You might've noticed the sleek gray paint job on the recently remodeled Owyhee building, but there are even more exciting renovations going on behind the scenes. The historic 1910 hotel's former restaurant and lounge have gotten a major overhaul and will soon reopen under the name Kindness. Owners Anna and Michael Tapia, formerly of Tapia Family Catering and Tapia's Gourmet, will serve New American fare with a Mediterranean twist in the 100-seat space.
Anna, the restaurant's chef, will craft "kicked up" yet accessible classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think muffuletta sandwiches, elk medallions, fresh-made pastas and the Southern staple: meat and two, where you select a protein and two sides.
"Basically what we try to do with everything--with the service and the food--it's kicked up; it's upscale but it's comfortable," said Michael. "It's not a pretentious place."
The restaurant's decor will stay relatively simple.
"There won't be a lot of decoration, mainly because we inherited the last classic architecture that's left in the building. ... Some of the original 1910 tile is still going to be visible in our new lounge," said Michael.
In addition to operating the restaurant and lounge, the Tapias will also cater larger events in the building, including live music nights that will be open to the public on the rooftop terrace.
"Beyond the restaurant, we will be catering in the newly remodeled Owyhee Ballroom, which will have the capacity for sit-down dinners of about 340. And that can be divided into three different spaces for smaller events," said Michael. "And also we've got the rooftop penthouse and that can seat 80 people and then another 80 or 90 people out on the big terrace."
Kindness has a grand opening slated for Wednesday, July 9. As for the name, Michael says it's more of an overarching philosophy.
"It's about treating people well; about being kind. Really being at people's service. ... It's an aspiration and it's also a promise and also it's an expectation," said Michael. "It's funny how polarizing that name is, actually. Some people really love it and some people shake their heads. In a weird way, I like that."
For more info on Kindness, visit kindnessboise.com.
And in other downtown renovation news, husband-and-wife duo Kacey Montgomery and Shannon Lincoln are converting the former Cazba space at 211 N. Eighth St. into a new local, seasonal, small-plates concept called Juniper.
"The space will be 100 percent completely redone," said Montgomery, a former owner-operator at Matador. "We've gutted it and there are some really cool features that have been covered up that we're excited about."
Picture a 120-seat space with a "modern rustic feel," including exposed brick, big windows, interesting fabrics and chandelier lighting.
"We're not going for a pub vibe at all, but we're not going for Chandlers," said Montgomery. "I think it'll be really comfortable."
Though chef Aaron Wermerskirchen is still fine-tuning Juniper's menu, Montgomery said it will feature updated classics with a seasonal focus and a bit of a Southern flair.
"We're going to do snacks, small plates and that'll be the bulk of the menu, and then we'll probably have five or six main entrees. We'll also cook with juniper," he said.
Naturally, juniper will also make an appearance on the cocktail menu.
"We're really going to focus on classic cocktails; gin-forward," Montgomery said. "We'll do a lot of house-made simple syrups and probably some house-made bitters and that sort of thing, but just from a production standpoint, we'll probably stay away from four-liquor cocktails."
In addition to a smaller fixed menu, Juniper will have a larger fresh sheet menu that rotates regularly. That will allow the restaurant to be "a little bit more flexible" with using local ingredients when they're available.
The spot will also offer a 10-seat chef's table with five courses and two nightly seatings for around $40-$45 a person.
"I think that's going to be a great avenue to really highlight some ingredients that people are growing around here," said Montgomery.
Juniper will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and brunch and dinner Saturdays and Sundays. The spot plans to be open by mid-June.