An off -the-beaten-path local favorite is The Orchard House in Caldwell. The restaurant is about 10 miles from Caldwell center on Karcher/Sunny Slope Road, which is ID-55 S. Any direction you come from takes you on orchard-view roads in the heart of Idaho wine country. Once you get through the final stoplight and last commercial building on Route 55 S, it’s open expansive roads, irrigation canals and cornfields. The drive from Interstate 84 takes you about 12 miles west on 55 S (exit 33 coming from Boise), and once you pass the Chicken Dinner Road intersection, start looking on your right. It’s just after the gas station.
The restaurant is on the Sunnyslope Wine Trail — nestled among Annadelle Winery, Bitner Vineyards, Cuesta Sol Vineyards, Fujishin Family Cellars, Hat Ranch Winery and Vineyard, Hells Canyon Winery and Zhoo Zhoo, Huston Vineyards, Kindred Vineyards, Koenig Vineyards, Ste. Chapelle Winery and Tasting Room, Snake River Winery and Williamson Orchards and Vineyards — and is a popular spot for people looking to fill up on a homemade meal before an afternoon of wine tasting.
The Orchard House also offers an extensive list of all-Idaho wines by the glass or bottle for those who want a one-stop shop. As it’s often very busy during peak (weekend) hours, expect a wait, but don’t expect to see annoyed patrons amidst the pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Staff members are friendly; people don’t seem to be in a rush, and there’s a lovely courtyard with plenty of tree shade to sit and wait for your name to be called for your table. You can also peruse the many sundries for sale — from honey, jams, jellies and jalapeno ketchup to hats, shirts, bags, cups and other assorted knick-knacks — or sample their homemade-with-love fudge (as the sign says).
The bakery offers the expected fudge varieties but also some unique flavors, such as birthday cake and lemon cheesecake, and it even makes the hard-to-find penuche flavor! In business since 2008, the restaurant is committed to using locally and regionally grown produce, often right from its own backyard. As advertised, everything on the menu is made fresh to order.
Part restaurant, bakery and gift shop, the atmosphere is rustic — with a country kitchen vibe — almost like you’re eating right inside a small-town general store. The words “quaint, charming and farm-style” come to mind when looking around at the décor of the building (constructed in 1968) and the acre of property, which includes an extensive water feature and stream flowing through the beautifully landscaped lawn and garden.
Inside, the small restaurant seats up to 75 people, and when the large patio is open, another 50+ can eat outside. Breakfast is served daily from 7-11 a.m. Typical breakfast options of omelets, scrambles, pancakes, waffles and French toast are on the menu, but some very unique dishes are as well. There’s something called a “squealer,” which is Swedish pancakes wrapped around bacon then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. There’s also a “best of both” benedict, which comes with both Canadian bacon and sautéed spinach. Made-from-scratch beignets and cinnamon rolls are also on the breakfast menu.
The lunch menu, which is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers the standard options of burgers, sandwiches and salads, as well as soups that are made fresh in-house daily. For those looking for something more substantial for lunch, the restaurant also offers “meatier” options such as salmon, fettuccine, chicken-fried steak and prawns.
Scratch-made pies, cookies and fudge are a perfect way to end your meal at the Orchard House. Try the house-favorite pear pie or the not-so-common marionberry pie, which is touted as “the cabernet of blackberries.” Whatever your fancy, be sure to save room for dessert! Visit the website for full menu options: theorchardhouse.us.
*This article originally appeared in Idaho Business Review’s Treasure Valley Living magazine.