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Tupelo Honey Set to Open at Former Location of The Piper Pub


Though Tupelo Honey’s soft opening was offered to friends and family only, nearly every table in the large, open floor plan was full. Located on the corner of Eighth and Main streets at the former location of The Piper Pub & Grill, this chain restaurant specializes in fried chicken, cocktails and Southern hospitality. Even before its official public unveiling on Tuesday, Nov. 12, it’s obvious that the team behind Tupelo Honey, most of whom milled around the restaurant, stopping at booths to ask diners about their favorite dishes, knows what they’re doing.

Wooden tables and chairs and a blue-and-white patterned wallpaper make the wide space appear rustic and homey. Light fixtures woven into intricate patterns with twine-like material hang from the ceiling, and while the plants that line the walls and hang between the bar and dining areas are fake, it’s difficult to deny the authenticity of the company’s mission.

“I call it a heart for service,” said Owner Stephen Frabitore. “You’ve got to have heart, you’ve got to have compassion, you’ve got to realize how lucky we are that people come here to spend their hard-earned money.”

  • Emily Alexander
Tupelo Honey’s menu offers Southern cuisine with a twist: fried green tomatoes are dressed up over creamy goat cheese grits and a spicy red-pepper sauce; a spinach salad sprinkled—like many of the dishes here—with pecans becomes more interesting with a few dollops of a flavorful sweet potato purée; and even the cathead biscuits, called such for their size, get a blueberry compote, complete with a few whole berries, whipped butter and honey on the side.

“People want what we do right, and they want what they can’t get somewhere else,” Chef Eric Gabrynowicz, a James Beard Award semifinalist, said. “It’s not like you guys are loaded down with Southern restaurants,” Frabitore added.

From the hordes of flannel-clad servers to trendy menu items like the Frozen Cherry Bomb Frosé and Mountain Harvest Bowl with cauliflower rice, Tupelo Honey’s corporate status is apparent. Still, it’s a corporation Gabrynowicz said is dedicated to upholding an integrity that mirrors that of the Boise community.

“I don’t think I’ve ever imagined a company in the restaurant industry with such care for their employees. There is humanity at the forefront of every decision that is made,” he said.

“Everyone cares,” said Harper Feltner, who flew to Boise from Knoxville, Tennessee, to open the new location, after explaining the ingredients in the shrimp and grits. “My manager is like my mom.”