Along 8th Street on Downtown Boise’s restaurant row, most of the dining establishments started back up and running this summer. But one, right at the key corner with Freak Alley, remains closed.
Juniper closed during the pandemic, but reopened in May. On July 5th, the restaurant shuttered again with signs indicating it would stay dark until Boise moved back to phase four.
Now, owner Shannon Lincoln says they are taking this opportunity to make some changes and adjustments at the popular New American restaurant and cocktail bar.
“We decided it was a better time than we ever could have imagined – this is definitely a better time than if we had to shut down during (normal times),” Lincoln told BoiseDev.
A suite of changes will update some of the physical aspects of Juniper’s restaurant and bar – but the food and cocktails will also get updates.
“We’re redoing all the surfaces and putting in some booth seating. It’s more pandemic-friendly if this goes on for a while,” Lincoln said. “It will be cozier in there. The bar layout is going to change a bit – we are completely redoing the bar are and seating. It’s fairly extensive.”
Building permits are already into the City of Boise, and Lincoln – who owns Juniper along with husband and partner Kasey Montgomery, hopes to open back up this November.
Food and drink changes, too
When the tall black glass doors do swing open again, an updated menu and cocktail program will greet guests.
“We are evolving it a little bit,” she said. “With the cocktail program, we are going back to our roots – fast and fresh and a little more simple. We started out doing that and it was great in the beginning and has needed a little bit of a revamp.”
Lincoln said they are “really excited” about changes to the food menu – but she wasn’t ready to detail just how things would change on the plate.
“We’ve always been the true farm-to-table (restaurant), very very local oriented. Our chef is very excited about this new program. It’s going to be very friendly and approachable but still very local – it’s still going to be recognizable to folks who visited before.”
Lincoln and Montgomery, who also launched the Red Bench Pizza locations on Vista Ave. and Eagle Rd. said they knew Juniper needed some TLC. While Red Bench continues to serve up pies, the Juniper closure gave them the opportunity to tweak.
“We’ve known for a long time we’ve needed to do something – and this seems like the right time to do this,” Lincoln said. “We’re investing some money into a restaurant on 8th so it seems like a bit of a crazy leap. But at some point, I think (we all) have to come back. we want to make it the best space we possibly can and put forward the best product we can.”