When Ashley Syms moved home to Boise after an 11-year detour in Colorado, she knew two things about herself — and about the restaurant she imagined opening.
“I love taking care of people,” Syms, 36, says.
Equally important? “I love eating really good, simple food.”
Eight months after returning, Syms is the founder of A Cafe (stylized Ā Café), an intimate Downtown breakfast and lunch spot. The 1,300-square-foot restaurant should be open by late spring at 111 S. 10th St., next to Good Burger and The Drop.
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Syms will launch with a small, concise menu. Morning customers will be able to pop in for coffee or tea, or sit down for a breakfast of Organic Yogurt with seasonal fruit compote. Lunches will include a minimum of four sandwich selections — anchored by The Hammie — along with soups such as The Tomater and Broccoli & Tater.
A self-proclaimed “salad freak,” Syms will serve concoctions such as the Buttermilk Scenario — romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, white cheddar cheese, edamame, sunflower seeds and “housemade buttermilk yumminess.”
Another hit will be Avocado Toast, she suspects. Hers includes a generous smear of smashed avocado, Aleppo pepper and sunflower seeds. “People are gonna love it,” she says. “If it’s done with good ingredients and done well, and it’s on good bread, people will love it. And it’s healthy.”
Load up that toast by adding the cafe’s secret weapon, a Perfect 6 Minute Egg — boiled, dipped in an ice bath, peeled and served. “To me, a perfect egg, it’s just that awesome, runny, beautiful yolk,” Syms says. “Like, you can cut into it. It can go on a sandwich, it can go on a salad. It can go on top of toast.”
Hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but Sunday might be added, Syms says. And shortly after opening, to supplement the 45 seats inside, a garage door will open to an outdoor patio with another 10 seats or so.
The menu will continue to develop, Syms says. Despite having significant front-of-house experience with restaurants such as Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana — which no longer operates in Boise but has several locations in Colorado — she will be learning. Eagerly.
“This was a dream, for sure,” Syms says. “I’m really excited about doing it. We’ll evolve as we see fit, and Boise kind of guides us through it.”