Words & Deeds

Boise's 'best sandwich'? New sports bar and gastropub opens — and brags a little, too

The Cubano Sandwich ($11) at Brixx includes pulled pork, ham, onions, swiss cheese, creamy mustard and house-made pickles, all on toasted village bread from Zeppole Baking Co. On the side are Veggie Wings, marinated cauliflower in tempura batter.
The Cubano Sandwich ($11) at Brixx includes pulled pork, ham, onions, swiss cheese, creamy mustard and house-made pickles, all on toasted village bread from Zeppole Baking Co. On the side are Veggie Wings, marinated cauliflower in tempura batter. Brixx Craft House

Self-confidence is part of the fabric of sports, whether it's Muhammad Ali's classic "I am the greatest" speech, Joe Namath's famous Super Bowl guarantee, LeBron James' "Chosen 1" tattoo or Conor McGregor's trash-talking press conferences.

So when Brixx Craft House recently blasted out a photo of its Cubano Sandwich on Instagram, the accompanying message seemed par for the course — especially if, say, Richard Sherman were shouting it.

"What will soon be dubbed the best sandwich in the Treasure Valley," Brixx Craft House posted, "no joke, no hype."

Brixx has been open less than a month. Might as well swing for the fence, right?

The sports haven debuted June 12 in the former Native Grill & Wings space at 7700 W. State St. The same TVs line the walls. And like its predecessor, Brixx will serve you wings and nachos — if you so choose.

But Brixx isn't a typical sports bar. The name is "Craft House," remember? That means craft beer. (You won't find many domestics flowing from the 16 taps.) And more important, craft food.

Brixx co-owner Doug Baker leans toward the term "gastropub." He wants Brixx to alter perceptions about what a locally owned, sports-oriented food-and-drink destination can be.

"I don't like the idea of just calling it a sports bar," Baker says. "I think a lot of people associate a sports bar with wings and fried food and a lot of pre-made stuff. That's not what we're about. We want to change that culture and offer some higher-end items. We're not quite there yet, but we're going to be there soon."

"We're trying to do as much stuff from scratch as we can," he adds. "We're going to try and buy local as much as we can."

That Cubano Sandwich ($11) includes pulled pork, ham, onions, Swiss cheese, creamy mustard and house-made pickles, all on toasted village bread from Zeppole Baking Co.

Is it really the Valley's best sandwich?

"Um, it's pretty dang good," Baker confirms with a chuckle. "And it's something our chef is really proud of. Nobody will leave disappointed with that sandwich."

Craving an appetizer? Baker recommends the American Kobe Beef Sliders ($11, arugula, Gorgonzola cheese sauce, pickled onion, mayonnaise, brioche bun). "A lot of positive comments on that," he says. Or take another chest-thumping hint from Brixx's Instagram account: "Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will LOVE the veggie "wings" — cauliflower in a light and fluffy tempura batter. We ordered ours seasoned with a rub and served with a side of BBQ AND jalapeno cilantro ranch. #mindblown."

Brixx Burger.jpg
The Brixx Burger ($12) is an 8-ounce certified Angus patty with bacon, pineapple, gouda cheese, butterleaf lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Those are crispy jalapeno chips on top of it. The fries are hand-cut. Brixx Craft House

Brixx also offers enticing burgers, ranging from the plant-based Impossible Burger ($12) to the bacon-, pineapple- and Gouda-spiked Brixx Burger ($12). But this is Idaho. Gotta have finger steaks, right? The Brixx interpretation ($12) is breaded New York strip steak with raspberry cocktail sauce. By the way, the fries that come with the aforementioned items? All hand-cut. (Order those fries loaded for an extra $2, too.)

Pizzas, salads, soups and other specialties round out the menu. It will keep evolving until fall, Baker says. (Chicken and waffles and a New York strip are the latest additions.) By the time college football season begins, Brixx will finalize its culinary arsenal and launch a grand opening.

Until then, Idaho sports fans — and maybe even foodies — have the chance to watch baseball on TV and get comfortable with "craft house" atmosphere.

"It's a great place to watch a game. We definitely don't want to lose that crowd," Baker says. "But we also don't want to lose sight of quality food that we want to serve."

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to close Friday and Saturday.

Online: @brixxcrafthouse.

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