Words & Deeds

‘After 41 years, it’s bittersweet’: Iconic restaurant and bar in McCall, Idaho, to close.

A longtime restaurant and bar in McCall will say “hasta la vista” this month.

Southside Grill and Cantina, known to Idaho natives as Si Bueno, will close July 26.

Located across from the McCall Municipal Airport at 339 Deinhard Lane, Southside Grill is a well-known watering hole among locals, as well as tourists and Boise visitors looking for a hangout off the beaten downtown path.

“This has been a difficult decision, as it will no longer be a restaurant, and is more of an era passing than just closing the doors,” co-owner Melinda Nielsen said. “My husband and partner, Rodney, and I are both in our 70s now and need to slow down the pace and start a new chapter in our lives.”

Established in 1978 as Si Bueno, the restaurant eventually expanded its Mexican menu to include seafood and steaks. Along the way, Rodrigo’s Cantina was opened inside. The restaurant’s name was expanded to Si Bueno Southside Grill and Cantina, letting folks know it was on the south side of town. And in 2013, an aviation theme was added to the festive Mexican atmosphere.

“After 41 years, it’s bittersweet to close this local eatery and gathering place,” the Nielsen family wrote on social media. “We have seen so many ups and downs in McCall, keeping up with customers’ ever-changing whims and requests ... more than a small challenge, always gratifying. It’s difficult to close the door on this iconic business knowing the disappointment in the faces of our loyal customers when they find out they can’t walk into their favorite eatery after all these years.”

After the restaurant is closed, All Events Catering — which became a significant part of the business — will continue to operate in the summer.

The Southside Grill property, which is being sold, is slated to become a medical building.

Online: facebook.com/southsidegrillmcall.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman. Since joining the newsroom as an intern in 1991, he has been a sportswriter, features editor and entertainment editor. Deeds also co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.