All Over the Restaurant Map
This last weekend, I discovered just how painful it can be to find decent food in Eagle on a Sunday. Pamela's, Willowcreek and Seasons were all closed, which left me with what proved to be a completely failed restaurant experience at one of the few open joints. I won't out the restaurant here, but suffice it to say that I'll never go back, and the next time I'm in Eagle on a Sunday, I'll drive straight to Boise for grub.
Eagle has lost a handful of restaurants over the last year, among them SixOneSix, Franco Latino, Cheerleaders, the Original Pancake House, and one that I was particularly sad to see go: Eagle Rib Shack. I swear I can still smell burnt ends and the loaded smashed potatoes every time I go by its now-empty location. As I passed by this weekend, I had to explain to my shocked dining companion (who hadn't heard the rib shack has closed) what had happened to the once always-busy restaurant. Apparently, a few of you missed the story. After the owners spent years battling the city over a heated tent erected to accommodate wintertime patrons, Eagle Rib Shack finally got fed up, pulled roots and relocated to Meridian, where it shed its geographically specific moniker and became Andrew's Rib Shack. Unfortunately, that venture was short-lived and before I could get my rib fix, the rib shack was gone altogether. These days, owners Andrew Petrehn and his wife Saundra McDavid are running the Rib Shack as a catering-only business until the credit market loosens up and they can open another location. The couple was spotlighted in a May 2009 New York Times article for their new approach to business, and it's one that another couple is taking a stab at.
Three weeks ago, the Old Havana Cafe began catering in hopes of building a modest clientele before opening a brick-and-mortar location. Run by the Cuban-born husband and wife team Raul and Raysa Diaz, the Old Havana Cafe makes twice weekly deliveries of homemade Cuban food. Monday and Wednesday, the couple bakes their own bread to ensure a more authentic experience, while Tuesdays the couple delivers in Eagle and Thursdays in downtown Boise. No delivery fee. No minimum charge.
For now, it's just a lunch menu, which includes slow roasted pork sandwiches, flank steak platters, croquettas, papas rellenas (described as "buttery mashed potato balls filled with seasoned ground beef and lightly breaded" ... uh, yes, please), plantain chips and a rotating daily special. Raul Diaz says dinner is in the future and he hopes to be able to accomplish it with deliveries in reusable containers that would go straight to customers' place of work before they head home.
Also in the future, says Diaz, is a proper cafe. Once they build up a loyal following, he and his wife are hoping to open a small cafe reminiscent of what was found circa 1940 in the old section of Havana, complete with Cuban music and always-turning ceiling fans. They want a cafe, says Diaz, that is "the place where Hemingway would hang around." Count me in.
Last but not least in this week's restaurant drivel are a few updates. Boise lost Chef Lou's at Eighth Street. I sadly bid adieu to the chef's monte cristo; it was the best in town. And Idaho Fry Company and the Idaho Potato Commission have reached an agreement on the former's name change. According to a release from the Idaho Potato Commission, the fry company will change its name to Boise Fry Company before Aug. 31, and the commission will help the small, locally owned business fund the name change.