Words & Deeds

Hop to it. New Downtown saloon has a ‘rabbit room,’ gourmet tacos, 23 lagers on tap

Customers check out the menu at a private event prior to Diablo & Sons opening to the general public.
Customers check out the menu at a private event prior to Diablo & Sons opening to the general public.

As Dave Krick motions toward the weathered decor inside Boise’s newest saloon, it’s like he’s pointing to an antique map of America.

The wood on the bartop and floor? Reclaimed from an old Amish barn in Wisconsin, he explains.

That corrugated metal siding? From an old tobacco barn in Virginia.

“The rest of the wood was selected from old buildings in Idaho,” Krick says. He gestures toward a wall. “This wood came from Atlanta.”

The result? Diablo & Sons “was built to feel like Boise,” Krick says.

The saloon, which will open Tuesday at 246 N. 8th St., adds historic, Western character to Boise’s vibrant Downtown. There’s no remaining hint of Pollo Rey, which served burritos in the space for more than two decades.

Yet Diablo & Sons already feels at home in the Fidelity Building.

Coaster.jpg
A beer coaster on the bar at Diablo & Sons. Matt Gelsthorpe Diablo & Sons

“This is an old building — the building was built in 1906,” Krick explains. “Our focus was to embrace the history.”

As a drinking establishment, Diablo & Sons gives bar-goers a high-quality option on the 8th Street entertainment corridor. The libations menu includes inventive craft cocktails ($8-$13), plus beer, cider and kombucha from 39 taps.

Tired of the IPA craze? Nearly two dozen beer taps — eventually, 26 — are dedicated to lagers.

“We might be the only lager-focused craft beer house in the country,” Krick says. “Craft lager is a thing. All of a sudden, we’re seeing a revival of lagers at craft breweries.”

Tacos are a thing, too — at least in Boise. Diablo & Sons is not another new taco restaurant, but tacos are a big part of the menu. They’re served a la carte with house-made corn tortillas.

Grab a Chile Strip taco for $2 (fire-roasted poblano and Anaheim peppers, pasilla double cream, pickled habanero). Or an Angels on Horseback for $4 (fried oyster, bacon, charred cabbage, lemon drop mayonnaise). Go carnivore with a Blistered Skirt Steak for $3.50 (grass-fed beef, roasted poblano, wood-grilled onion, red chimichurri).

Not in a taco mood? Order Burnt Wings ($15; horseradish hot sauce, crisp cucumber) or Fire-Grilled Pork Ribs ($11; ancho rub, marmalade glaze). Got a major appetite? Wolf down a Wood-Grilled Burger ($15, grass-fed beef, onion and Anaheim peppers, Jack cheese and drive-in sauce).

Diablo & Sons plans to add more entrees soon, including Wild King Salmon Steak ($25), Barbeque Beef Rib ($18) and T-Bone Tacos ($30). A late-night menu and a Sunday brunch also are down the road.

By spring, there will be an outdoor patio along Idaho and 8th streets. Roll-up garage doors will open both sides to a bar in the restaurant.

Curious customers inevitably will gravitate inside toward The Lodge, a seating area destined to be known informally as “the rabbit room.” Dozens of bunny-themed photographs and paintings line the walls.

But serious beer drinkers will belly up to the main bar. Lots of thought went into the beverage program, says David Roberts, brand manager for Diablo & Sons and its sister restaurants, Bittercreek Alehouse and Red Feather Lounge

Do it. Order a German lager you can’t pronounce. “There’s a reason that over 90 percent of the beer consumed in the world is lager,” Roberts says. “It’s crisp, it’s refreshing, and when you get a really good lager, it’s like nothing else.”

Diablo & Sons is the same way — like nothing else. At least in Boise.

“It’s a rowdy saloon,” Roberts explains. “There’s loud music. There’s big beers and strong drinks.”

“It’s fun,” Krick says. “Lagers and tacos.”

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