Coffeehouse, bowling, games, bars, and food headed for new Downtown Boise entertainment district

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It’s a key block in Downtown Boise – and for years, it sat mostly vacant.

The former Louie’s Restaurant and Old Spaghetti Factory locations on Idaho Street collected dust for years. Louie’s since 2007, and OSF since 2013.

Now, new owners hope to bring new tenants – and life – to the block.

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Barclay Group acquired the two properties in 2018. Work will begin shortly to bring a new entertainment district to Idaho St. between 6th St. and Capitol Blvd.

“I think both buildings have been empty for far too long,” Barclay’s Ryan Gaston said. “We think Idaho Street is a missed opportunity. This redevelopment is going to create a synergy that will pull people from the 8th street restaurants and Main St. bars.”

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Four entertainment businesses will fill up the long-vacant spaces: Caffeina, Western Social, and two bar/restaurant type businesses to be announced.

Western Social: ‘something for everyone’

In 2018, Melissa Levick and her husband Cary Prewitt opened Western Collective in Garden City. The brewery and tasting room feature 23 taphandles, plus beer and wine.

Now, Levick and Prewitt will expand to downtown Boise. Beyond just beer, Western Social will add an experiential entertainment destination to downtown, as well as a restaurant and more.

Rendering of the planned facade for the new Western Social in Boise. Via Stack Rock Group

“The idea is a place where you can come and have whatever experience you want,” Marissa Lovell, a Western Social spokesperson said. “If you want to have a business meeting, there will be a space for that. An event, a space for that. If you want to get together with friends and get a little rowdy with some games you can do that.  There’s something for everyone.”

It’s a return to history of sorts. The building originally opened as the first 20th Century Lanes location. Lately, folks know it as the empty Spaghetti Factory. Soon it will come alive again with a variety of adult-focused games. A four-lane mini-bowling center, foosball, a few pinball games, shuffleboard, mini-basketball hoops and Skeeball will anchor the space.

A full restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

“It will be upscale comfort food, with an upscale, unique flair,” Lovell said.

A concert hall with space for about 400 people will also weave into the building. Lovell said this won’t be the main focus, but they hope to do a variety of concerts and shows.

The patio along Idaho St. will reopen, and connect to the restaurant with new rollup doors.

Inside, large communal tables with power outlets will give a space for working and meeting, as well as a living room area and two full bars. In addition to Western Collective’s beer offerings, they also plan a full cocktail program.

It’s a return to history for the Old Spaghetti building. The building popped up in about 1930 and served as the first home of Twentieth Century Lanes. Over time it became an archery range, long-time home of Capitol Lithograph – and finally the restaurant use.

Caffeina brings local coffee and cafe

Caffeina (pronounced caff-ee-EN-uh) started in 2018 as an outgrowth of the local Coffee Studio drive-thrus. Now, the business continues to expand, adding its third location in a part of town known for coffee shops. The newest location will go into a large space on the ground floor of the former Louie’s building.

“I think that with the influx in Boise, there is room for all of us,” co-owner Lyndsey Hopkins said.

Hopkins and Kris Price of Crooked Fence Brewing paired for the operation. Like their first two stores, on State St. and on Overland Rd., this location will be tailored to the neighborhood.

“For Caffeina, we want to focus on a larger coffeehouse model – and really just to give people more space to come in,” Hopkins said. “We focus on where we are putting these shops and who is going to be coming into them – the vibe, the ambiance – the part of town. We have great coffee, personable customer service – we’re in the people business – and connect with everyone that comes into our shops.”

Hopkins said she’s excited to get to work on the space.

“I think what’s cool about our process is we walk into a space and the neighborhood and really get into our own heads about what could work down there.”

Caffeina Coffee Roasting Company p
The existing Caffeina Coffee Roasting Company on Overland Rd. in Boise. Photo courtesy Lyndsey Hopkins

The future home to Caffeina first sprung up in 1940, when Benito Ysursa spent $26,000 to build the 9,000 square foot building for a Basque Boarding. Over the years, it’s been a number of concepts – most recent Louie’s. But since 2007, the building sat empty. Much of the building’s 1940s-era Moderne architectural styling is still intact.

Gaston said his company will work to enhance the exterior of this building without any major changes due to its “contributing” status and inclusion in the Old Boise historic district.

Inside, Hopkins said she and Lodge will work to build an inviting space where downtown workers and visitors can hang out while enjoying Caffeina’s coffee and food. They plan a separate banquet space for upwards of 50 people, and more to come.

“We want it to feel more like a brewery – an industrial cafe type of look.”

More announcements ahead

With Caffeina and Western Social locked in, Gaston said he hopes to announce two more tenants for the second floor of the Louie’s building. Exterior work will start soon – the first permits went into the City of Boise last week.

He says he hopes all four entertainment-focused businesses will be open by late spring or early fall.

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