The Owyhee.

“That corner is very prominent,” Brown said about 11th and Main. “We wanted someone with a concept that went with the concept of the building – a mixture of formal and informal.”

Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Tavern at Bown Crossing owners Barry Werner and John and Kristy Toth opened Tavern at Bown Crossing nine years but did not limit their vision to southeast Boise.

“We’ve been looking for years to do another situation. This is absolutely it,” Werner said. “There’s big-time energy downtown. Downtown living is a big deal, apartments, condos. It’s starting to be a grownup city.”

Tavern at Bown Crossing will remain. The Owyhee Tavern won’t be a copy.

“We’re not a pub,” Werner said about Bown Crossing. “We’re a neighborhood place. Downtown will be an extension of that.”

The Owyhee Tavern will have a focus on seafood and oysters but will not have a sushi bar as Bown Crossing has. Owyhee Tavern will offer Kobe-style beef and “maybe a burger or two.”

Werner said Brown approached him with the invitation to open at The Owyhee.

Brown remembers Werner first visiting The Owyhee two years ago just as LocalConstruct was wrapping up redevelopment work and signing office tenant. Brown said neither of them were ready to proceed at the time.

“Boise is not a huge market,” Brown said. “There is a very small galaxy of restaurant operators out there.  (Tavern at Bown Crossing) is local and they are serious professionals. They have a proven product. It was really the whole package, their concept and the way it fit the building.”

Werner signed on the Portland architecture firm Beebe Skidmore, the same firm LocalConstruct used to redevelop the Owyhee. Werner said the design will reflect the historic nature of the building.

The Owyhee Tavern will have an elevated dining area seating 150 and a 115-seat bar area.

This article was updated at 8:50 a.m. on March 4.


About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.