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New food concepts and trends abound in Idaho

Rent-by-the-hour, commercial-grade kitchen space available to various food preparers (Photo credit: Twisted Kitchen)

The Treasure Valley is a hub of attractions — many of them culinary. Whether you are looking to grab a beer at one of the many breweries that are popping up in Boise, or you want to experience some of the state’s well-known regional flavors, Idaho’s food contributions are vast and will give you the opportunity to delight your palate, time and time again. There are many new trends popping up across the region, such as food trucks, roof decks, food delivery concepts, shared kitchen spaces and the latest craze, the communal food hall.

Take the Warehouse Food Hall, for example, which is scheduled to open in spring of 2022 and is boasted to be Boise’s newest culinary hub. The “warehouse” building, which is considered to be an extension of the Eighth Street dining district, will be more than 29,000 square feet and house over 20 restaurant and retail tenants. Residents are eager to see this project complete. In the meantime, they can feast at the many other restaurants, breweries and trucks in the Treasure Valley or try out a new food concept such as an area delivery, catering or commercial kitchen service.

Below is a snapshot of some of these locally trending businesses.

Breweries

Powderhaus Brewing Company: This brewery and taphaus in Garden City is a must-visit for craft beer lovers. There is a large tasting facility, outdoor seating, local food trucks, live music and so much beer to choose from that it might take you a few minutes to decide.

Blue Pit Brewing: This brewery in Mountain Home opened in October 2020 and is the city’s first brewery. Owner Jeff Paradis began brewing beer more than 15 years ago and decided to name the brewery after his and his wife’s beloved blue pocket pit bull named Pinot. Stop in to grab a bite to eat from one of the rotating food trucks parked behind the brewery, then pair that with one of the many brews on tap, such as the Gunfighter Blonde, made with Idaho malt and hops.

Crooked Fence Brewing Company: Since 2012, Crooked Fence has been a part of the beer scene in Idaho and has become known for its variety of lagers and ales. Also located in Garden City, its taproom has indoor and outdoor seating with a variety of beers, local wines, cider, and snacks available.

Restaurants 

Epi’s A Basque Restaurant: For over two decades, Epi’s has been introducing Idaho residents to the rich flavors of Basque Country, a region between north central Spain and southwestern France. Whether it’s steak, lamb loin chops or green apple bread pudding, this must-try ethnic restaurant offers traditional Basque recipes from Grandma Epi’s table that will turn you into a loyal customer.

Zee’s Rooftop: Looking for a view of downtown Boise and beautiful surrounding foothills? This is one place to check out. The café is open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch, and the venue portion of the business is available for rent seven nights a week. The evolving menu features a variety of homemade soups, sandwiches and salads that use fresh, local ingredients.

Chandlers Steakhouse: Another restaurant in downtown Boise, Chandlers is accredited not only for its melt-in-your-mouth prime meats, but its selection of gourmet seafood (guaranteed jet-fresh and shipped within 24 hours), wine list with over 700 selections, and premium craft cocktails and acclaimed Ten-Minute Martini. The restaurant is known for exquisite cuisine from Chef Mike Large, its upscale atmosphere and attentive customer service, and is a recommended restaurant by Forbes Travel Guide.

Delivery 

Crave Delivery: Founded in 2019, Crave Delivery brings acclaimed chefs, local ingredients and amazing restaurant meals to your home. Today, there are 18 award-winning chefs and restaurateurs who provide designed-to-travel food and beverages. All customers have to do to get their food is place their order through the Crave Delivery mobile app and select if they want it for pick up or delivery. Each restaurant partner has been handpicked and offers custom menus that highlight signature dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients.

“We reimagined the food-delivery model and designed it from the chef and restaurateur’s perspective with shared responsibility for customer satisfaction,” said Barry Werner, Crave Hospitality Group co-founder. “We make it possible for our customers to be able to order from multiple award-winning restaurants all in one order and have it delivered to your home in the comfort of your own dining room. There is something for everyone. On any given night, if somebody in the family wants sushi, and another family member wants Mexican, pizza, or BBQ, they can get it all, in one order, through Crave Delivery.”

Food kitchens 

Twisted Kitchen: Founded in 2018 in Garden City, The Twisted Kitchen is a 24-7-365 rent-by-the-hour commercial-grade commissary that provides a commercial space for all sorts of food preparers. With a goal to help those with smaller, budding businesses by providing a space where they can work on their culinary masterpieces, Twisted Kitchen is not a shared kitchen, but instead allows the renter to use the whole space for as many hours as they decide to rent it. It can accommodate up to 12 people. The company is meeting a great need within the community, as there are very limited options when it comes to commercial-grade kitchen space.

Chadwick G., general manager of The Twisted Kitchen, said, “I believe we answer a very real need in inexpensive, clean and functional cooking space. Several of our current food businesses are getting more and more popular, thus getting busier and are possibly growing right out of our space! We are thrilled to see some of our budding businesses grow so big!”

Food trucks 

Fusion Frites: Idaho is known for its spuds, but when it comes to loaded waffle fries, Fusion Frites can’t be beat. Hand-cut waffle fries are loaded with all sorts of unique toppings. Choose from menu items like fries smothered with gouda cheese sauce, sautéed apples and bacon, or sausage and gravy fries served with a fried or scrambled egg on top. And don’t forget breakfast. You can even get fries tossed in cinnamon and sugar, then loaded with bananas, salted caramel, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The food truck changes locations around Boise regularly and also offers event catering.

Brown Shuga Soul Food: Started by Chef Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, who still works alongside her parents and son to keep up with the demand for her made-from-scratch cuisine, the food here is Southern comfort food at its very best. Choose from mouthwatering jambalaya, smoked turkey legs, collard greens, signature lemon tarts and much more.

Killer Creamery Ice Cream Truck: Boise-based ice cream company, Killer Creamery hosted a one-of-a-kind ice cream truck tour around different Idaho cities in July. Perfect for the hot summer days — or really, any time — Killer Creamery is a keto-friendly, all-natural, zero-sugar ice cream company that offers a healthy, guilt-free dessert option that delights people with every scrumptious spoonful.

So, whether it’s food on-the-go for a quick lunch or a more upscale dining experience to celebrate a special occasion, there is sure to be something in Treasure Valley that will satisfy your craving.

*This article originally appeared in Idaho Business Review’s Treasure Valley Living magazine.

About Brooke Strickland

A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Brooke Strickland is a full time freelance writer & social media specialist that specializes in writing blogs and other website content for local and national companies. She is also the co-author of Hooked on Games, a book about technology and video game addiction. View her website at: brookestrickland.org