What is the lifespan of a restaurant?
If you blinked while cruising down State Street, you probably missed Epek, a fine-dining experiment in the former State & Lemp building.
After opening in April, the restaurant at 2870 W. State St. recently closed.
No other information was available. Owner and chef Christian Phernetton did not respond to a phone call or emails. But the dining room is empty. All social media accounts have been removed.
Phernetton, who bought State & Lemp in 2018, initially kept the name as he tweaked the menu. Then in March, he announced that the restaurant would shutter temporarily and reinvent itself. A gifted chef, Phernetton planned to saturate the new Epek menu with organic, locally sourced ingredients — many from The Chef’s Farm, which he owns in Dry Creek Valley.
The fresh, diverse concept was not simple to digest. Phernetton cooked up a range of price points, including $2.50 “taco Tuesdays,” three-course dinners on Wednesdays and Thursdays for $55, and a 15-course tasting menu on Fridays and Saturdays for $111.
Armchair restaurateurs probably predicted the outcome: Epek fail. But so quickly? The ambitions were not without precedent.
The original, intrepid State & Lemp conquered unexplored Treasure Valley territory in 2013 by offering only expensive, prix-fixe tasting menus at a communal table. A seat cost more than $100, including wine. After enthusiastic reviews and a run of James Beard Award nominations, State & Lemp earned a reputation as a regional force that elevated Boise’s restaurant scene.
Still, the space was small. Limitations loomed. In 2018, the State & Lemp culinary squad exited to pursue new ventures. Two members of the visionary team, chef Kris Komori and co-owner Remi McManus, now plan to open Kin restaurant and lounge later this year in Downtown Boise.
State & Lemp signage still hangs on their former building. There’s no obvious indication that Epek and its farm-friendly aspirations were there, except for tomato plants bearing unripened fruit along the sidewalk outside.
What might blossom next in the space — or wilt — is anyone’s guess.