Cameron Lumsden is no stranger to Italian cuisine. The restaurateur helped open the successful Flatbread Community Oven Neapolitan pizza chain before opening the locally focused Northwest eatery Fork in early 2011. And now, Lumsden has his eyes set on another concept.
"We are taking over the Palmercash space, it's about 2,200 square feet," Lumsden explained. "It'll be a 70-seat restaurant--full-bar, full service. And keeping in line with our company philosophy ... it's going to be a locally inspired Italian concept."
Fork's Executive Chef Wiley Earl will oversee the still-unnamed restaurant from a culinary standpoint, serving up house-made pastas. The kitchen will be open for lunch and dinner, while bartenders sling craft cocktails behind the U-shaped bar.
"The fine dining touches will be there similar to Fork, but we like the approachable price point. We don't want to get into the fine-dining business," Lumsden said.
Lumsden plans to open by late November or early December 2012.
Speaking of new concepts, The Venue, 521 W. Broad St., is known for loud, all-ages punk rock shows. But owners Jenean and Johann Claus hope it will soon be known for coffee, pastries, paninis, beer and wine.
The couple took over The Venue in summer of 2011 and began planning for a restaurant, the Beatnik Cafe, two months ago.
"We really want to have a space that's going to be open and available for people in the community during the day," Johann said.
The Beatnik Cafe will offer coffee, espresso and pastries in the morning, hot sandwiches and soups at lunch, and mini pizzas, pretzels, nachos, beer and wine in the evening.
Johann isn't worried about underage drinking becoming a problem because drinks will stay in a segregated area and not be allowed on the dance floor.
The cafe hopes to open by September.
And moving from punk to pork, Meridian will host the Northwest Ribfest Saturday, June 30, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, July 1, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. The free event will feature teams competing for a $10,000 top prize, along with live music, more than 100 vendors, margarita gardens and a $10,000 fishing derby. For more information, visit helpidaho.com/ribfest.