Soda fountains are making a big comeback across the country. And Boise is no exception.
The Soda Works, a new shop located at 3017 W. State St., is chocked full of sodas in every color of the rainbow. It's a small space, but with a smiling face behind the cash register and neatly arranged shelves, it doesn't feel crowded. Soda flavors range from the mundane, like cola and root beer, to the exotic, like pineapple, grapefruit, raspberry and cucumber.
Gabrielle Krake, who founded The Soda Works with her husband, mother and aunt, said the store currently stocks 108 flavors and will likely get more, including sodas from other countries.
Krake said it was critical that her family only stock products that use natural cane sugar.
"Our other criteria was to do five ingredients or less," she said. Brushing her fingertips over a gleaming row of green, orange and yellow sodas, she scanned their ingredient labels. "Every single one of these has four, five, even three ingredients. And they're independently bottled."
The Soda Works also stocks an unusual new cola made with Stevia rather than high fructose corn syrup or aspartame.
"There are no calories, and when they're cold, they taste just like a Diet Coke," said Krake.
In addition to soda, The Soda Works carries canned coffee, yerba mate and green tea energy drinks, sparkling ciders, packages of hot cocoa and, of course, an array of snacks to accompany the drinks.
Many of the treats available are natural and gluten-free.
"It's cool stuff that you haven't seen before," Krake said, walking past a shelf full of gluten-free snacks.
The Soda Works advertises itself as a haven for the unusual and the nostalgic, which is evident in customers' reactions. An excited group of children pored over the refrigerator case and challenged one another to test new flavors. Their chaperone gestured to a display of Mountain Bars and told Krake, "Oh, I used to love these."
The Soda Works opened on Nov. 4. They will hold a grand-opening celebration today, from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., with tastings and small snacks available. But don't be daunted by the limited parking available in front—there is a large parking lot behind the building, with access to the shop through the back door.
Normal hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, at 3017 W. State St.