Words & Deeds

This chain couldn't wing it in Idaho. Nampa closed first, Boise closes next

There wasn't anything native to Idaho about Native Grill & Wings — not that this normally prevents any out-of-state restaurant chain from expanding here.

For whatever reason, though, the Arizona-based sports bar franchise didn't find the Gem State as lucrative as competitors have. (Hello, Buffalo Wild Wings.)

After opening restaurants at 16808 N. Marketplace Blvd. in Nampa in 2016 and at 7700 W. State St. in Boise in 2017, Native Grill & Wings will exit the market.

The Nampa location shuttered in November 2017, a year after it opened. The Boise restaurant — which remains open for now — will follow the same path soon.

By late spring or summer, the Native Grill & Wings sign will be replaced by local Brixx Craft House branding.

The new sports bar and restaurant will be operated by Boise restaurateur Chad Johnson, who also owns Legends Sports Pub and Grill, The Reef, The Front Door and The BrickYard Steakhouse.

"I told myself I'd never own another sports bar," Johnson says with a chuckle, "and this kind of fell in my lap."

Native Grill employees will have the opportunity to work at Brixx, Johnson says, but most similarities will end there — aside from walls of TVs airing sports, of course.

Brixx will be a high-end sports bar, Johnson says.

"I hate to use the word 'gastro' ..." he says. "Everything is going to be handmade. Nothing out of a box. We're looking at hand-cut fries. All of our sauces, all of our ingredients, we're going to do our best to source it local.

"It's going to be a work in progress, as far as what sticks on the menu. We have some cool things that we're trying, and the public votes. We're not corporate. We'll change it."

The transition from Native Grill & Wings to Brixx Craft House will happen by June 11 at the earliest, Johnson says. "There's just a lot of pieces that have to be moved around," he explains.

A phone call to Native Grill & Wings' marketing director was not returned.

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