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‘Couldn’t be happier:’ Classic drive-thru Hungry Onion reopens after closure, dessert venture

Last year, BoiseDev told you about the closure of Meridian’s Hungry Onion. After nearly 60 years in business, the grills stopped operating on the iconic drive-thru restaurant a stone’s throw from city hall.

But this harvest season, owners dug up the Onion once again, and peeled back some layers for a new experience.

Owner Aaron Mayovsky, grandson of the Gingrich family that owned the longtime Meridian standby, said he wanted to bring the drive-thru back to its roots.

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“What prompted the change back was the fact that I didn’t want to see my grandparent’s restaurant close up and go away,” he said in an email to BoiseDev.

After the restaurant closed late last year, it sat empty for a time. Mayovsky later opened Great Shakes in the building this spring – but the classic Hungry Onion signage remained up. He said the diversion into a dessert-only spot gave him time to prepare for the full restaurant to spring back to life.

From shakes to the Onion

“We switched up to shakes and ice cream for a bit because there were so many repairs that needed to happen inside and underneath the building,” Mayovsky said. “Also, the equipment was super old. I did all the repairs to the building myself and bought all new equipment, including a grill and fryers.”

Like Garden City’s Ranch Club, the Hungry Onion popped up in the 1980 film Bronco Billy, starring Clint Eastwood. Former co-owner Brooke Robbins told Meridian Press in 2017 Eastwood enjoyed one of their burgers. Now the burger is now known as the Bronco Billy on the restaurant’s menu.

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That menu largely returns, though some new options now appear.

The restaurant reopened Friday – and Mayovsky said he was pleased at the reaction.

“It was amazing. The community rallied around us and we were so busy we could barely keep up,” he said. “This weekend’s business alone paid for the entire investment (in upgrades) and I couldn’t be happier.”

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at don@boisedev.com.

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