New deli slated for former Bleubird space


With the closure of downtown Boise sandwich joint Bleubird last month, the space won't stay vacant for long.

Lemon Tree Co. will start making sandwiches and lemonade in time for the Treefort Music Festival in March, co-owner Mayra Ruiz said.

Ruiz and Jasson Parra have teamed up on the venture.  Parra is the former area manager for Freddy's Frozen Custards, as well as the founding general manager of the Idaho Yard House franchise at the Village at Meridian.

"We are very excited about this new venture - opening an artisan sandwich shop in the heart of the revival of downtown Boise, and building on the strong reputation and following this location has had," Ruiz said. She said the restaurant, like Bleubird, aims " to offer innovative sandwiches and lemonades, made with quality ingredients, in a great setting while providing exceptional customer service."

Ruiz says the menu is still being developed, but they have several concepts they hope to launch:

  • PB & JJB: Peanut butter, cherry preserves, applewood bacon, and roasted jalapeno
  • Yam & Cheese: Roasted sweet potato, pickled beets, pickled red onion, whipped goat cheese, greens, and sumac vinaigrette
  • Beet Salad: Roasted beets, pickled onions, goat cheese, arugula, pistachios, and balsamic vinegar

On the lemonade side, they will serve up options like blood orange and blackberry sage.

BoiseDev first reported on Bleubird's closure last year.

New craft sandwich restaurant opens downtown


Dickey’s says it will discontinue “BBQ 4LIFE”design

On the heels of a BoiseDev exclusive last week that noted similarities between a local barbecue restaurant’s logo and a national chain’s design - the chain has backtracked.  

Here’s the statement from Dickey’s Barbecue Pit PR rep Callie Head:

  •  At Dickey’s, our franchisees are local business owners and we consider them a part of our extended family.  As such, we support and respect other hard working local business owners who are passionate about great barbecue. Dickey’s believes in authentic barbecue and healthy competition, and never intended to cause confusion nor upset within the barbecue community. Dickey’s is in the process of changing out stock of our takeout bags at all Dickey’s stores in the Boise market and beyond. We look forward to serving our loyal guest delicious barbecue in less confusing takeout bags. 

Crunch time: Fitness chain revamping old SE Boise gym


A decaying gym building in SE Boise is slated to again host barbells and treadmills as part of the expansion of a national chain in the Treasure Valley.

Crunch Fitness plans to open at the corner of Beacon St. and Division Ave. near ParkCenter Blvd. in coming months - after crews finish work on more than $400,000 worth of construction.

The old indoor swimming pool and spa will be filled in and covered, the exterior will be revamped, skylights will be taken out and a flurry of other cosmetic and structural changes.

A portion of the building's second floor will be removed, shrinking the overall square footage.

The building has hosted a number of gyms on and off over the years, including a 24 Hour Fitness location, Park Center Health and Racquet Club and others.

Crunch Fitness entered the market when a franchisee purchased seven existing Idaho Athletic Club locations last year.

Here is what’s up with the old Baldwin Lock & Key/Sav-on Cafe building

Demolition work is underway inside the former Sav-on Cafe/Baldwin Lock & Key building at 16th St. and Main St. in Downtown Boise.  

 Building permits show crews are working to combine the two spaces and remove all interior finishes (what’s known as a “vanilla shell”). 

Building owner Bill Snyder tells BoiseDev he is “entertaining a number of options” for the space, but doesn’t have anything to announce just yet.  

The Sav-on closed in 2013 after nearly 70 years in business. Baldwin moved to Garden City in December. 

Google Street View screenshot

Google Street View screenshot

Reel Foods leaves Downtown for Boise Bench

Fish market Reel Foods has left Downtown Boise for a new home on the Bench - moving to Boise's Vista Village.

The restaurant will open at 1118 S. Vista, in the former Blimpie space.  The sandwich chain moved next door and consolidated with a Moxie Java coffeehouse last year.

Reel Foods closed its downtown location on Capitol Blvd. on January 31st and plans to open its Vista Village store "soon," but building permits have not yet been filed.

An earlier plan would have had 208 Pho and Vegan moving into the space, but that deal did not come through.

(Disclosure: My family owns and operates Vista Village).


New Albertsons stores on Broadway & in Meridian won't be called Albertsons


When the Albertsons market closes on Broadway Ave. this year, it will be replaced by a much larger store.  But in Joe Albertson's hometown, the store won't carry his name.

The store will carry the new Market Street Idaho brand - as will a forthcoming location in Meridian in the former Shopko on Fairview near Eagle Rd.

Market Street Idaho was created by a team of passionate, innovative food lovers with the goal of igniting Idaho’s passion for great food and elevated experiences,” said Susan Morris, EVP and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies said in a prepared statement. “Boise’s deep roots in great local food stem from our farming and ranching industry to our refugee and Basque communities. We think the time is right to bring new culinary experiences many hunger for but haven’t gotten yet locally through our Market Street Idaho stores.”

The Broadway Market Street Idaho store will employ about 200 people according to the company, while the Meridian store will give jobs to 300 folks.  The Broadway store is expected to open this summer while the Meridian store has a late-year timeline.    The existing Broadway Albertsons is now slated to close in April, leaving a gap of a few months without a store in the neighborhood.

Here's how Albertsons describes the stores:

Promising exclusive culinary delights and unique dishes, the Treasure Valley’s two Market Street Idaho stores will encourage customers to hone their inner chef through in-store culinary events and classes as well as time savers like catering services, an in-store restaurant style food court and other gourmet creations fit for the most discerning customers.

“In our Market Street Idaho store, our dedicated chocolatier might partner with one of our scratch bakers to create an art deco cake for an exclusive event, or our Head of Catering might work with our sommelier and masters in our fresh team to craft an exclusive wine pairing experience with fresh fruits and cheeses. We’re elevating the idea of what a grocery store can be here,” said John Colgrove, president of the company’s Intermountain division.

The Market Street name and concept are also used for a chain of stores the company acquired in Texas in 2013.

Renderings for the Broadway store show a second-floor Talon Taphouse, as well as in in-store Starbucks.

Local BBQ joint owner says national chain copied his logo -- and fists

Brad Taylor's tattoo'ed fists, left and the Dickey's BBQ pit bag right have a remarkable similarity. Photos: Ryan Finn Photography and courtesy Brad Taylor.

Brad Taylor's tattoo'ed fists, left and the Dickey's BBQ pit bag right have a remarkable similarity. Photos: Ryan Finn Photography and courtesy Brad Taylor.

Brad Taylor has a love for BBQ.

In 2014, he opened a small restaurant in Boise’s Vista Village serving up barbecue meats and sides.

He’s so all-in on the business and the food that he had his knuckles tattooed with the restaurant’s name - BBQ4 LIFE.  He uses the image of his clenched fists with the BBQ 4LIFE lettering on a sign in his restaurant and the eatery's website.

But early last year, Taylor became aware of some marketing collateral from a much larger competitor that gave him cause for concern.

Some Dickey's Fans posted social media images like this one under the hashtag #Dickeys7

On a commemorative cup for the 75th anniversary of franchise chain Dickeys Barbecue Pit, a familiar image appeared: A set of hands, knuckles out with BBQ4 LIFE tatooed on them.  To make it worse, a small character that looked a bit like Brad’s own face with a speech bubble reading “Dickey’s Rocks” appeared between the fists on the black and white cups.

The image has a striking similarity to Brad's own brand - both personally and for his business.

“The best way to describe it is I feel violated,” Taylor told BoiseDev. “I would prefer that this never happened. We’ve worked really hard to get where we are. To have people think that WE copied Dickey’s doesn’t feel very good.”

Taylor worked with his attorneys to see what his options were.  But for a small single-location barbecue store to go up a chain with more than 560 restaurants is daunting.

“My big fear was do I want to get in a big giant fight with a big giant company,” Taylor said. “People say ‘you should go after them, you would definitely win!’ The odds are, I would get my butt kicked and lose a bunch of money.”

After Taylor and his attorneys sent a cease and desist letter last year, they began the process of obtaining an official trademark. Taylor says he hadn’t done this when his business first opened due to resources.

“I’m a small business. I don’t have a bunch of capital. That’s something big businesses do, it’s not set up for small businesses.”

A call to Callie Head, Public Relations Manager at Dickey's in Dallas was not returned.

Taylor hoped things would die down after the cease and desist letter last year.  But in January, he again saw the knuckles drawing.  Taylor and his company have the contract to operate the kitchen for the Ironwood Social event space in Garden City.

A group had booked the venue and said they had a connection to the local Dickeys franchise and had them cater the party.

“When I came back that evening to fire up the kitchen, all the food is sitting there, and now all the bags have my face and knuckles.  I went to sleep that night and woke up and was like ‘dang, this is really really frigging irritating.’ It made me wonder, are they currently printing my face and logo on their bags almost a year later?”

The BBQ4LIFE logo

The BBQ4LIFE logo

He thinks it can lead to confusion for people who have heard of his store.

“If you’ve heard of BBQ4 LIFE - then you’re looking at those bags and thinking “brad endorses Dickeys,’” he said. “I in no way endorse their food."

Taylor says he doesn't think the duplication was fully intentional - but suspects maybe it was a graphic designer who wasn't as careful as they should be.

"My suspicion, having seen people who do marketing work, is that a designer popped online, saw the knuckles and my face and thought 'I’ll build something off of that.' I don’t assume that they saw me and were like 'we are going to copy him.'"

Whatever led up to the graphic similarity, Taylor doesn't feel great about his options.

“The whole thing is just scary and frustrating,” he said “It’s really a bummer to see another company can just take your image and logo and use it - and you can’t do much about it unless you want to lose a bunch of money.”

Tanning club out, vet clinic in

Old Beach Club Tanning via Google Earth

Old Beach Club Tanning via Google Earth

The old Beach Club Tanning Salon on Beacon Street is going to the dogs.

And the cats.

Veterinary Wellness Centers has applied to convert the 1800 square foot space for routine checkups, vaccinations and minor injury care.

From the application:

"Veterinary Wellness Centers' goal is to simplify veterinary medicine. The majority of veterinary  outpatient visits require relatively low overhead and only a basic facility to achieve their objective. Following our model, we will make delivering veterinary care cost effective, efficient and pleasant for pet owners who want to give their pets the care and comfort they deserve."

The clinic will have dog and cat exam rooms, radiology, a lab and pharmacy and a ward for animals.

The project has to get a conditional use permit from the City of Boise, and that process is underway.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 9.58.49 AM.png

Cobby's closes Broadway Ave. store


Cobby's Sandwich Shops has closed its Broadway Ave. store near Boise State.

The store closed in late January, according to a post on the local chain's Facebook page.

Cobby's is a local chain, with locations on Overland in Boise and Chinden in Garden City -- those stores remain open.

The Broadway store was the original location, opened in the 1970s, and brought a unique aesthetic (the high front counter!) and fresh sandwiches to college students and others.

Thanks Jordan for the tip!

A new marquee on Broadway: Boise State to replace old sign


The large reader-board display for Boise State University on Broadway Ave. near the Boise River has seen better days.

Members of the Boise State Spirit Squad pose in front of the sign in December, 2015 - just shortly before it was turned off in time for reconstruction of the Broadway Bridge.

Members of the Boise State Spirit Squad pose in front of the sign in December, 2015 - just shortly before it was turned off in time for reconstruction of the Broadway Bridge.

The sign still carries a logo replaced by the school in 2012, and has seen its digital reader board turned off since early 2016.

A new, updated sign will feature a more contemporary look, with enhanced digital display board and current branding.

Boise State University Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing Greg Hahn says the new sign " is designed to reflect the campus look and feel through the brick pattern, which can be seen across campus, and that silver/aluminum accent from buildings like the student union building and environmental research building."

The updated sign is proposed to be slightly taller - 30' 11" versus the current 26' structure.  It will be slightly less wide, 17' 7" versus 21' 4" currently. The inset reader board would also be slightly larger.

Hahn notes the digital board won't feature video images - just stills - due to its placement on Broadway Ave., which is a state highway. 

"We have used it in the past to advertising big events on campus, Morrison Center, Taco Bell, athletics, big days on campus," he said.

The sign must pass the permitting process with the City of Boise.

The marquee originally had a twin on Capitol Blvd. near the Towers Dorm. Both signs were originally sponsored by First Security Bank which covered installation costs totaling about $160k per sign, according to the Arbiter in 1984.  The Capitol Blvd. sign was removed as part of a push to improve the visual coridoor from the Boise Depot to Idaho Statehouse.

See a photo of the marquee shortly after installation in the Boise State photo archives.

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Albertsons to build store in fast-growing Star

A real estate flyer for an adjacent parcel shows the new store site

A real estate flyer for an adjacent parcel shows the new store site

Another new Albertsons store is set to open in Ada County - this time in the community of Star.

The company purchased an 11.6 acre chunk of land on State St. near Can-Ada Rd., and is set to build a new store.

"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to both serve and support the Star community," Communications and Community Relations Manager Kathy Holland said. "Currently, we are working on plans for this new store location, however do not yet have a timeline in place."

Although Star is the smallest city in Ada County, it saw the fastest growth rate of any city over 5,000 residents in Idaho, according to Census data crunched by HomeSnacks. From 2010-2016, Star added 40% more people - not including the outlying areas.

The grocer has remodeled nearly every store it owns in Idaho, and has expanded with the purchase of Paul's Markets and planned construction of new stores in Boise's Barber Valley and Meridian. It also is building a new store at Broadway and Beacon that will replace a small aging store on the corner.

Bollards and planters and light poles: 8th St. to get revamp ahead of 'sunset'

A snowman on the Juniper patio in December. No snow now! Photo: Don Day

A snowman on the Juniper patio in December. No snow now! Photo: Don Day

The Capital City Development Corporation created its Central District in 1986. The tax increment financing district was the first of its kind in Boise, and funneled any increase in property tax collections from schools, police and the like over the the CCDC for improvements and other projects to help increase those property values.

Now, the 30ish-year time horizon for the central district is about to terminate - or 'sunset' as CCDC is calling it.

Before sun goes over the horizon, the agency is working to close out projects and spend the final tax dollars.

A flurry of projects centered on 8th Street between Main and Bannock is planned for the next few months. Construction is set to start March 5th - earlier than planned due to the mild Boise winter. Work should be wrapped up by June 1. Here's what's planned:

  • Replacing dying or declining trees
  • Upgrading tree planter covers to meet ADA rules
  • Old light poles to be replaced with new models with LED lighting
  • Temporary bike racks to be removed and replaced with permanent  ones
  • The planters that were removed last year will be swapped out for new, smaller ones
    • Says CCDC: "After extensive research and design regarding options for urban flower planters in downtown Boise, flower planters are the appropriate choice instead of hanging planters."
  • Adjusting sidewalk corners to add visibility markings and better grade transition
  • Retractable bollards will be installed to make closing the street easier for events like the Capital City Public Market

CCDC is working with a bunch of partners like the City of Boise, Downtown Boise Association and others.  The urban renewal agency will turn over 8th St. to the City of Boise later this year.

What’s up on 8th Street? Tree removal and sewer work closure

Photo courtesy Steve Dunlap

Photo courtesy Steve Dunlap

The Capitol City Development Commission has closed down the two blocks of 8th Street it owns between Main and Bannock Streets.

The popular “restaurant row” area is being used for staging crews and materials for a sewer line upgrade downtown. 8th Street is being used to limit impacts to traffic on 9th Street and Capitol Blvd.  

Cyclists, pedestrians and delivery trucks can still use 8th - but regular traffic is off-limits.

Work is expected to wrap up on February 13th.

Separately, large white “X” markings have been spray painted on some trees along 8th. These trees have been determined to have reached the “end of their life” and will soon be removed.  

 “This is common practice that Community Forestry uses all over the City. Those trees will be replaced by CCDC during the 8th Street Project,” CCDC Property Manager Ben Houpt said  

CCDC is planning a number of changes and improvements to 8th Street and connecting alleys on the Idaho to Bannock block as the upcoming termination of the original urban renewal district approaches.  

This story came from a tip on the BoiseDev Facebook group. Join the community! 

Old trolley tracks unearthed during downtown road work

Heap of history. Courtesy Jonah Shue.

Heap of history. Courtesy Jonah Shue.

Ada County Highway District crews are doing some roadwork in the area of 16th and State St. in the North End - and unearthed a giant pile of metal beams.

Courtesy Boise State University

Courtesy Boise State University

Turns out, according to ACHD spokesperson Nicole Du Bois, the metal is from old trolley tracks that once ran along State Street. The tracks are likely more than 100 years old - part of a trolley system that rolled through downtown Boise in the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th century.

The trolley system around the Downtown Boise core and out State St. and Warm Springs Ave. stretched more than seven miles, according to a paper from Boise State University.  The project got going in the 1890s but sputtered to a stop nearly 90 years ago:

May 17, 1928 marked the official end of the trolley era. At 6:00pm the trolleys were taken to the storage barn, the few remaining patrons were given bus schedules, as they had now replaced the trolley line. Sadly, little sorrow from the public accompanied the close of the trolleys. People had long been complaining about poor service, bumpy rides, and unsightly cracked pavement around the tracks. However, for the few that faithfully rode the trolleys, the engineers and conductors who maintained and ran them, it was the end of an era.

The City of Boise hopes to startup its own $100-million trolley system in coming years that would again ride the streets of Downtown Boise.  The project is technically approved by Boise City Council, but a funding source has not yet been identified. The city has identified $3.5 million in tax dollars to start work on the project.

ACHD is replacing a bridge over a culvert in the area, and will wrap up work in mid-February.

Not so Fast: Eddy's gas station to rise again (again)

Steve and Tracie Eddy have been building gas stations around the Treasure Valley since 1990.

And they've been selling them off to the Jacksons chain for more than 10 years.

The first round of a dozen or so stores underwent transformations to Jacksons in 2004.  The Eddys started building again in 2007 and built out three large sites with convenience stores, car washes and large fuel canopies.

Last year - the couple signed the three latest properties over to John Jackson once again.

Now, Fast Eddy's will rise again. For the third time  

A new store is planned for Eagle Rd. near Centerpoint St. - not too far from the Ustick Rd. intersection.  Signs on the site instruct drivers they should "get ready to be amazed," and replace older, faded signs that promised a Fast Eddy's car wash and lube facility.

Records with the City of Meridian show a 7,600 square foot car wash and 3,380 square foot quick lube, as well as a 1,393 square foot pay station building - spread across about five acres.

On Facebook, the Fast Eddy's folks noted excitement for the new store.

"We will be building the new prototype Fast Eddys at the Eagle Road location that will out do all prior locations put together."

The couple also owns a chunk of land at Ten Mile Rd. and McMillan Rd. - plans for that site have not yet been announced.

Asian grocery and restaurant set for old Hastings space

TradeViet Specialty Asian Foods is taking over the old Hastings Entertainment space on Overland Rd. in Boise.

The large former books and music store has been transformed into a specialty foods grocer focusing on Asian products, as well as a new restaurant facility.

Hastings left the Treasure Valley in 2016 - leaving medium-sized box spaces open in a variety of areas. In SE Boise, the store was converted into a new D&B Supply, while the store on Fairview is slated to be partially demolished to make way for CVS.

Another, slightly smaller, Asian supermarket is planned for Cole Rd. and Ustick in Boise - part of an idea to remodel a shopping center with Asian-style architecture.

In Bleubird’s wake, new craft sandwich joint set for Downtown

A new locally-owned deli is set for the 8th Street Marketplace in downtown Boise.  

The entrance to the future Tasso. Photo by Joe Jaszewski  

The entrance to the future Tasso. Photo by Joe Jaszewski  

Tasso will soon open in the former Fresh Off The Hook spot at 8th St. and Broad St. 

The menu will feature sandwiches ranging from ham with manchego to smoked steelhead with cream cheese. Salads, chili and soups round out the offerings.  

Heres how restaurant owners describe the joint: 

  • (E)verything at tasso is made from scratch. we believe purchasing the finest base ingredients yields the finest end product and are committed to providing our customers with a delicious and unique meal every visit.  

The deli will be open only Tuesday-Saturday, with an 11am lunch opening and 4pm happy hour. according to its website.  It is set to welcome diners in February  

Tasso will open after another artisanal sandwich shop located elsewhere downtown, Bileubird, closes its doors later this week.  

Bagel joint with split personality planned for Downtown

Courtesy PRCR

Courtesy PRCR

Consider the strange case of a bagel bakery by day and a bar by night. 

The old Pita Pit on Main St. in Downtown Boise is about to get a new personality - a split personality.

Jekyll & Hyde is slated for 746 W. Main St. next to the Egyptian, where the Pita Pit franchise pulled up stakes last summer.

According to a creative brief posted by a Spokane ad agency, Jekyll and Hyde Bagel Company will feature bagels and the like in the morning - with music, drinks and greasy bagel sandwiches at night.

But much like Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel - Jekyll & Hyde will actually be one person, er -- restaurant.

Marketer speak:

The brand and identity of Jekyll & Hyde takes on a professional, clean-cut aesthetic that changes to a wild and deviously fun feel. This represents the J&H concept of changing it’s (sic) personality and offerings from open to close. We’ve created a fluid brand with marks that work in a variety of shapes and sizes. Complete with a bright, contrasted color palette that envelopes both a professional and lively feel, the brand in it’s entirety appeals to an adult demographic that is professional by day and knows how to let loose after hours.

No filings with the City of Boise to remodel the space just yet.

Someone bit a face out of my bagel. Courtesy PRCR

Someone bit a face out of my bagel. Courtesy PRCR

Another classic Boise drive-thru restaurant closes

Courtesy Burger Time Facebook

Courtesy Burger Time Facebook

College In And Out. The Wave. Chow Now. Rockie's Diner Fairview.

Burger Time.

Another classic local Boise drive-in restaurant has closed.

Classic burgers-shakes-and-fries joint Burger Time on Orchard St. near Overland Rd. closed abruptly last week.  The restaurant last changed hands in 2012 but has now closed up shop, leaving menu boards dark and the retro car crowd looking for a new haunt.

The business acted as a nostalgia hub for the Boise Bench - hosting those Saturday night hot rod shows and even giving a stage to Statesman columnist Tim Woodward's class rock band The Mystics on occasion.

The business' phone was disconnected, and efforts to track down owner Rennie Cloninger were not successful. 

Boise Marie Callendar's to close its doors


A staple of the Boise dining scene is closing up shop.

Marie Callendar's Restaurant and Bakery will shut down after dinner this Friday January 26th, an employee confirms.

The Fairview Ave. restaurant has been serving pie and comfort food for decades, with a focus on holiday deserts. It is the only Idaho location and will not reopen. Employees were told the restaurant lost its lease.

Landmark downtown restaurant could soon lose its lease
- Meridian Corner Bakery closes its doors

Marie Callendar's has nearly 60 restaurants - with more than 50 in California, two in Utah and four in the Las Vegas area. The chain also licenses its name to ConAgra Foods, which manufactures a line of pies and frozen dinners.

This story came from the BoiseDev Facebook group - join the community!