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Mona Lisa Closing, Native Taters Sold

Plus all the deets on Dine Out Downtown Boise Restaurant Week

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The Mona Lisa smile has turned to a frown in Nampa. The long-standing fondue restaurant announced on Oct. 26 via Facebook that it will be closing its doors on Saturday, Dec. 31.

"With the economy being so down, we've been fighting for years and years and years," explained the Mona Lisa co-owner Dustin Mori. "We lost our home through this thing. We've just been fighting for so long, we just decided we need to do something else to pay our bills."

According to Mori, he and wife Angie are considering opening another restaurant in the Treasure Valley, but no definite plans have been made at this time.

"I know restaurants, I've been working in restaurants for forever. ... We've been here for 13 years now," said Mori. "That's the direction I'm going but I don't really know exactly what I'm going to do next."

In the meantime, the Mona Lisa will post rotating specials on Facebook each week in November, like "poor college student week" or "wine lover's week." Mori also encouraged couples to come pick up their remaining love letters.

"We have a bunch of people that have messages in a bottle here--it's where people come in on their anniversaries and they write a love letter to each other and then we keep It here in a bottle and they come back on their next year," said Mori. "We have thousands of those still here so we'd like to have people come and get their bottles or get their messages and hopefully just eat while they're here."

Twice a year in New York City, penny-pinching gastronomes get a chance to sit at some of the city's most coveted tables. Restaurant Week, as it has been dubbed, offers reasonably priced pre-fixe menus at spots that can often be prohibitively expensive.

Following in those footsteps, Boise will host Dine Out Downtown Boise Restaurant Week, which runs Thursday, Nov. 3, through Thursday, Nov. 10. Produced by the Downtown Boise Association, in partnership with Boise Weekly, 94.9 FM The River, Sysco, Deschutes Brewery and Trinchero Family Estate, Restaurant Week will feature rad deals at some of downtown's most-desirable spots. Participating eateries include:

Angell's Bar and Grill, Bacon, Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery, Berryhill and Co., Bonefish Grill, Brick Oven Bistro, Brickyard Steakhouse, Emilio's, Flatbread Community Oven, Fork, Lock Stock and Barrel, The Matador, The Melting Pot, The Piper Pub and Grill, Protos Pizza, Red Feather Lounge, Reef, Solid Grill and Bar, and Superb Sushi.

Restaurants will offer patrons a two-course lunch for $10 per person, a two-course dinner for $15, or a three-course dinner for $30. Also, if you want something quaffable to wash back your meal, Deschutes Brewery and Trinchero Family Estate will offer beer and wine pairings. No special passes or tickets are required but resos are recommended.

For more info, visit downtownboise.org.

On the food-truck front, Native Taters owner Sami Lauritsen officially sold the popular truck to Quentin Williams.

"I just think it was time," said Lauritsen. "My husband passed away, and it was kind of our dream. Basically, when he retired, he was going to be working with me again and we were just a team."

Though Lauritsen passed the keys along almost two months ago, Williams has only been open for the past two weeks at the bottom of Protest Hill and Boise Avenue, near the Tobacco Connection.

"He's changed the menu. He's kept some things and added some things," said Lauritsen. "It will eventually kind of veer around to be his little baby."

Though Williams will still make the famous Philly sandwich and the baked potato soup, he's expanded the menu to be more wrap-friendly.

"I've got this thing called Rasta Wraps. I've got a Reuben sandwich that's in a wrap with fresh cabbage instead of sauerkraut. I've got a chicken Caesar wrap. I've got a build-your-own wrap. I've got an Idaho potato wrap," said Williams. "I also have the Wakin' Bacon wrap, which is a breakfast-type wrap, and the wrap is actually ... a thin pancake or a thick crepe. It has maple cream cheese in it, eggs and turkey bacon."

For more info on the new Native Taters, call 208-860-3807.

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