Westside Drive-In opened in 1957, at 1929 W. State St., which means the iconic eatery in Boise’s North End dates back to the Eisenhower administration, a simpler time when Bel Airs and souped-up Buicks cruised State Street on weekend nights.
Chef Lou Aaron, a gregarious guy who is iconic in his own right, has kept the classic tradition alive since he purchased the neon-lit restaurant in 1994.
“We wanted to keep the ’50s feel of the place,” Aaron says. “We even wanted to keep the crackling speaker in the drive-thru.”
Of course, Aaron is the one who made the drive-in legendary in these parts, taking it to the next level in the new millennium with a menu that goes well beyond burgers and shakes. Westside Drive-In achieved celebrity status in 2009 when it was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
It’s a family affair at Westside. Along with his wife, Renee, Aaron runs the State Street location, while their oldest son, Josh, owns and operates the eatery at 1113 ParkCenter Blvd., which opened in 2012. The couple’s daughter, Emily, takes care of the bookkeeping responsibilities for both restaurants.
“It’s been a blessing, raising our kids in the restaurant business,” Aaron says.
To celebrate the restaurant’s 60th anniversary, Chef Lou, as he is affectionately called, has all kinds of specials up the sleeve of his chef’s coat — slated from June 5-9 at the State Street location.
On June 5, stop by for the Dr. Cudmore burger ($5), a double cheeseburger built on Texas toast with tomato, lettuce and ketchup. The gut-busting burger, named after a doctor who practiced in the North End for a long time, is a special order-item that’s not actually on the regular menu.
June 6 is Finger Steak Day, when you can score a basket of hand-battered finger steaks and fries for 25 percent off the regular price of $9.99.
Westside is pulling out all the stops on June 7, with its annual Classic Car Show and live music from 3 to 8 p.m. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s office will be sending along official paperwork proclaiming June 7 as “Westside Drive-In Day.” The event also features an Idaho Ice Cream Potato (one of Chef Lou’s famous creations) eating contest.
On June 8, it’s all about Monte Cristo sandwiches. Diners can get an egg-dipped, breaded and deep-fried sandwich (filled with ham, chicken, Swiss and cheddar, served with raspberry preserves) for $3.79/half and $5.99/full.
The celebratory week ends on June 9 with the renowned Prime Rib Dinner (10-ounce cut of beef with a baked potato, salad, au jus, creamy horseradish sauce and a roll), offered for $17.95 from noon to 5 p.m. After that, it goes up to the regular price of $20.99.
Sunrise Cafe comes to Overland
Bob’s “The Original” Sunrise Cafe opened a fourth Treasure Valley location last month in the former Idaho Pizza Company spot, 4218 W. Overland Road, near Hillcrest Country Club in Boise.
The locally owned and operated restaurant has been dishing up affordable, homespun breakfasts and other diner fare since 1988. The eatery is known for its omelets, pancakes, French toast, cinnamon rolls and buttermilk biscuits smothered with country-style gravy, as well as hearty lunchtime offerings.
The Overland restaurant is the only one in the small chain that serves dinner. Besides burgers and sandwiches, diners can score big plates of chicken-fried steak, codfish and chips, grilled pork chops, meatloaf, fried chicken and a roast chicken dinner. The restaurant also offers smaller-portion plates for those looking to eat on the lighter side. The dinner menu costs $8.99-$13.99. Check out the prime rib special ($10.99 for eight-ounce cut/$13.99 for 12-ounce cut) offered on Friday nights from 5 to 8 p.m., or until it runs out.
Other Sunrise Cafe locations are in Meridian (805 N. Main St.), Middleton (200 E. Main St.) and northwest Boise (7135 W. State St.).
Sunrise Cafe on Overland Road is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Phone: (208) 343-2044
Moon’s cafe on Fairview closes
After a short run in a building with years of breakfast history, Moon’s Kitchen Cafe has closed at 6767 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise.
The Moon’s at 712 W. Idaho St. — a Downtown Boise staple for more than six decades — is still open and slinging diner-style breakfast and lunch.
The last day for the Fairview Moon’s was May 28. It opened in 2014 in the former Jerry’s State Court Cafe spot. Before that, the building was an Elmer’s.
Downtown phone: (208) 385-0472.
Celebrate National Doughnut Day
June 2 is National Doughnut Day across the land of bacon-covered maple bars and fritters. Stop by one of these area doughnut shops and sink your teeth into a sweet treat.
Guru Donuts: 928 W. Main St., Boise
DK Donuts: 1300 W. State St., Boise
Country Donuts: 10358 W. Overland Road, Boise
Daylight Donuts: 6911 W. Fairview Ave., Boise
Krispy Kreme: 1525 N. Eagle Road, Meridian
Sweet Sensations Donuts: 1735 W. Franklin Road, Meridian
Want a free doughnut to celebrate the day? Krispy Kreme is giving away a freebie (chosen from a large selection kept in the glass display case) from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. At Guru Donuts, customers can swing by the shop (from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on June 2 and get a free old-fashioned cake doughnut with any purchase — while supplies last.
Guru Donuts follows the seasons closely and uses locally sourced products for its artisan doughnuts. June flavors include the Curious George (banana cream-filled doughnut with peanut butter and chocolate), a whiskey-maple cake doughnut, and a crusty rhubarb and raspberry fritter, to name a few.
Michael Deeds and Dana Oland contributed. Submit restaurant news to firstname.lastname@example.org.