Food Notes: Backstage Bistro will offer upscale dining (and a movie)

doland@idahostatesman.comNovember 8, 2013 


Village Cinema, home of the new Backstage Bistro, during The Village at Meridian's invitation-only unveiling last month.


Dinner and a movie just got fancier in the Treasure Valley. The new Backstage Bistro at the Village Cinema will bring a new and sophisticated feel to the experience starting Tuesday, Nov. 12, says James Howard, director of operations for Cinema West.

This will be the first upscale dining concept for the Northern California-based theater chain, Howard says, and it won’t be the last as trends bring people back to dinner theater.

“We’ve come full circle,” Howard says. “We started out with the idea of dinner theater in the early part of the 20th century. Now, we’re getting back to this concept.”

The concept includes local sourcing of food and personnel. Chef Talferd Jude, formerly of Bardenay, created its elegant menu. Filip Vogelpohl of Boise Art Glass created the blown-glass chandeliers.

The atmosphere harkens toward art nouveau, with iron and glass canopies that are inspired by the canopies that adorn Paris metro stops.

The menu will focus on elements of Basque culture with Spanish-style tapas, along with French and traditional American influences.

“It’s what we call ‘bistro style,’ which is well-dressed comfort food,” Howard says.

Jude is crafting a menu that offers elegant dishes that can be prepared and served quickly — so you can show up at 7 p.m. and make an 8:15 p.m. movie.

And you can dine two ways — in the restaurant before or after a flick, or in one of the VIP screening rooms that will allow you to eat while you watch a movie.

The centerpiece will be a circular bar serving beer, wine and cocktails.

Appetizers include artisan cheese plates, charcuterie ($16 each), global fusion croquettes a trois ($9) and carmel corn calamari ($10.50), cavatappi au gratin (fancy mac ’n’ cheese for $9.50), scallop skewers ($15) and pulled pork tacos ($10).

There also are salads, such as a nicoise for $12 and Caesar for $9, and entrees run the gamut from coq au vin blanc ($17) and seared sea scallops ($28) to steak frites ($22) and truffled short rib bourguignon ($20).

Howard will be on site managing the project through opening, before hiring a general manager for the restaurant and heading off to create another Backstage Bistro in another market.

Village Cinemas is now open at The Village at Meridian, on the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue. Backstage Bistro will be open 4:30-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4:30-10 p.m. Fridays, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.


Self-serve, pay-per-ounce wine bar Bodovino will be open by the end of November.

The concept will use state-of-the-art wine-dispensing machines to pour more than 100 wines. Most will range from $10 to $20 per bottle, but there also will be vintages that retail in the hundreds of dollars.

You will swipe a prepaid card — available in the retail shop — at the machines to get the amount of wine you want.

Bodovino will be at 404 S. 8th St. in the former Piece Unique & Shoez and Mr. Peabody’s Optical Shoppe spaces.

It will spill over into the 8th Street Marketplace’s atrium with an indoor patio and also will have an outdoor patio along Broad Street seasonally.

You will be able to buy craft beers by the bottle and on draft. Food will be at a deli counter stocked with paninis, sandwiches, salads and lighter fare. You can track the progress at


The Mode Lounge, an upscale cocktail bar concept from Pie Hole owner Russ Crawforth, will now open in January, when the liquor license will be available.

Crawforth had hoped to open before the holidays.

“That’s fine,” he said. “That gives us more time for planning and to get the details right.”

Crawforth took over the former Grape Escape spot at the corner of 8th and Idaho streets inside the historic Mode Department Store building. The location is the inspiration for the bar’s name.

He hired Brian Livesay as his head bartender and general manager. He most recently worked at Parma Ridge Winery, which closed earlier this year, and The Matador. Livesay is fine-tuning the craft cocktail menu.

“We’re doing some things that Boise hasn’t seen yet,” Livesay says. “I’m pretty excited.”

Livesay is working with “insanely customized ingredients” to create drinks that are unique to the area and will reflect the season, he says.


Construction started on the former Burger King spot at 17th and State streets last week, transforming it into a Carl’s Jr./Green Burrito. It should open by mid-January. This will be the seventh Carl’s Jr. franchise in the Treasure Valley.


• Halloween was the last day of business for the artisan Sol Bakery, 3910 Hill Road in Boise. Owners Tom and Carrie Peterman opened Sol in June 2012. The couple is looking for a buyer for the business, according to the shop’s Facebook page and a message on its phone.

• The wine shop Bueno Cheapo Vino, 770 S. Vista Ave., will close Nov. 9, says owner Heidi Jacobson. It’s been open at that location for five years.

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