Words & Deeds

Folks are feasting at new Boise food truck park. “The neighbors are like, ‘Thank you!’”

What’s your favorite Idaho food? (Besides potatoes.)

Idaho is known for a lot of things, including some special food.
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Idaho is known for a lot of things, including some special food.

Living in East Boise, Courtney Santillan found herself hungry — for restaurants.

“If anybody ever visits or comes to Harris Ranch, they know we have very little food options,” she says.

There’s well-known Lucky 13 pizza. Ice cream at newcomer The STIL. This fall, a sushi-and-beer spot is on track to debut.

But stomachs keep growling.

So Santillan created The Switchback.

Boise’s only dedicated food truck park opened Aug. 4 on the corner of Old Hickory and Wolf Tree streets. (Type “3000 S Old Hickory St” in your navigation app; you’ll find it.)

Harris Ranch residents have been feasting ever since.

“It’s been awesome,” Santillan says. “All the neighbors are like, ‘Thank you for doing this! We so needed that.’ ”

The Switchback is more than trucks slinging tasty grub. It’s a friendly hangout — inspired by established, out-of-state dining destinations such as Rayback Collective in Boulder, Colorado, and The Yard Food Park in Salem, Oregon.

Artificial grass makes the wide-open lot inviting, along with spool and picnic tables, umbrellas and sun-shade sails. Cornhole and other lawn games add a family-friendly vibe. This weekend, live music is scheduled.

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Families relax and play at Harris Ranch’s new food truck park. Courtney Santillan The Switchback

Santillan sells beverages from a 1972 Shasta camper that’s been converted into a beer and wine trailer. But the Switchback’s focus definitely is the smorgasbord, provided by three or four food trucks with different menu backbones.

Grid Waffles owner Danyelle Evelyn says she sold out during The Switchback’s opening day.

“It was packed from when we first opened until nighttime,” Evelyn says. “We had to make batter three different times. The community has been really great. Every time we go there, we have been busy.”

The Switchback was open weekdays initially, but that was reduced to Friday through Sunday after school started.

Harris Ranch approved the park through September, but Santillan has requested an extension through October.

After that, as long as she gets the nod, The Switchback will return next spring.

“As long as people are supporting it and excited about it, we should be good to go,” Santillan says. “... Creating a gathering space for food trucks where folks can walk, bike, or stroll to was the dream.”

Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Food-truck schedules: @switchbackboise on Facebook and switchbackboise.com.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and opinion columnist at the Idaho Statesman. Since starting at the Statesman as a news intern in 1991, he has been a sportswriter and features/entertainment editor. Deeds also has freelanced for The Washington Post, Relix, Country Weekly, Velo News, Beer Advocate and more.
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