Canyon County

This man wants to open a cigar lounge before Nampa outlaws smoking establishments

Downtown Nampa gets a wave of renovation to historic buildings

Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.
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Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.

Tim Wangler considers himself a cigar connoisseur. He can tell you what cigars pair well with what scotches and rums. He considers smoking tobacco a “fine art.” He hopes others in Nampa feel the same way.

If not, he wants to teach them to.

Wangler and his wife, Jennifer, are working to open a new cigar-smoking hangout, V-Cut Lounge, in downtown Nampa. The lounge, which is set to open in a 1,380-square-foot space in the front of the new H&M Meats shop at 217 14th Ave. S., would become Nampa’s newest bar downtown.

It’s going to be intimate,” Wangler said. “Smoking a cigar ... your clock really slows down.”

Wangler picked up cigar smoking when he started fly fishing in Idaho. Soon, he persuaded his wife to start smoking cigars, too. Their lounge would be named after the v-cutter, a snipper that creates a unique wedge notch on a cigar.

On April 15, the City Council approved a liquor license for V-Cut. That approval was followed by a discussion about whether Nampa should consider an ordinance that would limit the number of liquor licenses downtown.

“We’re becoming more and more 21-and-over and not a family setting downtown,” Councilman Bruce Skaug said at the time.

Wangler hopes that the cigar lounge will be more than just a bar. He wants to emulate some of the atmosphere of The Vault, at 140 E. Idaho Ave. in downtown Meridian. That business is owned by Josh Evarts, who is also developing Meridian’s 103-unit apartment and retail project, Old Town Lofts, just a few blocks away at 713 Main St.

It’s going to be a lot of earth-tone colors, a lot of leather furniture, some cool antique tables,” Wangler said. A college football fan, Wangler will also install two televisions to broadcast sports games.

Wangler is investing about $30,000 into renovations to the space. The Wanglers also own the Idaho Book Bindery at 2603 Sundance Road in west Nampa, which prints marketing materials.

The bar will also offer free Wi-Fi so folks can also use the space for work, Wangler said. He hopes to hire a handful of employees to run the bar and lounge once it opens this fall.

Wangler understands the risk of opening a cigar lounge at a time when some Treasure Valley cities are considering smoking bans, or have already implemented them. Boise implemented a smoking ban in 2012, and Meridian City Councilman Luke Cavener brought up the idea in 2018 with the Meridian City Council, which considered exempting businesses like The Vault.

The Nampa City Council has yet to warm to the idea. Earlier this year, the council voted down a proposal to ban smoking outside of the Nampa Library.

But Wangler is sure that Nampa’s time will come. When it does, he hopes to get an exemption, as Evarts would get under the Meridian ordinance Cavener proposed.

“It’s just a matter of time. It’s going to take a handful of years,” Wangler predicted. “I want to start this now to get grandfathered in.”



H&M MEATS.jpg
Chef Allen Barrett and owner Adam Hutchings of H&M Meats stand in their newly renovated space at 215 14th Ave. S. in downtown Nampa. Behind them, the wall is decorated with strips of old whiskey barrels from Mother Earth Brewing. Kate Talerico ktalerico@idahostatesman.com

H&M Meats and Catering

Just behind the lounge, H&M Meats and Catering, owned by Adam and Whitney Hutchings, will offer appetizers and small plates to smokers.

While the barbecue catering company has been around since 1963, the Hutchingses bought the company in 2015. Until this year, it was located at 209 N. 11th Ave. N., across the train tracks from downtown Nampa, where it moved in February.

“What’s unique about us is that we cut our own meats fresh, right here,” Adam Hutchings said in an interview. H&M meats also offers custom spice blends, and prepares cuts like sirloin and rib-eye steaks.

H&M’s primary business is still catering, but its newly renovated location will allow groups and events. Hutchings also plans to open two days a week during the afternoons, operating a lunch counter called “The Block.”

 
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Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.
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