McCall eases sharp curbs on ‘formula’ retailers to let this restaurant in

The interior of The Griddle in Meridian pays homage to the classic American diner.
The interior of The Griddle in Meridian pays homage to the classic American diner. Idaho Statesman file

McCall’s city council has eased the tourism town’s limits on “formula” restaurants to allow a small chain of four breakfast restaurants — including three in Ada County — to expand there.

The change means The Griddle, which has restaurants in its home city of Winnemucca, Nev., and in Meridian, Eagle and Boise, can move ahead with plans to open in Alpine Village, a housing and retail complex south of downtown McCall.

A 2006 city ordinance decreed that “formula” restaurants could make up no more than 10 percent of the restaurants in McCall. The city now has 44 restaurants, five of which meet the city’s definition of “formula:” Chapala Mexican Restaurant, Moxie Java, Stax, Subway and KB’s Burritos, according to McCall’s Community Development Department.

The change, approved Nov. 3, exempts restaurants like The Griddle with five or fewer locations from that limit. Without it, seven more single-location restaurants would have had to open first.

Ashley Ferguson, whose family owns The Griddle, told council members that she did not consider the restaurants to be formulaic. “I consider them to be true ‘mom and pops,’” she said.

Alpine Village owner Mike Hormaechea requested the change after Ferguson and her husband, David Aboud, expressed interest in opening the restaurant in his complex. Hormeachea acknowledged that the intent of the 2006 ordinance is to protect McCall’s character.

“I believe businesses like (The Griddle) will complement and enhance McCall’s unique and special character, yet they have been swept up by the broad definition incorporated in the ordinance,” Hormaechea wrote in a letter to the city.

The restaurant would employ 20 to 25 people and serve breakfast and lunch only, as the other Griddles do, Ferguson said.

The Griddle plans a fifth location in Nampa.

Statesman Business Editor David Staats contributed.