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Food News: New Restaurants Downtown

Plus news of the annual Wing-off and a Rogue Beerfest


Fresh Meat Setting up Shop in Downtown Boise

In January, Ruth's Chris Steak House, the world's largest fine-dining company in the world, told BW that it had solidified a deal to open a Boise location in the second quarter of 2009. Second quarter has come and almost gone, and we ain't seen nothing yet. Without any sign of life at the rumored location, we dialed up Ruth's Chris once again to verify that the latest gossip bouncing through the grapevine about the uber-fine steak house—that it was no longer interested in B-town—was true.

Grapevine wrong.

Mark Robbins, the local franchisee for Ruth's Chris Steak House, told BW that the deal is still on, although the location and an opening date have yet to be determined.

If you've been reading Idaho Business Review lately, you know that downtown Boise is about to get a whole mess of new eateries. While you were all out preening in the Memorial Day sunshine, IBR posted news of new restaurants.

• Falcon Tavern is in the middle of its move to the former Satchel's Grill space on Bannock.

• The French-Vietnamese restaurant Pho Nuveau will give Mai Thai a run for its money when it moves into Falcon Tavern's former space on Idaho Street. (Best thing about food in Vietnam: fresh croissants in the morning, pho for dinner. Ah, fusion.)

• The MilkyWay space has a new tenant: Sweetwater Jam House from Portland, Ore. Although a Caribbean-themed restaurant seems like a mighty familiar venture (hello, Reef in its original incarnation?), BW proofreader Annabel Armstrong says she's eaten at the Portland restaurant and it's super fab. Can't wait.

• Shige will expand his second-floor empire by acquiring Gino's former space for teppanyaki.

• And last but not least, California-based franchise Chronic Tacos is going in on Main Street in the space that was the much missed Le Poulet Rouge.

Wing It

OK, Wing Masters, it's that time of year again when you get to put your money where your mouth is and prove that your wing recipe is the baddest in town. Wings optional.

Every year a couple of brothers put on an informal little get together they like to call simply The Wing-off. The event is completely free and open to the public. Just show up and eat and/or cook a couple dozen wings. And though the Wing-off isn't officially competitive, I'd recommend that you also bring a healthy dose of smack-talking, just in case things get a little ... heated.

According to Brett Hollingshead, who started the Wing-off with his two brothers, his older brother Curtis offers up the same wing recipe every year. They're called Ethiopian wings, and apparently, the sauce alone takes a couple of hours to put together and is reportedly among the favorites every year. (Other favorites according to Brett are the "asphalt wings" and the "napalm wings." The latter certainly sound ... fiery.)

But if you don't do either the spicy or the wings, no worries. The whole shebang has expanded to include other food, too. So far, cooks have signed up to provide ribs, stuffed jalapenos, pulled pork, chicken sandwiches and more. As of press time, 25 cooks had committed to slave over a hot stove/barbecue, but there is still space for a few more chefs.

This year's event is Saturday, June 6, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (yep, this one ain't for sissies, it's an all-day party) at Renaissance Park in Meridian. For directions and a short rundown of the rules, visit

This Week's Wine and Dine

If you've ever met a serious beer drinker who doesn't love Rogue beers, it's time to reconsider that drinker's opinion on beer. Be it Brutal Bitter, Dead Guy Ale or Shakespeare Stout, Rogue's approach to beer is simple: make it good. On Friday, June 5, ditch the wine for a proper beerfest featuring a lineup of five Rogue beers paired with a five-course tapas-style dinner at Melting Pot. You'll want to reserve a table for this one. It's $35 per person from 4 to 6 p.m. Bottoms up.

Melting Pot, 200 N. Sixth St., 208-383-0900,