Let’s learn a Basque word: Txikiteo (pronounced chick-e-tayo). It means “pub crawl,” and it’s the name of the wine and tapas restaurant coming to Downtown Boise.
Txikiteo is the creation of Elizabeth Tullis, owner of Boise’s The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 W. Grove St. This satellite business is a block north of The Modern at The Watercooler Apartments, 1401 W. Idaho St.
Tullis envisions Txikiteo as a gathering place to socialize, to grab a quick croque monsieur for breakfast, an exotic soup for lunch, or to share charcuterie (pork) and cheese over a glass of wine or beer.
The 890-square-foot restaurant is in the early construction and design phases by the same team — architect Dwaine Carver, artist Robert Tullis and designer Kerry Tullis — that transformed the old Travelodge motel into a chic boutique hotel. It is part of an expansion of The Modern that also includes four executive apartments at The Watercooler.
Txikiteo will have its own look and a different feel than The Modern, Kerry Tullis says: “We were really drawn to the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi [imperfect beauty] that stresses simplicity and elemental materials.”
They examined that concept through a lens of Basque cultural life, where people live more in public spaces like the local restaurant in the plaza down the street, because living spaces are small. That idea inspired the name Txikiteo, which refers to a culture of going from place to place.
The interior is dominated by two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. The decor will be simple and uncluttered, with plaster walls and an unstained concrete floor. The shelving behind the bar will be clear-coated steel. The bar top will be made from reclaimed wood. In contrast, the metal and reclaimed glass chandeliers will be fanciful and playful, Kerry Tullis said.
The Modern is known for its creative craft-cocktail menu and James Beard semifinalist chef Nate Whitley’s cuisine. This new spot will have two chefs. Former Modern chef David King will return to handle breakfast and lunch. Former Bar Gernika owner Dan Ansotegui will handle dinner and late-night. The seasonal cuisine with have an international flair and will rotate weekly during the warmer seasons.
Breakfast will include coffee, smoothies and sandwiches ($4-$7). Lunch and dinner will be a mix of soups, salads and sandwiches ($6-$9). Dinner also will feature charcuterie and cheese plates ($10-$12) prepared tapas-style, “small bites with big big flavor,” Elizabeth Tullis says.
There also will be one hot entree, such as roasted pork shoulder ($15-$20).
Txikiteo will offer casual grab-and-go or sit-and-stay counter service. There is no kitchen, per se. so soups and other hot foods will be prepared at The Modern and kept fresh in large refrigerators and warmers.
Beer and wine will be curated by The Modern Bar’s staff. The selection will be a mix of close-to-home and global, with three rotating beer taps, more bottles and cans, and wines by the glass or bottle.
Tullis expects Txikiteo to be open in time for the Treefort Music Fest in March. Though The Modern is not an official Treefort venue, Tullis produces “Burning Lamb” in the hotel’s parking lot. It’s a free, intimate outdoor performance space where Treefort bands and musicians perform short sets each day, with a lamb roast. That event also will happen at Txikiteo.
The apartments range from studio to two-bedroom units that can be booked through The Modern or on Airbnb for between $250 and $375 a night, with discounts for longer stays up to 30 days.