Born in England, Katie Munro spent the last 12 years in New Zealand. Her husband, Chris, is a born-and-raised New Zealander.
Still, she has no idea how a mousetrap got its name. The New Zealand comfort food is one of the fun, foreign curiosities coming at Kiwi Shake & Bake, a bakery and cafe the couple hopes to open in Downtown Boise by late August or early September.
"It's basically just a grilled cheese on toast," Munro explains. "But back home, we call them mousetraps. You can put anything you want on them. We get bacon, cheese, or just plain cheese and tomato. And we do a spaghetti and cheese."
Located on the street level of The Afton apartments at 611 S. 8th St., the 2,000-square-foot restaurant will be Boise's first New Zealand dining spot. Idahoans will be introduced to traditional Kiwi meat pies, cakes, milkshakes, fish and chips, battered oysters and salads. Drinks will include coffee, beer, wine, cider and more.
The Munros have visited Boise regularly since the early 2000s, after making Idaho friends through jetsprint boat racing. They've dreamed of opening a restaurant for about a decade, Katie says. "We sold a business back home about 18 months ago and decided it was now or never to give it a go," she says. They pulled up stakes in Queenstown, New Zealand, and headed across the globe to Boise in early 2018.
"We thought Americans seem to love food that's quick and easy, yet tasty at the same time. You can't get much quicker than a meat pie. We thought we'd come over and give it a try."
What is a meat pie? In New Zealand culture, it's not unlike a hamburger in America.
"They really are a staple of the diet," Munro explains. "Pies are a fast food. You walk into a gas station and as quick as you can hand your money over, you've got a pie. You walk out and you eat it in one hand and drive down the road."
Initially, the Munros envisioned Kiwi as a bakery, Katie says, where customers would "come in and grab a pie and grab a coffee and carry on their way." But they soon realized that giving Idahoans a place to sit and eat would make it easier to educate them about New Zealand cuisine.
Lesson number one: Meat pies, which they hope to sell for around $5, are truly versatile.
"Flavor-wise, you could do anything," Munro says. "We do everything from ground beef and cheese to peppered steak and mushrooms to a curried chicken and cream of chicken. Seafood."
Condiments on the pies are equally flexible — and totally optional.
"Back at home," Munro says, "on the ground beef one, Kiwi contractors, they just use tomato sauce or ketchup on the top of them."
In the mood for a bacon-and-egg meat pie? It doesn't need to be morning.
"Any time of day, really," Munro says. "It just depends on what you feel like and what time of day it is, and if they've still got any left of what you want."
Construction is slated to start on Kiwi Shake & Bake this month. By late summer or early fall, Boiseans should be wolfing down mousetraps and meat pies at the city's first-ever New Zealand cafe.
"It's mainly something different," Munro says. "What we've picked up from Boise is they're very open to trying new ethnicities of food."