When chef Kris Komori and restaurateur Remi McManus opened a pair of no-frills lounges in the former Angell’s Bar and Grill space three months ago, it was supposed to be a temporary way to maintain a liquor license.
Instead, they found a home.
Abandoning plans to open a fine-dining restaurant in the old Sav-On Cafe and Baldwin Lock & Key building on 16th Street, Komori and McManus have signed a long-term lease in the well-known Angell’s spot.
Kin (stylized as “KIN”), an ambitious tasting-menu restaurant and bar, will transform the space. Ampersand and Art Haus, their short-term bars, will close by the middle of the year.
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The potential costs of developing the Sav-On and Baldwin building became prohibitive, the men say. And the allure of 6,600 square feet at 999 W. Main St. proved to be strong.
“It was a lot of little things that started to add up,” Komori explains. “It was a little intimidating — the size of the space, as well as moving Downtown. But once we were in it for a little bit, we started to really fall for the ambiance, the quirkiness about the space.”
It wasn’t the destination spot they had in mind originally. But after a few Tanqueray stirs and Rainier pours, they began gazing fondly out the windows at Downtown traffic. They soaked up decades of Angell’s nostalgia from customers. They mulled the positives of the cooking area in the back.
“It feels like you’re home ... like you’re in Grandma’s basement,” McManus says, standing in the kitchen with Komori. “But you still get the hustle and bustle of Downtown.”
The final iteration of Angell’s, which opened in 1981, shuttered in 2017. It’s a unique if dated space, complete with an outdoor patio and amphitheater. The potential for a hip, modern restaurant and bar is there, especially after a “very extensive” remodel,” McManus says.
“I think that when people walk in now, they kind of hearken back to the old days of Angell’s,” he says. “But when they come in next fall, I think that they’ll be pleasantly surprised and blown away.”
Flooring diners is what Komori and McManus do. Formerly the chef at State & Lemp, Komori, 35, was nominated for James Beard Awards from 2016-2018 — a run unprecedented in Idaho. Before selling that acclaimed restaurant in 2018, McManus, 43, was its co-owner and front-of-house specialist.
The men will share ownership of Kin, and two concepts will share the space. The restaurant and bar will have separate entrances. The restaurant will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays; the bar will operate seven days a week.
Former State & Lemp customers will discover a familiar culinary philosophy at Kin. Diners will enjoy a creative, prix-fixe tasting menu at a long, communal table that seats two dozen (and up to 30). Dishes will be inspired by local artwork on the wall, seasons or the playful spirits of the Kin staff. Former State & Lemp kitchen and front-of-house employees are following Komori and McManus on the Kin adventure.
The bar, which will serve food, plays a more significant role than planned at the Sav-On Cafe and Baldwin Lock & Key project.
“Our model changed slightly,” McManus says. “We went from being a restaurant-bar ... to bar-restaurant.”
In addition to offering an extended dining experience, Kin will be an approachable bar for curated cocktails and quick, creative bites.
“With the bar side,” Komori says, “it gives us the opportunity to do smaller plates, things that kind of churn and go as the seasons progress. That’s very freeing to a degree. But we still want to have fun. We take what we do very seriously, but we want to have fun with it. And the bar just gives us that much more opportunity.”
To prepare for remodeling, Ampersand will close first — sometime in April, McManus says. Art Haus will stay open at least into the summer.
Kin is six times as big as State & Lemp. With restaurant and bar revenue streams, it should allow Komori, McManus and their larger staff to offer more dinners, catering and other events.
McManus also envisions using the outdoor amphitheater for arts and music, too.
Ultimately, Kin should provide Downtown with a fresh, exciting experience — “... a place for people to be entertained and enjoy themselves,” McManus says, “whether it’s drinking or eating or live entertainment or the art that’s on the wall or the design of the space. Hopefully, we develop something very unique for Boiseans, and for travelers and tourists.”