When The Village at Meridian rolls out the red carpet for its grand opening today, nobody will be more thrilled than the Big Als crew.
The bowling alley/arcade/sports pub has been holding down the fort at 1900 N. Eagle Road for what seemed like an eternity while the rest of The Village played catch-up with jackhammers and paint brushes.
We have been on an island here for the past year, 14 months, so were excited to have neighbors, says COO Todd Moore.
With an array of restaurants and a 15-screen Village Cinema opening in the shopping and entertainment complex, Big Als wont be the only game in town anymore.
Thats a good thing.
Yes, theyre competitors, Moore says, but it becomes a destination then, both for entertainment and for dining. So when people want to come and do dinner and a movie, were one of the choices they can use. If they want to do a movie and bowling, we can do that.
The Village at Meridian is at the corner of Fairview Avenue and N. Eagle Road, the busiest intersection in the state. If you live in or near Meridian, it suddenly makes driving to Boise for entertainment look less necessary not to mention attractive, particularly on the parking-garage-only Downtown weekends.
Food snobs roll their eyes at The Village and the mere mention of a chain or franchise restaurant, but a couple of notable ones are dipping a toe into Idaho for the first time. Kona Grill would seem to have more culinary potential, but dont fool yourself: Skoal-spittin Idaho is more excited about Toby Keiths I Love This Bar & Grill.
Were excited about them, too! Moore admits.
The country singers restaurant named after his No. 1 hit I Love This Bar isnt slated to open until early next year, so well have to wait and see exactly whats in store.
Based on online reviews of other locations, its clear that Keith and his jingo reputation are more divisive than the food being served.
I Tolerate This Bar and Grill wrote one commenter on Yelp. This place is like a liquored-up Cracker Barrel, wrote another.
(Now thats funny.)
I promise to reserve judgment. After all, where else are we going to be able to order an American Soldier Burger and be served by Whiskey Girls?
I Love This Bar & Grill offers live country music in other markets. If thats the case here, it will be a positive for the Treasure Valley.
But the true 1,000-pound gorilla of The Village at Meridian is the Village Cinema, which opens today.
When Edwards Cinemas debuted in Boise, it brought the markets first stadium seating and high-tech surround sound. Majestic Cinemas then opened with comfier seats and Digital Cinema 2K projectors, which provided a better picture.
Village Cinema will make its own latest-and-greatest-style splash. Billing itself as a new standard in luxury entertainment, the multiplex includes all-reserved seating, select D-Box motion seats and two 60-foot screens that feature Dolby Atmos sound.
What is a D-Box seat? Its a special chair that jerks you all over the place during action scenes.
And what is Dolby Atmos sound? Yet another surround-sound technology from Dolby Laboratories, which feels obligated to invent something every few years that basically amounts to more ear-splitting speakers.
(Dont get me wrong. Im definitely checking out D-Box and Atmos.)
Also coming soon to this theater near you aka in November: VIP seating with in-theater dining service and a bar and restaurant inside.
Overall translation: Edwards and Majestic are suddenly the old maids of Treasure Valley multiplexes.
So bring on Village Cinema.
Bring on an order of Toby Keiths Freedom Fries.
Bring on less dust in the air from Village at Meridian construction, which not only gets Big Als windows all nasty, Moore says, but forced nonstop cleaning of the new patio/bocce court area that opened two weeks ago outside.
Were stoked, he says of The Village at Meridians grand opening. This is a day weve been waiting for for a very long time.
Michael Deeds column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He co-hosts The Other Studio at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River and appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News.