After a long winter and a blustery spring, nothing feels better than dining outside for brunch on a warm weekend morning.
The Boise area has no shortage of places to enjoy brunch and breakfast al fresco. Here’s a roundup of eateries that serve inventive brunch-time offerings on cool patios designed with comfort and ambiance in mind.
The 8th Street corridor is seriously brunch central thanks to a profusion of eateries that put out weekend menus with eggy creations.
Wild Root Café and Market debuted late last year in the former Yokozuna Teriyaki spot next to Prost German pub. The daytime farm-to-table eatery dishes up brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Chef and co-owner Michael Trebbi’s brunch menu follows the seasons closely and employs a profusion of local-sourced food.
“My brunch menu is a mishmash of our most popular items from our breakfast and lunch menus, and some more seasonal dishes that we think up as we go,” Trebbi explains.
The menu boasts mainstays such as a chorizo omelet with avocado salsa verde and a hearty skillet with wild mushrooms, sweet potato, greens, white cheddar and two sunny-side-up eggs on top.
This time of year, expect to find brioche French toast with saucy strawberries, rhubarb and crème anglaise flecked with orange zest. Or sink your teeth into the smoked brisket-sweet potato hash topped with poached eggs and spindly pea shoots.
Wild Root has a small sidewalk patio (with some umbrella-covered tables), but the eatery is planning to remodel and expand the patio later this summer.
“Our patio is bursting at the seams now,” he says.
Right across the street, Juniper serves brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The popular farm-to-table restaurant has a stylish patio area with long, communal tables so people can get to know one another while eating egg dishes and sipping a bloody mary or two.
Chef Aaron Wermerskirchen’s seasonal brunch menu is packed with locally produced food. Don’t be surprised to find dishes such as eggs Benedict with Snake River Farms beef, caramelized onions and béarnaise, a house-smoked salmon scramble, huevos rancheros with mole sauce, and house-made ricotta doughnut bites with lemon curd and bright raspberry puree.
Wash everything down with a brunch-time cocktail. How does a beet-spiked bloody mary sound? An Irish coffee with Jameson whiskey, Bailey’s and Dawson Taylor coffee is guaranteed to open your eyes as well.
Kitty-corner from Juniper, Red Feather Lounge serves brunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The bellwether restaurant and bar on the 8th Street corridor is also known for using lots of local foodstuffs on its menus.
Here, you will find a creative brunch menu with egg dishes and a few lunchtime offerings (after 11 a.m.), alongside a gamut of culinary-inspired craft cocktails mixed with house-made syrups and tinctures.
Chillax on the comfy sidewalk patio and enjoy whole-grain blueberry flapjacks, beignets with hot butterscotch sauce, smoked trout hash, cinnamon-spiked French toast with berries, and a breakfast pizza topped with bacon, scrambled eggs, cheddar hash and sausage gravy.
Just down the way, at the corner of 8th and Idaho streets, Fork does brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The attractive corner patio is a great place to watch people, especially while the Capital City Public Market is going on. The seasonal brunch menu features various omelets, biscuits and gravy, eggs Benny with heirloom tomato, and Northwest-inspired scrambled eggs with Yukon gold spuds, local ham, poblano peppers and Ballard Family Dairy white cheddar.
Also Downtown, across Bannock Street from the Borah Station post office, Saint Lawrence Gridiron serves an Americana brunch menu from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sit on a wooden church pew on the sprawling patio (next to the massive wood-fired smoker) and soak in the nice weather.
“People really dig our patio for brunch. If the weather is cooperating, it’s definitely the place to dine,” Saint Lawrence Gridiron owner Brian Garrett says.
Chef Daniel Orr’s brunch menu is playful and rooted in the South. Expect to find grilled shrimp and grits, eggs Benedict with smoked brisket, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, roasted root veggie hash, and crispy fried quail on a cornbread waffle with hot pepper syrup.
Or go for the potato doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and orange glaze, a shout-out to Idaho.
Besides the brunch menu, Saint Lawrence Gridiron also mixes Prosecco mimosas and fun cocktails, including an Orange Julien (named after Garrett’s son) made with rum, egg, orange juice, soda water, demerara syrup and cream.
Just down the way on Bannock Street, Even Stevens, a Salt Lake City-based chain, recently debuted in the former Moon’s Kitchen spot next to Freak Alley.
The community-minded sandwich shop (it essentially donates one sandwich to local charities for every one it sells) doesn’t offer a full-blown brunch menu, yet the eatery supplements its daily breakfast menu (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays) with all-you-can-eat French toast and $3 mimosas.
The eatery installed a fun patio — lined with concrete planter boxes and bedecked with pink flamingos — that boasts a vibrant Freak Alley backdrop.
“It’s a great outdoor space. The patio really draws your eyes up to the artwork on the wall of the building,” says Justin Zora, manager of the Boise Even Stevens.
As of earlier this year, Bacon and Berryhill are now in one Downtown spot, with Bacon taking care of the daytime diners and Berryhill turning into a dinner-only establishment.
While Bacon doesn’t serve weekend brunch, the regular menu (offered from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily) has a gamut of eggy creations with a strong Southern accent.
The menu includes a lineup of house-made buttermilk biscuit “sammiches,” assorted omelets and other inventive morning dishes. Good picks include the breakfast banana split, brioche French toast with strawberry coulis, quiche du jour, and Josh-Hash, a pileup of grilled steak, hash browns, spicy fried onions, mushroom gravy and a fried egg atop a big buttermilk biscuit.
And let’s not forget about the five kinds of house-smoked bacon that give the place its name. Wash everything down with a Bacon Bloody Mary, which is a meal within itself.
Of course, you can enjoy everything on the spacious patio in the shadow of the big “B” sign.
In the Linen District, The Modern Hotel and Bar’s stylish, secluded patio makes for a great place to enjoy weekend brunch — offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Modern is known for its always-changing seasonal menus that are pocked with locally sourced food. At brunch, don’t be surprised to find scratch dishes such as corned beef and poached eggs, croque madame, fruit crepes and truffled egg toast, a wild mushroom egg scramble with truffle oil and Parmesan on Pullman bread with a mixed greens salad.
You would be remiss not to try one of the bar’s craft cocktails designed with brunch in mind.
Cottonwood Grille probably has the nicest patio in Boise, considering its prime position next to the lush Boise Greenbelt.
The venerable Boise restaurant serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Like all the menus at Cottonwood Grille, the a la carte brunch menu boasts Northwest and European flair.
Egg dishes include seafood quiche, steak and eggs, a chorizo-filled Basque omelet, and eggs Benedict with house-smoked pork loin and tarragon-flecked béarnaise.
You also can get big salads and entrées such as chicken and wild mushroom crepes and pan-seared trout with toasted almond butter sauce.
In Boise’s North End, 36th Street Bistro obviously has an attractive patio because of its location at the 36th Street Garden Center, a spot that’s exploding with color this time of year.
The popular bistro serves brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Expect to find seasonal offerings such as strawberry-stuffed French toast, eggs Benedict with fresh tomato, breakfast enchiladas, Southwest-spiced salmon salad and more.
Delsa’s on Ustick Road in Boise doesn’t offer a weekend brunch menu, but the longtime ice cream shop and burger joint recently started dishing up breakfast from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sit outside on the retooled patio — covered with colorful, kite-like fabric — and enjoy classic breakfast offerings culled from the Capri Restaurant menu. Owner Nick West also owns that eatery on Fairview Avenue in Boise’s West End.
The menu includes assorted hotcakes, omelets, waffles, big egg breakfasts, biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls. You get the idea.
In the West Valley, diners can get brunch at Casa del Matador at The Village at Meridian from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hang out on the sidewalk patio and watch the weekend shoppers stroll by. The brunch menu features a lineup of Tex-Mex-inspired offerings, including huevos rancheros, tomatillo chicken chilaquiles, Mexican sweet bread French toast with agave syrup, and a breakfast egg torta with carnitas, guacamole, black beans and crumbly cotija cheese.
It’s never too early to enjoy a cocktail (mixed with one of the many top-shelf tequilas) such as a bloody maria made with Sauza Gold tequila, lime and chipotle salt.
Bella Aquila, an upscale Italian restaurant in Eagle, hands-down has one of the coolest patios in the Treasure Valley. It’s a veritable oasis just off bustling Eagle Road.
Situated a stone’s throw from the Boise River, the lush patio has a bubbling waterfall and flowers galore. It’s surely an attractive spot to hang out and enjoy Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The brunch menu includes a spinach Caprese omelet, eggs Benedict, smoked chicken and sweet potato hash, breakfast pizza, and ricotta-stuffed French toast with Grand Marnier-strawberry sauce.
Grit American Cuisine opened late last year near the corner of State Street and Eagle Road next to Albertsons.
The restaurant and bar started out doing lunch and dinner, but it added a brunch program in late April. Now, diners can get nuanced brunch creations (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays) influenced by different regions around the country.
Besides some mainstays from the regular menu, expect to find dishes such as brioche French toast with strawberries, spicy Nashville fried chicken on a pearl sugar biscuit, shrimp Benedict (see recipe on this page), beignets with lemon curd and chocolate sauce, house-made pastrami hash, and an Acme Bakeshop croissant sandwich with bacon, cheddar and a fried egg.
There’s also a brunch-time version of bibimbap. Grit’s riff on the classic Korean dish boasts marinated beef (or tofu), rice, daikon radish, cucumber, pickled shiitake mushrooms and fiery sambal with a fried egg on top.
The bar also contributes to the brunch scene with a gamut of creative cocktails. How does a tall glass of vodka-spiked strawberry and basil lemonade sound?
Grit recently built a sidewalk patio that’s skirted with colorful planter boxes, and they even installed a garage-like door with windows that, once rolled up, unifies the patio and dining room spaces.
“The patio looks really nice. We’re pretty happy with it,” Grit chef and co-owner Paul Faucher says. “We’re not on the river or anything, but it’s a comfy space to hang out.”
Crooked Fence Brewing Co. is making good use of its new digs along Idaho 16. The stylish brewpub’s dining and bar areas open up onto a sprawling patio that overlooks the park-like setting.
Grab a pint of Rusty Nail Pale Ale or a craft cocktail and peruse the Sunday brunch menu (offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), which includes biscuits and gravy, French toast, pancakes, seasonal quiche du jour, and a big breakfast burrito filled with bacon, cheddar, eggs, potatoes and avocado.
James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” The latest edition hit the shelves in March. Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.
Enjoy brunch al fresco
Wild Root Café and Market
276 N. 8th St., Boise
211 N. 8th St., Boise
Red Feather Lounge
246 N. 8th St., Boise
199 N. 8th St., Boise
Saint Lawrence Gridiron
705 W. Bannock St., Boise
815 W. Bannock St., Boise
Bacon and Berryhill
121 N. 9th St., Boise
The Modern Hotel and Bar
1314 W. Grove St., Boise
913 W. River St., Boise
36th Street Bistro
3823 Garden Center Way, Boise
7923 W. Ustick Road, Boise
Casa del Matador
3690 E. Monarch Sky Lane, The Village at Meridian
775 S. Rivershore Lane, Eagle
Grit American Cuisine
360 S. Eagle Road, Eagle
Crooked Fence Brewing Co.
3705 Idaho 16, Eagle
Roasted Root Veggie Hash with Chimichurri
Courtesy of Brian Garrett, Saint Lawrence Gridiron
Makes 6 servings
Root veggie hash:
2 parsnips, peeled and small dice
2 carrots, peeled and small dice
2 turnips, peeled and small dice
2 golden beets, peeled and small dice
1 yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly coat the veggies in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
½ cup chives
½ cup basil
½ cup cilantro
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup shallot, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender till smooth.
6 ounces bourbon
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, cook the bourbon on medium heat until it’s reduced by half. Let the reduced bourbon cool and then combine all ingredients and shake well before serving.
1 quart heavy cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
In a bowl, combine the heavy cream and buttermilk and let stand at room temperature for 36 hours. It will thicken and become the consistency of sour cream.
For every quart of water use one teaspoon of vinegar (any type) to help the egg whites coagulate. Break the eggs and carefully drop them (one at a time) into simmering water for 50-60 seconds, then remove with slotted spoon and pat dry.
Place the roasted root veggies on a plate, drizzle with chimichurri and crème fraiche, dress arugula (or greens of your choice) with maple-bourbon vinaigrette and serve on top of the root veggies. Put a poached egg atop the greens and serve immediately.
Courtesy of Paul Faucher, Grit American Cuisine
Makes 4-6 servings
3 egg yolks
½ pound unsalted butter
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 dashes Tabasco
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, diced
½ cup white wine
18 shrimp (15-20 count)
¼ cup Starlight Herb Company Cajun Spice
¼ cup garlic, minced
½ cup canola oil
1.5 pounds gold fingerling potatoes
½ cup Parmesan
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 quarts water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Blanche potatoes in fryer or pot with oil at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. Drain and cool potatoes completely. Smash each potato with your palm and set aside. Turn fryer up to 350 degrees and fry potatoes until golden brown. Toss with parsley, Parmesan and salt.
Chop tarragon and shallot. Combine with white wine in a sauté pan and cook on medium heat until wine has reduced completely; set aside. Separate egg yolks and put them in blender. Bring butter to a boil until lightly browned. On medium-high speed, slowly add butter until incorporated. Mix with lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and tarragon-shallot mix and set aside.
Combine all ingredients for shrimp and sauté on medium heat, flip and cook thoroughly (about five minutes).
Bring water and vinegar to a simmer; slowly add eggs and poach until over easy.
Plate the potatoes, shrimp and eggs; ladle with béarnaise. Serve immediately.
Courtesy of Paul Faucher, Grit American Cuisine
Makes 6 servings
Marinade for beef:
2 ounces soy sauce
4 green onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 pounds beef skirt steak, thinly sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 ounces daikon radish, julienne
8 ounces carrot, julienne
½ head lettuce, cut into strips
8 ounces cucumber, peeled and julienne
8 ounces sambal chili paste
4 cups cooked white rice
To prepare marinade, combine soy sauce, green onions, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Mix with beef and marinate for 1 hour.
Sauté mushrooms on medium-high heat for three to four minutes. Add daikon and carrot and continue to sauté until tender.
In a separate pan, sear beef until barely cooked through (rare or to your liking).
Combine beef and sautéed vegetable mix
Fry eggs sunny-side-up.
In six bowls, put the rice on the bottom, add the beef and veggies, and put the eggs on top. Serve immediately.