Food & Drink

Diner coming soon to Boise Avenue; Huckleberry Festival Aug. 11-13

Huckleberries will be the star of the show at the Huckleberry Festival next weekend in Donnelly.
Huckleberries will be the star of the show at the Huckleberry Festival next weekend in Donnelly. Idaho Statesman file

Mom’s Diner is slated to open in early September in the former Franco’s Pizzeria spot, at 1221 W. Boise Ave., near Boise State University.

Owners Will Hay, Terese Reynolds and Yvonne Vick, who originally shot for a July opening, are still working on the finishing touches for their upscale diner concept.

The décor will be an amalgam of retro and contemporary touches, and the menu will strive to do the same. They have already installed a restored 1953 AMI jukebox that spins 45 records. How cool is that?

Hay and his partners are taking the menu into the way-back machine with homages to local restaurants that no longer exist.

“We are going to do a little shout-out to some Boise menus of the past, like pies inspired by Manley’s that used to be on Federal Way,” said Hay, who also co-owns the Spacebar Arcade.

The all-day menu will have lots of fun twists on old-school comfort food, including hearty breakfast items, fried chicken, chili cheese fries, finger steaks, sandwiches, salads, soups and scratch-made desserts. And yes, there will be plenty to eat for vegetarians and vegans. Also expect to find daily blue-plate specials.

Mom’s Diner be open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, with earlier weekday hours to be added after the late-summer opening.

For progress reports, go to

Pino’s debuts on Ustick Road

Pino’s Fine Spirits and Grinders recently opened at 10697 W. Ustick Road across from Albertsons at the corner of Five Mile Road.

The new eatery is situated in a strip mall near Little Caesars Pizza. It specializes in meaty grinders made on house-made submarine buns. The fast-casual restaurant also offers classic cocktails, four craft beers on tap (local and regional) and wines by the glass.

The menu features a plethora of oven-baked hot sandwiches lubed with scratch-made vinaigrette, including sausage and cheese ($5.49 half/$10.73 whole), meatball and cheese ($6.25 half/$12.25 whole), pastrami and cheese ($6.45 half/$13.25 whole) and a steak and cheese grinder ($7 half/$13.75 whole) with sautéed green bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Pino’s uses mozzarella and jack cheeses on its sandwiches.

Diners can also get a roast beef French dip sandwich served with au jus ($7 half/$13.75 whole) and a chicken Caesar sandwich ($6.75 half/$13.25 whole) with bacon, lettuce, tomato and creamy Caesar dressing.

In addition to the sandwiches, Pino’s serves garlic bread ($2.25), a soup of the day ($3 cup/$5.50 bowl) and entrée-size green salads ($7.75), such as a chef’s salad and one with albacore tuna, olives, cheddar and tomato.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday.

Phone: (208) 375-9999.

New Middle Eastern food vendor at Saturday Market

Haithm Abu Queder recently started selling Syrian food on Saturdays at the Capital City Public Market, held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. along the 8th Street corridor.

Abu Queder, a seasoned cook who hails from Dara, Syria, moved to the United States in 2015 after fleeing his war-torn homeland.

His weekly booth, simply named Middle East Food, features grilled meat kebab sandwiches ($9/marinated lamb or chicken), veggie falafel sandwiches ($7) and tamar hindi ($3), a sour tamarind juice drink that’s popular on the streets of Damascus and in other southern cities of Syria.

Stop by the market to say hello and try his riff on Middle Eastern cuisine.

To view the market map, visit

Celebrate the almighty huckleberry

Head to Donnelly next weekend, Aug. 11-13, for the annual Huckleberry Festival, to be held at various spots around town.

This year’s lineup once again features the Huck Trot 5K fun run, live music, bull and bronco riding, a huckleberry pie eating contest and a small-town parade. Food from vendors who will be set up throughout the weekend include chorizos and hot dogs from Txo-Txo’s Dog House, wood-fired pizza from the Fire Pie Traveling Pizza Company, Aaron’s Dippin Dots, Abigail’s Kitchen (chicken, tri-tip beef, pita wraps, carnitas and Mediterranean burgers) and freshly squeezed lemonade, kettle corn and mini-doughnuts from Seven Devils Delights.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, make sure to check out the huckleberry pancake breakfast ($7 adults, $5 kids 10 and younger) from 8 to 11 a.m. under a big tent just east of Idaho 55 at Jordan Street. In addition to pancakes studded with local huckleberries, the menu also includes ham and eggs.

For more information, go to

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