Shortly after plans were announced to widen Ustick Road a few years ago, Delsa's Ice Cream Parlour became everyone's favorite endangered diner. Back then, a four-lane Ustick meant Delsa's would lose most of its parking, and that would lead to its demise. Eventually, Delsa's did lose most of its parking lot to Ustick's shiny new pavement, and eventually, the decades-old restaurant did close.
And then the dudes who own the kick-ass Capri bought it--ice cream recipes intact--and lined out new parking alongside the building, installed a stamped concrete patio over the former dust bowl in front and even gave the inside a colorful facelift.
The small dining room is painted electric aqua blue, and together with the white and glitter-red booths, the combination summons retro diner better than ever.
With a full dining room ahead of me and a long line behind me at lunch recently, I ordered hastily. A few minutes later I was sucking a thick strawberry shake (soft-serve vanilla mixed with strawberry syrup and topped with fresh strawberries) from the shake-covered bottom of the straw. Not long after that, I rubbed together my oily fingertips, the greasy and disappointing result of my foray into a basket of fish and chips ($6.50), and went in search of napkins. Once I had clean hands, I wrapped them around half a bacon cheeseburger ($5.49) and held on until I'd gnawed it down to single-hand size so that I could reach for my milkshake. I marveled for one second aloud about how the hefty burger bun was holding its own against the gnarled bacon and bedrock of lettuce, and then popped a Tater Tot into my mouth. Unlike the fries, the tots were hot and crispy. Like the fries, the tots needed ketchup and salt. Like the napkins, the salt and ketchup required an excursion. It was then I was faced with a dilemma: loosen my death grip on my burger, put it down and watch it topple over, or get up burger in hand. Topple it did and it was all Humpty Dumpty after that.
A few days later, on a visit for dinner, I had more time to read over the menu and noticed a few things I'd missed before: a selection of salads and a row of sandwiches, including a club, a French dip and a Philly. I thought briefly about lunch, which in retrospect I'd described as "fine-enough diner food" but the kind of place where the onions arrive pre-cut and ready to be served.
But I'd come for dinner, so I stuck to my guns and ordered a banana split ($4.79) and hot fudge brownie sundae ($3.49). Choosing among the homemade ice cream flavors is no easy task, even though only about a dozen flavors of the 40 Delsa's makes are readily available.
My date and I took a high table and stared down a boat of whip cream, hot fudge-topped cheesecake ice cream, caramel-topped chocolate ice cream and two long slices of banana. Then we shifted our stare to a bucket of chocolate marshmallow ice cream topped with whipped cream and chunks of brownie. We dove in, did as much damage as possible before surrendering and passed one final judgment: ice cream is king at Delsa's.
--Rachael Daigle is king of nothing.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Delsa's Ice Cream Parlour.