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Wild Root branches out with new owners, dinner, cocktails – and protein

Idaho's Biggest Toy Drive
Future in Focus Downtown - Mutual of America

Another restaurant on Downtown Boise’s Restaurant Row started making changes recently. Wild Root Cafe picked up new owners earlier this year – Dan Watts and Samantha Foster. The pair now own two restaurants on the block, after they purchased Saint Lawrence Gridiron around the corner earlier this year.

Now, the popular vegan and vegetarian lunch spot along 8th Street will build on its current offerings and expand.

Foster said they came to Boise looking for new opportunities. After Watts wrapped up a career cooking and later in food management at Google and other companies, he looked for his next act.

Changes on Boise’s 8th Street food scene

“He was looking for a new project, and I had just taken him to lunch at St. Lawrence,” Foster said. “Three weeks later he got in his inbox (a notification that) St. Lawrence was for sale. We purchased it in February about a month before COVID hit.”

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They made tweaks to Saint Lawrence, but then heard original owners Michael and Anne-Marie Trebbi wanted to sell Wild Root.

“We thought it was just too good to pass up,” Foster said. “You can’t beat being on 8th Street.”

Wild Root will keep its core offerings for lunch, but a new dinner service will come online, and brunch will expand to both Saturday and Sunday.

Seafood at night

The new dinner program will focus on seafood.

“Tyson Mann – our chef at Wild Root for three years – his background is in seafood,” she said. “His parents were seafood boat captains and he really wanted to do seafood. No one is doing something really seafood-focused downtown. To have it as a primary focus for dinner will work well on 8th Street.”

Wild Root will offer dinner four nights a week to start, Wednesday through Saturday. That could expand next summer.

They’ve also added some seafood-focused dishes at brunch, including a crab cake benedict.

A new cocktail program is also up and running, as well as beer, wine and sake.

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But Foster said, ultimately, the core of Wild Root won’t change.

“Existing customers can expect the same high-quality vegetarian-focused dishes – and new people can find those same dishes but add protein to them. We have the bone broth – which is beef or chicken — if you’re not vegetarian/vegan you can add soft boiled egg or chicken… a lot of our dishes are very flexible in that sense.”

Wild Root hopes to add a tented space along 8th Street to help accomodate diners outside as the weather in Boise continues to turn colder. Foster said they are working on permits now.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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