Restaurant News

Food Notes: Panera Bread debuts in Meridian; Soldier Mountain retools grill menu

There’s no Panera Bread in Boise yet — that’s planned for later this year — but the fast-casual eatery recently opened in Meridian.
There’s no Panera Bread in Boise yet — that’s planned for later this year — but the fast-casual eatery recently opened in Meridian. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Panera Bread recently opened at 3421 N. Eagle Road in the space where Fuddruckers once resided.

This is the second Treasure Valley location for the Missouri-based chain. Last summer, it opened a store in Nampa at 16839 N. Marketplace Blvd.

The fast-casual cafe and bakery is known for its large variety of freshly baked savory breads, including traditional baguettes, ciabatta, focaccia and assorted rustic loaves. Don’t forget to try the fresh bagels, too.

Besides artisan breads, Panera also puts out sweet pastries on a daily basis. Expect to find flaky croissants, bear claws, cherry Danish and a gooey pecan braid.

In the morning, the restaurant also serves breakfast sandwiches, mini-baked egg soufflés and almond-quinoa oatmeal, to name few.

Later in the day, diners can score hearty soups, entrée salads, pasta dishes, panini sandwiches, various flatbreads and more.

Panera Bread has plans to open a Boise location later in the year.

Store hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Online: panerabread.com

New tap room in Eagle

Eagle Triple Tap debuted Dec. 18 in a strip mall at 1580 E. State St. near the corner of Edgewood Lane.

This new beer mecca has a 40-tap system that’s currently pouring a rotating selection of 30 handcrafted brews from the Boise area and other nearby regions, with more to come soon.

Owner Pat Weber and his son, Brandon (who manages the pub), offer pints, flights and growler jugs.

Brandon Weber says the tap room will offer a small menu of pub grub in the coming months — just enough to soak up the beer. Don’t be surprised to find street tacos, big pretzels and other beer-friendly noshes. This will happen about the same time the sidewalk patio opens, once the birds start chirping again.

Eagle Triple Tap is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Online: facebook.com/eagletripletap

Soldier Mountain offers scratch pub grub

Soldier Mountain Ski Area near Fairfield has new owners who have completely retooled the bar and grill menus to accommodate the flux of skiers and snowboarders this season.

Matt and Diane McFerran, who recently moved to Idaho from Bend, Ore., purchased the resort in November and busted a serious move to open the ski hill in early December.

During the hurried process, they managed to not overlook the food and beverage program at the small lodge near the chairlift. They hired a Hailey-based chef, Blake Luck, to run the kitchen.

Luck has a thing for scratch cooking.

“Blake makes almost everything by hand, like salad dressings and sauces to the hand-formed burgers,” Diane McFerran says. “Some people say it’s the best burger they’ve had around here.”

Don’t tell that to The Wrangler, a burger joint in Fairfield known for its Powder Pig burger.

Besides beef burgers, the lunch menu also has a veggie burger (made with sweet potato and black beans), appetizers, freshly made soups, gyro sandwiches and daily specials.

In the morning, snowbirds can warm up with hearty breakfast sandwiches, stacks of pancakes and espresso drinks.

The bar pours draft microbrews and hard ciders and offers wines by the glass. How about a glass of bubbly Prosecco after carving through fresh powder all day?

Soldier Mountain Ski Area is located at 1043 N. Soldier Road and is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The bar and grill is open on those days for breakfast 8 to 10:30 a.m., lunch 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and it offers a limited menu till 5 p.m.

Online: soldiermountain.com

Get your chocolate on

On Jan. 23, check out the To Die For Chocolate Festival slated to take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Forward Movement Training Center, 125 W. Taylor Ave., in Meridian.

The festival, sponsored by Epique Events, Sockeye Brewery and Cellar 616, will give chocolate lovers the opportunity to try a gamut of chocolate goodies (paired with beer and wine, if they like) put out by vendors such as Waffle Me Up, Truffles and Dove Chocolate. Participants will get to vote on their favorite chocolate items, and there also will be a silent auction that benefits the Rotary Club.

Buy advance tickets for $15 or spend $20 at the door, both of which include five tastings. For more information, visit todieforchocolatefestival.com.

Submit restaurant news to scene@idahostatesman.com.

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