981 W. Grove St., Boise, 383-4300, chandlersboise.com
For almost 40 years in three states and four cities, Rex Chandler has been at the top of the restaurant business. His seafood restaurants in Honolulu and Newport Beach, Calif., were celebrated by critics and customers alike. A lifestyle change - he wanted to raise his son, Tyler, in Idaho - brought him to Sun Valley in 1993. In 2007, a year before the economy tanked, he moved to Boise to open Chandlers.
After clearing a rough patch - lunch didn't work - Chandlers has been growing steadily, between 5 percent and 7 percent a year, he says.
"There was a pent-up need for a fine-dining restaurant," Chandler says.
Chandlers serves steaks for three different palates: traditional Midwest corn-fed prime beef, Kobe-style "Wagyu" and South American grass-fed. In the past year, he's added a Delmonico cut, a tenderloin still on the bone combining the tenderness of a filet mignon with the heartier sirloin flavor of a New York. "That's been our home run," Chandler says.
With live music seven days a week, a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for several years running and the touted 10-minute martini, Chandlers is more than meat. Half the business is seafood, which arrives in 24 hours or less after Chandler checks out smartphone photos from Honolulu.
"Maybe it's the old school in me," says Chandler, 64, "but classic piano and jazz works hand in hand with the dining experience. It's entertainment, not just food and beverage."
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