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Anne Leibow

Building a unique downtown business, using the proper smoke on the BBQ and grilling with Wi-Fi



The Weekend BBQ Store on Sixth Street, directly across from Boise City Hall, is tucked into a tiny space of the Pioneer Building and, true to its name, it is only open Thursday-Sunday.

Owner Anne Leibow couldn't stop long enough for a sit-down interview, but between a steady flow of customers, she spoke about the origins of her store, the limited hours and how all things barbecue are hot items.

You're from Denmark. Yes?

I never thought I would move to the states, but I met my husband, an American, in Copenhagen 28 years ago. We first moved to Chicago and then to Boise in 2000. It was our dream to live somewhere near the Rocky Mountains. I adore skiing—I was once a ski guide at a French resort, one of the biggest in the world.

Tell me about when you moved to Boise.

It was unbelievable: So friendly, so welcoming. We promised ourselves from that moment we would spend the rest of our lives giving back to the community.

Speaking of which, I see a big sign behind your counter, promoting the Women's and Children's Alliance.

Two percent of every sale goes to the WCA. We send them a big check every quarter.

I must say, traditionally if I wanted to buy a grill, I think I would go to Costco, Lowe's or Home Depot. But you chose this space in the Pioneer Building, and here we are in a fully-stocked grill grill store in the middle of downtown Boise.

We truly wanted to be downtown. There's so much going on. So, on Thanksgiving weekend of 2015, we opened our doors. The Downtown Boise Association, Mayor Dave Bieter and our building owner Clay Carley were all instrumental in us getting this space.

I'm trying to wrap my head around why you would be open only three days a week.

It keeps our overhead cost down and we pass the savings to our customers. And quite frankly, our schedule builds up anticipation for the weekend.

I'm taking a look at your barbecue grill and I must say, these would not have been my grandfather's grills. They're pretty spectacular. I've got my eye on a Traeger...

It's a Traeger Timberline. It connects to your Wi-Fi.

Wait a minute... What?

You can save a recipe to an app. When you get home, it syncs with your grill. The grill then knows how to warm-up and when to bring the heat down for the perfect use of the flavored smoke. You monitor it from anywhere, especially the kitchen while you're working on your other dishes.

How much is it?

About $1,700, and a bigger version is $2,000. It has three tiers for cooking, is double-walled stainless steel, and it knows to force the smoke out in a cooking cycle so only the newest, most beautiful smoke is preparing your entree.

Let's talk about the specially-flavored smoke.

We only sell 100 percent hardwood: apple, alder, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, oak and pecan. Then there are different blends, specifically for big game or Thanksgiving turkeys.

Can I assume you and your husband and daughters are big grillers?

We're always busy, but we always want something coming off the grill, like smoked kale salad or maybe a grilled chicken breast marinated in olive oil. On weekends, it's a tri-tip, seafood or burgers.

You know there's a cliche that would have us believe it's only men who are grill-crazy.

There's no reason why women can't be side-by-side or take over the grilling. I tell a lot of women to start with appetizers—smoked salmon, for example—and if you've got a garden, you've got to be grilling those vegetables.

A lot of people prefer gas or charcoal grills. What makes smoke so much better?

It's an entirely different experience. The wood gives a little bit of moisture back to the meat or seafood. It's an indirect cooking system, so your food doesn't sit straight on the flame, and the grease drips to a bucket, so you don't have any backfire.

Can I assume that you saw a lot of business for Father's Day?

Then there's the Fourth of July. It's non-stop through the summer.

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