Food Notes: Cafe gets new owners; City Peanut collaborates with brewers

doland@idahostatesman.comApril 19, 2013 

0404 bi special nuts

Dan Balluff opened City Peanut Shop in Boise in 2009.


The old Hill Top Cafe - most recently known as the Kodiak Grill - has new owners.

Brothers Tate and Eric McCullough and business partner Paul Norby bought the place earlier this year and plan to call it Hill Top Station. Tate is a long-time bartender at Bittercreek Alehouse. Eric and Norby own a landscaping business called Masterpiece Designs in Boise.

Chef Steve Rhodes - most recently of Cafe Vicino - is on board as a consultant to developing a new, family-friendly menu and training the kitchen staff.

They will open the convenience store part of the business in May and have secured a retail beer and wine license. They hope to open the restaurant by the summer boating season.


Boise's 10 Barrel Brewing Company pub, 830 W. Bannock St., should be open by early next week, although there is no exact date, says Garrett Wales, a partner in the operation.

Details about the menu are still under wraps.

Boise-based chef Paul Saucher, formerly of the Porterhouse in Eagle, is adding lots of locally sourced specialties to the mix of dishes that will come over from the company's Bend, Ore., pub.

10 Barrel will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

You can follow the progress at 10BarrelBrewingBoise.


If you love the sweetly spicy almonds in your salad at Alavita, or the tangy peppered walnuts and cayenne pecans at Willowcreek Grill, then you're in luck. Those specialties are actually roasted locally at City Peanut Shop in Downtown Boise.

Owner Dan Balluff, along with chef Mike Young, formerly of the Upper Crust and Life's Kitchen, are creating specialty seasoned nuts in collaboration with chefs at Alavita, Fork, Willowcreek and, coming on board soon, the Red Headed Finn.

They're also working with brew masters to create nuts flavored with wort and fresh hops using local brews such as Payette Brewing's Outlaw IPA and Mutton Buster Brown Ale.

These aren't Beer Nuts, which is a trademark for the popular snack still found on many bar tops.

He calls them malt nuts and he starts with the wort, the liquid that will become beer before it's fermented. He'll also be working on a nut with 10 Barrel Brewing, which is scheduled to open Downtown next week.

"It's just one local guy helping another," Balluff says.

You can buy the Alavita and Fork nuts - and when they're available, the walnuts, pecans and pistachios from Willowcreek - at City Peanut, 803 W. Bannock St., Boise, for about $12 per pound.

The Payette nuts are still a work in progress but should be available in the next month at City Peanut and Payette Brewing, 111 W. 33rd St., Garden City, for about $8 per pound.

Balluff also is working with Dream Chocolate for two signature chocolate bars of dark and milk chocolate. They'll contain his nut seasoning used to make Ghost Chili nuts, $5.


Idaho's Grand Teton Vodka won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March. The results were released this week.

The Double Gold is a high achievement. It means all the judges - 34 at this competition - rated the beverage at gold.

Bill and Lea Beckett began distilling Grand Teton potato vodka in Driggs since 2011. Last year, Grand Teton Vodka won a Gold Medal and a 94-point rating at the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.

You can find it at Idaho State Liquor Stores. It retails for $21.95.


Parma Ridge Vineyard's owner and winemaker Dick Dickstein, 80, is retiring. He and his wife Shirley, who did the design and marketing, put the 1,000-case-a-year vineyard and winery and their house up for sale and are moving to Eagle.

Now, the Dicksteins are liquidating their inventory - Merlot, Syrah, Voignier and Bordeaux-style bends - from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 20-30, or until it runs out. Parma Ridge is located at 24509 Rudd Road in Caldwell. Find a map and more information at

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