Food notes: Two new eateries open in Meridian; changes, arrivals for Boise restaurants

doland@idahostatesman.comMay 23, 2014 

The Counter, a build-your-own-burger restaurant headquartered in California, is now open at 3505 E. Monarch Sky Lane at The Village at Meridian.

This is the first Idaho location for the international chain, which encourages diners to get creative when ordering a burger. The Counter offers thousands of possible combinations of ingredients, condiments and garnishes.

You'll find grass-fed bison, naturally raised Angus beef, artisan breads and buns, vegetables, imported cheeses, sauces and more.

Along with traditional burgers, The Counter offers gluten-free burger bowls, veggie burgers, salads and desserts.

The Counter also serves shoestring french fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, craft beer, wine, cocktails and specialty drinks such as chocolate cherry pinot noir milkshakes and beer floats.

The Counter is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Phone: 972-3393. Online ordering will be available later this summer at TheCounterBurger.com.

LE PEEP IN MERIDIAN

Le Peep, a breakfast and lunch eatery, is now open at 3036 N. Eagle Road in Meridian. Le Peep is a chain from Colorado that serves a mix of fancy pancakes, regular and egg-white omelets, crepes, salads, sandwiches and specialty coffee drinks.

This is the second Idaho Le Peep. The first is in Coeur d'Alene. In 2015, look for two more to open in the Treasure Valley, says Meridian franchise owner Jeffrey Hall.

The Meridian location is open 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Phone: 629-0155. Online: LePeep.com.

FRANCO'S IS OPEN

Franco's NY Style Pizza is now open in its new spot at 1221 W. Boise Ave., formerly Cosmic Pizza. Owner Richard Franco moved the restaurant from 201 W. Boise Ave.

The move was difficult, Franco says - especially moving his Bodgett pizza oven. He knocked down more than a few walls to make it fit, and he remodeled the place.

Franco is originally from Connecticut, where he first learned to cook pies. He moved to Idaho Falls and helped open Lucy's New York Pizzeria, then came down to Boise a few years ago to open his own place.

Franco's signature pizza, made from a secret blend of cheeses from New York, is simply cheese.

"That's the way it should be," he says.

The 18-inch cheese pizza is $18, the 14-inch is $14. Franco also makes calzones. On Wednesday nights, he runs pasta specials.

Franco's is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. Phone: 344-5144. Online: Facebook.com/francosnypizza.

LEAF TO OPEN IN DOWNTOWN

Leaf Teahouse is slated to open next month in the spot formerly occupied by The Press at 212 N. 9th St. in Downtown Boise.

Owner Susan Judge will sell and serve 60 loose-leaf teas from around the globe, accompanied by vegan tea sandwiches, small-plate salads and pastries.

You can sample and select a tea and then use the traditional brewing method specific to that tea.

Judge also will make specialty iced teas daily with green, white, black, chai and peppermint matcha, a powder made from ground tea leaves. Judge says she hopes to be open by mid-June.

LATIN TWIST IS COMING

Look for a new food venue to open up in the summer. Latin Twist Food Shack is technically a full-service mobile unit, but it will be parked permanently at the southwest corner of Boise Avenue and Beacon Street, and surrounded by skirting and an awning.

Chef Kyle Taylor will offer a menu of Latin American and Caribbean dishes such as coconut curry goat, grilled shark sandwiches in a fried pizza dough crust, and Argentinian beef with chimichurri sauce. He also plans to offer a quick grab-and-go lunch menu for students on the run.

Taylor has worked in area kitchens, such as the Cottonwood Grille and at the College of Idaho. He plans to expand into catering in the winter months.

Taylor is shooting to have Latin Twist Food Shack open by July 4, he says.

COPPER RIVER SALMON IS HERE

The first shipment of Copper River salmon landed in Boise last week with a red carpet event that kicked off the season "the way they do it in Seattle," says Peter Blatz, development manager at Ocean Beauty Seafoods, the company that distributes the robust, red fish.

Why all the hubbub about a fish? Well, for foodies and especially seafood lovers, its richer flavor and the fact that it's not always available make it a treat.

You can find it at Reel Foods, 611 S. Capitol Blvd., on special sheets at restaurants around the Treasure Valley, and soon at Costco and grocery stores.

The Copper River runs through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The length of the season is based on the number of fish. It should be around four to six weeks, Blatz says. Learn more about the fish at CopperRiverSalmon.org.

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