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Taps Are Flowing at Edge Brewing

Plus Ruth's Chris, Flatbread and On the Fly talk shop before the Tower's grand opening

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Tiny tasters of beer and ample samples of pub grub circulated around Edge Brewing Co. at a Feb. 4 soft opening for the 15-barrel brewery.

Located in a gigantic warehouse at 525 N. Steelhead Way, off Emerald Street and Maple Grove Road, Edge's main dining room boasts dozens of high- and low-top tables along with a shiny granite bar and rows of lighting crafted from sawed-off growlers. Murals dot the walls and TVs flash sports and rotating tap lists.

Edge Head Brewer Kerry Caldwell, formerly of TableRock Brewpub, pulled up a seat to chat about her first six beers: Onomato Pale Ale, Commodity Wheat, Obligatory IPA, Amber the Enabler, Blackwater Imperial Stout and Belgian Tripel.

"These are the first six batches that I've brewed on this system so I know all these beers; they could all use a little tweaking one way or another," said Caldwell.

Edge's bar has 20 taps that Caldwell plans to fill with her brews and pilot batch releases that Edge shareholders craft on-site.

"I have a one-keg pilot system in the back where any of my investors that's a homebrewer can come in and brew one of their beers and potentially have it served on tap in the pub," said Caldwell.

Pointing to a row of bourbon barrels filled with Russian imperial stout, Caldwell said she also plans to do a number of barrel-aged releases, including a sour beer program.

Edge Brewing officially opened to the public Feb. 5, but the brewery won't host its Grand Opening celebration until Friday, March 7.

Speaking of grand opening throwdowns, the Eighth and Main Tower is gearing up for a massive street party Saturday, Feb. 15 from 1-8 p.m. Event organizers expect to attract 10,000-15,000 people to Eighth and Main streets with a Food Truck Rally--which includes trucks like Archie's Place, Idaho Barbecue Company, Burgerlicious, Cacicia's Cucinas and Bel Cibo--and tons of family friendly activities. Live music starts at 2 p.m., with Allen Stone and Ra Ra Riot performing before the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. Headliners the Goo Goo Dolls go on at 6:30 p.m.

Before the grand opening insanity gets under way, Boise Weekly touched base with three of the four restaurants opening at the tower, which will also house the Idaho headquarters of Zion's Bank, Holland & Hart Law Firm, assorted offices, and a fitness center and spa.

National high-end chain Ruth's Chris Steakhouse opened to the public Feb. 10. The 9,000-square-foot space is located on the first floor of the tower and features a grand lounge, three private event rooms, a dining room and a kitchen decked out with one of the company's signature 1,800-degree broilers.

Mark Robbins, the franchisee behind Ruth's Chris in Salt Lake City, brought the concept to Boise, while Bryan Forcina--who worked at San Francisco's The Plumed Horse and 231 Ellsworth before relocating to Meridian to work at the Yard House--has taken the reins as executive chef. In addition to top-dollar USDA Prime steaks and a la carte sides, Ruth's Chris offers a $7 happy hour, which runs Sunday through Thursday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Moving up to the second floor, Boise-based chain Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria has relocated its downtown outpost to the tower. Owner Rob Lumsden says the space will have a more "sophisticated feel" as opposed to the "playful look" of his other eateries.

"It carries over some elements from the previous restaurants but a lot has changed in terms of the look and feel of Flatbread; it's kind of a grown-up Flatbread. ... The finishes are a little bit more upscale; we've got a full bar in this one," said Lumsden.

The restaurant has also installed an oven hand-built in Naples, Italy, and expanded its menu to include a number of new dishes.

"We've got new menu items that we're able to produce in this kitchen that we can't produce in the other kitchens," said Lumsden. "So things like cioppino, gnocchi beef ragu, balsamic glazed chicken wings and we're really ramping up our happy hour, too. We're going from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday with half off all drafts, cocktails and wine."

Despite the higher-end vibe, Lumsden insists Flatbread will remain a family friendly establishment.

"I don't want to scare people by thinking, 'Flatbread's for adults only,'" said Lumsden. "We actually designed a small section next to the pizza oven that is designed for the kids to stand on a little bench and give their pizzas to the pizzaiolos, so it's almost like a kids' zone."

Lumsden hopes to have the space open by Wednesday, Feb. 12, pending final inspections. Flatbread plans to serve lunch Saturday, Feb. 15, but the restaurant will be closed during the grand opening celebration for a private party.

Also on the second floor, Brick 29 Bistro proprietor Dustan Bristol is opening a grab-and-go rotisserie deli called On the Fly.

"We dubbed it a rotisserie deli, so we want to make all of our meat in house ... [we'll have] a lot of pre-built, morning-of sandwiches, salads, grab-and-go protein, vegetables, fruit, granola, individual beverages," said Bristol. "And then we'll have a deli case where we'll sell salads and paninis by the pound."

Specific menu items include a house-roasted beef sandwich with bearnaise aioli and arugula, a balsamic kale salad, house-pickled eggs, a roasted cauliflower soup and a rotisserie salmon salad sandwich.

Bristol said the 25-seat space will have a mid-century modern feel with Eames knock-off chairs and a Sputnik chandelier. The lunch spot will also offer single-serve wine and beer. Unfortunately, the deli won't be up and running by the building's grand opening party. Instead, Bristol is shooting for the beginning of March.

"What we're waiting for right now are inline exhaust fans. ... The bum deal is they can't finish a lot of stuff until these exhaust fans are in," said Bristol. "They can't finish the roof, they can't finish sheetrock, they can't paint because all this has to go in first. ... My goal was obviously to be ready to go by ribbon-cutting, but I know that this is how it works in the biz, man."