Restaurant News

Buy tickets now for Sippin’ in the City; final weekend at Ben’s Crow Inn

Ben’s Crow Inn in East Boise, well known for its steamed clams, finger steaks and cold beer, will close after 45 years on Sunday, Oct. 9.
Ben’s Crow Inn in East Boise, well known for its steamed clams, finger steaks and cold beer, will close after 45 years on Sunday, Oct. 9. Chris Butler/Idaho Statesman

It’s time to start thinking about the sixth annual Sippin’ in the City on Nov. 4 at the Eighth & Main building, 800 W. Main St., from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The food-and-wine shindig is put on each year by the Idaho Wine Commission. The event ($40 per person, including a commemorative wine glass) takes place this year in the event space on the 17th floor of Idaho’s tallest building. (In the past, Sippin’ in the City has been held at the Linen Building.)

Mingle with winemakers from Idaho’s Snake River and Lewis-Clark valleys and gain insight into the winemaking process that goes on in the Gem State’s burgeoning wine regions.

Several Idaho wineries will be on hand pouring select vintages and blends: Split Rail Winery, Huston Vineyards, Cinder Wines, Crossings Winery, Williamson Vineyards, Colter’s Creek Winery and more.

As for food, Idaho Preferred will be serving cinnamon apple cones (cinnamon-dusted tortillas with local apples and whipped cream), and Zeppole Baking Co. and Porterhouse Market will be putting out small noshes.

To score tickets, go to

Last call at Ben’s Crow Inn

Ben’s Crow Inn, 6781 E. Warm Springs Ave., will serve its last patrons on Oct. 9.

The venerable watering hole in East Boise has been doing business for 48 years, but owner Ben Hamilton is in the process of selling the property to a developer and has decided to call it quits.

Ben’s Crow Inn has earned a loyal following over the years. The bar is well known for its steamed clams, finger steaks and cold beer.

Take a trip down memory lane for the last time. It’s open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Sunday.

Owyhee tavern opens in Boise

Downtown Boise’s next big dining experience — the upscale surf and turf restaurant and lounge Owyhee Tavern Steak & Sea — will open in the historic Owyhee Building on Saturday, Oct. 8.

It’s been in the works since March from the owners of the more casual neighborhood spot The Tavern at Bown Crossing.

The new restaurant is a fine-dining concept with a menu that features an oyster bar (with oysters flown in daily), Idaho’s Snake River Farms American Wagyu beef, and other farm-to-table and organic specialties.

You’ll find prime rib served nightly, plus menu items such as Mary’s Organic Chicken, kung pao calamari, fondue, and a seafood tower with cold water lobster, king crab, jumbo prawns and oysters, and an array of entrée salads, pastas, burgers and sandwiches.

The lounge will serve a signature cocktail menu with spins on both classic and contemporary cocktails, plus 250 wines by the bottle and 20 by the glass.

Owyhee Tavern Steak & Sea, 1109 W. Main St., Boise, is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 11 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Sundays. Lounge hours are 4 p.m. to close daily.

Bosnian cuisine in Meridian

Sofra Bosnian Grill recently debuted at 3665 E. Overland Road, in the same complex as Soup Kettle Grille near the corner of Eagle Road.

You’ll find lots of specialties from the Bosnian stretch of the Adriatic Sea. Appetizers include spinach dip with bread ($4.99) and creamy hummus ($4.99).

There are larger plates such as a beef sausage sandwich ($7.99/small and $10.99/large), shish kebab ($9.99/chicken or beef) and a beef and lamb gyro sandwich ($8.99) served with hummus, fries and tzatziki yogurt sauce. You can also get various Mediterranean pies ($7.99) served with kefir dipping sauce.

For dessert, go for a wedge of flaky baklava ($2.99) or Bosnian-style sweet bread ($2.49).

Sofra Bosnian Grill is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Phone: 389-8690.

Crossings Winery events

Crossings Winery, 1289 W. Madison Ave. in Glenns Ferry, keeps a busy event schedule this time of year.

Check out Que-Syrah-Syrah on Oct. 15. Starting at 4 p.m. in the wine cellar, you can judge various Syrah wines from around the Northwest in a blind tasting. The event costs $50 per person and includes small bites of wine-friendly fare. This is part of an ongoing series of events that shines a spotlight on different grape varietals and styles of winemaking. The winery held a Cabernet Franc event in August, and it has plans to host a similar tasting soiree for sparkling wines in December. Reservations required.

On Oct. 29, Crossings Winery is hosting an Adult Halloween Party from 7 to 10 p.m. The free event will feature a costume contest, live music and lots of other ghoulish fun to get you in the mood for Halloween. Wine and seasonal appetizers will be sold separately. No reservations required.

Secure a spot now if you plan on attending The Cowboy Formal fall winemaker’s dinner on Nov. 5. This event ($100 per person, including tax and gratuity) is the most popular one the winery puts on, and it typically sells out.

Shine up your favorite cowboy and cowgirl duds and enjoy a six-course tasting menu paired to wines made by Neil Glancey. The dinner kicks off in the wine cellar at 5:30 p.m. with live music, wine cocktails and traditional cocktails, followed by the dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Make reservations online at or by calling 208-366-2313.

Advanced sommelier

Ryan Robinson, wine director at Chandlers Steakhouse in Downtown Boise, is now an advanced sommelier as awarded by the Court of Master Sommeliers. There are only about 1,200 advanced sommeliers in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and Robinson is believed to be the first in Idaho to earn the honor after taking a three-day exam earlier this year.

“We are incredibly proud of Ryan for achieving such notable status within the restaurant industry,” said Rex Chandler, owner and founder of Chandlers.

Robinson also was recently voted fan favorite at the Somms Under Fire competition in Austin, Texas, where he made the final round as one of the top three sommeliers in the United States.

Chandlers is at 981 W. Grove St in Boise.

Lunch changes

Reel Foods Fish Market and Oyster Bar chef and owner Marcus Bonilla will end his full lunch cafe menu and service after Saturday, Oct. 15, but promises to return in 2017 with a new lunch concept.

Bonilla originally bought the venerable Downtown fish market with chef Mark Ballan in 2015. Ballan moved on earlier this year.

The lunch menu was developed by chef Jason Bruzewski, who ran the kitchen when Reel Foods was owned by Ocean Beauty Seafood.

“We thought we’d go with it and see how it went, but now I want to do something that is more us,” Bonilla says.

He will continue to make and serve soups and oysters to eat there or take away from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. after Oct. 15. Soups include clam chowder, fisherman’s stew and seasonal specialties such as blue crab bisque and cioppino.

It also will continue to sell fresh fish and seafood and run its catering business.

Reel Foods, at 611 S. Capitol Blvd. in Downtown Boise, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Statesman reporters also contributed to this week’s Food Notes feature.