A popular Boise Italian restaurant will open its riverside cafe — finally

Caffe Luciano will open in December

Popular Italian restaurant Luchiano‘s will open a second location near Esther Simplot Park and the Boise Greenbelt in December.
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Popular Italian restaurant Luchiano‘s will open a second location near Esther Simplot Park and the Boise Greenbelt in December.

Here’s one more thing that ups Garden City’s growing cool-factor. One of the area’s most popular restaurants will open its second location on Dec. 1 on the GC side of Esther Simplot Park.

Luciano’s Italian Restaurant, 11 N. Orchard St. in Boise, will open its much anticipated Caffé Luciano on Dec. 1.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Cody Craig, who will manage the new spot.

The cafe is located on the Garden City side of the Greenbelt, just where it meets the pedestrian and cycling bridge from Esther Simplot Park. The location is a short walk from the Riverside Hotel and a stone’s throw from the wave-shaper feature at the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park.

Plans called for the cafe to open this past summer but construction was delayed because of the harsh winter weather. Once the weather mellowed, a construction boom made getting the actual work done more difficult, Craig says.

The cafe is not just a mini Luciano’s. It will serve some of the bigger restaurant’s popular dishes, including pizza, lasagna and manicotti, but also will put its own spin on the menu. Breakfast will include house-made pastries and sandwiches. The cafe will dish up salads and a selection of traditional entrees and specials for lunch and dinner in a contemporary, casual setting.

You’ll receive full table service inside — and outside during nice weather.

The interior will be modern and intimate and includes a bar and dining area. Large garage-door style windows can be opened when conditions allow.

The expansive patio that overlooks the river will nearly triple its seating. It will be set up for live musical performances. There’s also a walk-up window to grab orders to take to the park. The cafe currently does not have online ordering in its plans, Craig says, but it will roll out neighborhood delivery in the weeks after opening.

“It’s all set up for ease of service,” Craig says.

Chef Matt Nesbit, who now runs the kitchen at the Orchard location, will oversee the menu as it develops, but the cafe is still in need of an executive chef, Craig says.

Prices will be slightly lower than Luciano’s on Orchard. The most expensive thing will be about $15, he says.

Parking will be a challenge, he admits. There is some street parking, a nearby lot and parking in Esther Simplot Park. “And we have loads of bicycle parking,” he says.

Craig has been working at Luciano’s on Orchard since it opened in 2012. The popular, old-school Italian restaurant will celebrate its fifth anniversary next week. At that location, waiting times for a table on a weeknight can be more than an hour, and even longer on Fridays and Saturdays.

Idaho Statesman readers named Luciano’s Best Italian Restaurant in the 2017 Best of Treasure Valley.

Caffé Luciano will be open daily from 7 a.m. to close — likely 9 p.m. in the winter, later in the summer — starting Dec. 1. You’ll be able to book holiday parties by calling the Orchard location: 208-577-6415. The Caffé’s number will be 208-577-6010. Learn more at LucianosBoise.com. Caffé Luciano’s website is under construction.