Words & Deeds

ButterBurger? Pair it with frozen custard at new Culver’s restaurant

Culver’s has restaurants in 22 states. Plans are to break ground on a Meridian location as soon as February.
Culver’s has restaurants in 22 states. Plans are to break ground on a Meridian location as soon as February. Culver’s

Culver’s, a Wisconsin-based franchise restaurant known for its ButterBurger and fresh frozen custard, is coming to the Boise area.

The building permit process is in motion at 3494 E. Tecate Lane in Meridian, according to research provided to the Statesman by online remodeling marketplace BuildZoom.

Franchisee Steven Smith, a Wisconsin transplant living in Twin Falls, confirms that he hopes to begin construction quickly and launch the new Culver’s by summer.

“We’re shooting for a June opening,” he said. “If the weather breaks soon, that might be the end of May — but that might be pushing it.”

Culver’s in Meridian will be roughly 4,500 square feet and located next to a Les Schwab Tire Center near the intersection of Ustick Road and Eagle Road, Smith said.

This will be the second Culver’s in Idaho; one already operates in Twin Falls.

The first Culver’s restaurant opened in 1984 in Sauk City, Wis. There are now more than 500 restaurants in 22 states, according to the company.

Culver’s offers a variety of dining choices, ranging from hand-battered fish and fried chicken to a shaved prime rib sandwich and beef pot roast. But its signature combo is the ButterBurger and frozen custard. The ButterBurger is made from Midwest-raised beef and comes on a lightly buttered, toasted bun. Small batches of Culver’s frozen custard, available in a variety of flavors, are made at the restaurant throughout the day.

Online: culvers.com.

New pizzeria on Boise Bench

When Kacey Montgomery and his wife, Shannon Lincoln, decided to open Pizzeria Sazio, they entered the project with their eyes wide open — staring at a sea of pepperoni in Boise.

“There’s so many places doing pizza,” admits Montgomery, who also owns a Downtown restaurant, Juniper.

“There’s a lot of pub pizza,” he says. “And there’s a lot of pile-everything-on-it pizza.”

But high-quality, Neapolitan-style pizza? Not as ubiquitous.

That will be the wheelhouse of Pizzeria Sazio, which opens Thursday Jan. 26, at 1204 S. Vista Ave.

“We really were like, ‘Man, let’s keep it simple, and just get like the best (ingredients) we can and put it on a pizza,’ ” Montgomery says.

It’s an authentic formula that should strike a chord with pizza junkies who remember Casanova Pizzeria. A neighborhood favorite, it occupied that space for years at the corner of Kootenai Street and Vista Avenue. (Most recently, it was Allegrezza’s.)

Montgomery and Lincoln live on the Boise Bench. They see opportunity. “I think Casanova had good pizza,” Montgomery says. “There’s a reason why they were busy a lot. There’s nothing up there (on the Bench), pizza-wise.”

The Sazio menu will highlight a variety of options, ranging from traditional Margherita ($14) to more exotic Spicy Calabrese ($17, Calabrese salami, jalapeno, Calabrian peppers, cipollini onions, red sauce). Bolognese ($16) and fried eggplant parmesan risotto ($16) are among six non-pizza entrees. Beer and wine will be available.

“Mosty Italian wines,” Montgomery adds. “We’re doing a Neapolitan style, and we’re really diligent on sourcing Italian-style meats, like high-end, so we felt like Italian wines really fit that theme.”

The building interior has been remodeled with brick and wood, helping to add an Italian feel, Montgomery adds. “It looks nothing like anything that’s been in there,” he says. “I’m super happy with how it turned out.”

Pizzeria Sazio will aim for an atmosphere that’s not too fancy but not too informal — sort of like the couple’s Juniper restaurant.

“I think it’s a place where you could go on a nice little date, but our whole vibe is neighborhood casual,” Montgomery says. “The idea is to walk a line right there.”

“One thing I’m telling the servers is it’s OK to yell. ‘You guys want another glass of wine?!’ Like fun, loud, Italian kind of an idea.”

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Phone: (208) 344-6600.

Mexican restaurant opens at Boise Spectrum

El Tenampa celebrated the grand opening of its third restaurant Thursday.

Its newest, largest Mexican grill and cantina is at 7802 W. Spectrum St. in Boise — formerly On the Border, which closed in 2015.

Mexican food lovers in the Treasure Valley are familiar with El Tenampa’s colorful restaurants. The Nampa location opened at 248 Caldwell Blvd. in 1993. The second El Tenampa is at 906 N. Main St. in Meridian.

El Tenampa mashes up guacamole right at your table. That’s pretty much all you need to know, right?

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Phone: (208) 375-8044. Online: eltenampamexicancuisine.com.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds