Fanci Freez was the first of Boise’s burger and milkshake drive-ins to open back in the day. From 1947 until today, it has been owned by several people. Its reputation fluctuated over the years, going from dive to darling to vintage treasure today.
Current owners Bill and Alison Hawes plan to take it up a notch by opening a second location in Meridian at the new Northpointe Retail Plaza at 1750 W. McMillan Road, at Linder Road.
The restaurant will share a building with Tin Roof Tacos, another popular Boise restaurant that is adding a second location in Idaho’s fastest-growing city. Both expect to open sometime next spring.
The Meridian Fanci Freez will be be much larger and more of a restaurant than the original, with a diner-style counter, indoor and outdoor seating and a fire pit, Bill Hawes said.
He’s also working with the architects to include an indoor fireplace.
The Haweses bought Fanci Freez, at 1402 W. State St., earlier this year, bringing with them Bill Hawes’ experience with co-owning several Five Guys Burger franchises. He and his brothers sold those in 2016.
“I was working on my own concept, but when Fanci Freez came up for sale, I couldn’t pass it up,” he said.
Fanci Freez is a popular place for Boise High School students to hit for lunch. The Meridian location will be close to Rocky Mountain High School. Hawes was drawn to the new location because, like Boise, it also has a neighborhood feel.
In Boise, “even though we’re on State Street, this really has a neighborhood feel,” Hawes says. “We have a lot of people hanging out here all the time. Where we’re going to be is the same kind of area, where there are more rooftops than retail.”
Hawes has memories of Fanci Freez from when he was a small child. His mother went to Boise High and he remembers her talking about it fondly. Hawes himself grew up on the East Coast but came back to Idaho when he left the tech sector to pursue something different.
The couple live in Eagle. They decided to open in Meridian because he kept hearing from neighbors that they wanted more options in Meridian than chains like McDonald’s.
Though the Meridian location will be about three times larger than Boise’s, “We won’t forget our roots,” he said. The Meridian menu will be basically the same, with soups and a high school lunch special.
Fanci Freez is known for classic “giant” burgers and cheeseburgers, soft-serve ice cream cones and milkshakes in 50 flavors, including the “Boston shake” — a milkshake and a sundae in a single cup.