After the closure of The Tailgate, the gray, trapezoid-like Boise sports bar has sat empty for months awaiting its next owner to draw customers into its doors once again.
It need only wait a little longer, as local Mexican restaurant Jalapeño’s Bar & Grill will establish its third location in the building. The owners hope the restaurant will open mid October.
The existing Nampa and Boise Jalapeño’s locations are owned by sisters Irma Valdivia and Leticia McLaughlin, respectively. Jalapeño’s Nampa branch, at 1921 Caldwell Blvd., opened in 2006 and expanded into Boise at 8799 Franklin Road in 2009. The two restaurants have about 70 employees between them. About 30 more will be added for the new location. Mike Valdivia, Irma and Leticia’s brother, will manage the new location at 815 W. Ann Morrison Park Drive, keeping the restaurant in the family.
The two original Jalapeño’s locations offer a variety of traditional Mexican dishes, from a “speedy lunch” at $6.25 to “Leticia’s Especial,” a dish with grilled fish and vegetables at $14.99 for dinner. Irma said she and her sister pride themselves on being family-friendly and are looking forward to adding options for families and other customers near the west end of Boise State University’s campus — otherwise known as the Lusk District.
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“There aren’t as many affordable places over there,” Irma said. “There are a lot of wonderful families up on the Bench and as (Boise) grows, we need to offer and affordable family restaurant,”
For the adults, Jalapeño’s also serves a variety of tequila cocktails. While tequila is a common choice to pair with Mexican cuisine, Irma and Leticia hold these drinks in particular regard, as their family came to Idaho from Jalisco, the state in Mexico in which tequila originated.
“We were born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and we definitely have that twist in our menu,” Irma said. “It’s a beautiful state, and I take trips there to learn more about their tequila.”
As for the college-age customers the new restaurant is likely to attract given its proximity to Boise State, Irma hopes an emphasis on fresh ingredients and health-conscious options will help turn these students into regular customers. All meat served is hand cut and locally sourced to emulate the traditional techniques and dishes Irma and Leticia learned in Jalisco.
“We want to cut the idea that Meixcan food is fattening or greasy,” Irma said. “Young people are becoming more health-conscious, so we try to give healthier options and cook with the best ingredients.”
Between now and the new location’s opening in October, the three siblings will remodel the building — which has been closed since June 30 — into something “a little more cozy.” Further updates will be posted on Jalapeño’s Facebook page.