Best of Treasure Valley 2019

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Curtis Stigers, singing during a Leonard Cohen tribute at The Record Exchange in 2017, has been a fixture in the Statesman’s Best of Treasure Valley for years.


Familiar winners and some surprises as revamped Best of Treasure Valley returns BY CHRIS LANGRILL SPECIAL TO THE IDAHO STATESMAN

Welcome back to the Idaho Statesman’s Best of Treasure Valley. After a one-year hiatus, the gold standard of area “Best Of” contests is back. And readers certainly embraced the return: Nearly 95,000 votes were cast this year. A few changes were implemented this time around. Statesman staff carefully chose 20 nominees for each category (some had fewer) based on previous Statesman’s BOTV winners and finalists, while also adding some new players in the area. Also, each person was allowed one vote per category, so there was no ballot stuffing. In the end, those voters have provided a good snapshot of all that makes the Valley a great place to live and visit. The 99 categories were grouped into three areas. Here’s a brief introduction.

ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT & THINGS TO DO This section highlights some of the talented people who call the area home, from a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer (Anthony Doerr, Best Author) to an internationally known jazz musician and singer who has sold millions of records (Curtis Stigers, Best Musician/Band). It also highlights the area’s vibrant art scene and sporting community, from the 4

Idaho Shakespeare Festival (Best Performing Arts Group) to Boise State Broncos football (Best Sporting Event). One category winner has become a vibrant part of the Boise landscape: The Traffic Box Gallery (Best Public Art). “We get a lot of positive feedback for this program,” said Catina Crum, public arts assistant with the Boise City Department of Arts and History. “People really enjoy how the art makes something that is kind of bleak – these steel boxes that aren’t really beautiful to look at – into art that makes them colorful and vibrant and something they like to see every day.” The program is adding 32 boxes this year that should be finished by the end of September. When finished, the Traffic Box Gallery will have more than 200 works of art.

Fries and Best Burger). Aaron brings a little perspective, too: His history working in area restaurants dates to the mid-1970s. “I’ve been to Seattle and Portland a lot, and we’re right on par with those guys,” Aaron said. “Especially in the last 10 years, it’s just exploded to the point that we’re at culinary heights where we’ve never been before.”

MARKETPLACE Looking for a good book to read? Consider roaming the aisles of Rediscovered Bookshop (Best Bookstore). Hoping to finance a house purchase? You might give Idaho Central Credit Union a call (Best Mortgage/Best Financial Institution). The bottom line: If you’re in the market for a product or service, this can help point you in the right direction. Perhaps you’ve been going in any number of different directions because of the ever-present (and dusty) road construction in the Treasure Valley. It’s time to give your car a new shine at Rocket Express (Best Car Wash). Joe Russell, who owns Rocket Express with his wife, Janet, takes pride in the business – and knows all about the satisfaction of driving a clean car. “It can brighten your day,” Russell said. “It’s nice to take pride in the things we own, and automobiles are right at the top of most peoples’ list in that regard.”

FOOD AND DRINK It’s a good idea to peruse this section on a full stomach, because if you’re hungry, you are only going to get hungrier – and way thirstier. Voters have singled out some of the best food and drink options in the Treasure Valley, from fine dining (perennial winner Chandlers Steakhouse, Best Steakhouse and Best Fine Dining Restaurant) to less informal fare (Idaho Pizza Company, Best Pizzeria). The offerings continue to impress Lou Aaron, chef and owner of Westside Drive In (Best Finger Steaks, runner-up in Best

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Idahoans still love to get outside, as these BOTV winners prove BY CHRIS LANGRILL SPECIAL TO THE IDAHO STATESMAN

Imagine waking up one Saturday morning and finding that you have nothing on your calendar. Or perhaps you find your children are telling you they’re bored before you even hop out of bed on a Sunday. Either way, this section of the Best of Treasure Valley can serve as the ultimate guide for ways to get outside and enjoy what the area has to offer.


Bonnie Shelton, communications manager for Boise Parks and Recreation, said there might not be a better way to start your day than finding a section of the Greenbelt to take a lengthy stroll. After all, it was voted Best Place to Impress Out of Towners. “It’s hard to picture Boise without picturing the Greenbelt,” Shelton said. “It’s such a unique piece of our city. … Yes, it’s a place where you bring out-oftowners, but it’s also a place where you bring your family every weekend.”

Turns out, this year is a great year to reflect on the greatness of the Greenbelt. “Think about the vision it took to create the Greenbelt,” Shelton said. “We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Greenbelt this year. At the time it was considered a crazy idea, but look at it now. … You can get on the Greenbelt in Eagle and ride all the way up to Lucky Peak in Ada County. It’s just that unifying factor when you think of Boise, and it’s free and accessible to everyone.” Turns out, another BOTV winner in

this section is enjoying an anniversary: Ann Morrison Park (Best Public Park). “That’s 60 years for one of the most prominent parks in our system,” Shelton said. “Ann Morrison is kind of like Boise’s living room. It’s where we host some of our most iconic events in the city of Boise.” Think Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. Think Movies Under the Stars. Think Fourth of July fireworks. “People have made a bunch of memories at Ann Morrison Park through the years, so going there has become a family tradition,” Shelton said. Want to make sure the kids burn off a little energy? Hike up to Table Rock (Best Trail). “It gives you that amazing view of the city, and it’s not too tough, so families can take their kids on it,” Shelton said. But maybe your family wants to take


Zoo Boise was voted best place to take the family.

the fun inside. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options. One option that is a bit off the beaten path but continues to grow a cult

following is the Warhawk Air Museum (Best Museum/Attraction). Pamela Hayn describes the museum as “a bit of a hidden gem” in Canyon County. “We have some of the rarest planes in the world, and people are so surprised when they come out here,” said Hayn, the director of marketing for the museum. “We hear that from people all the time: ‘I knew it was out here, but I had no idea how big it is.’” Hayn said she is guilty of that herself. She has lived in Canyon County for years, but was taken aback when she saw the museum, which is located next tofor the Nampa Airport, for the first time a few years ago. “I knew it was a big museum, but I almost fell over,” she said. DARIN OSWALD STATESMAN FILE

The trail to Table Rock, an iconic destination in the Foothills, is well-worn.





Fred Choate has been a full-time artist since 1982. But since 1997, he has been particularly focused on painting the Southern Idaho landscape, and he’s become particularly fascinated by the way that bodies of water refract and reflect light. If you’ve spent any amount of time in the Treasure Valley you’ve seen his murals, which have graced the walls of everything from the Garden City Library to Gino’s Italian Restaurant to the exterior of the Record Exchange. Go to to see his work – or even learn how to attend a class. Runners-up:

Jessica Tookey Ward Hooper

BEST AUTHOR: ANTHONY DOERR Anthony Doerr was already an extremely accomplished writer before his novel “All the Light We Cannot See” was published in 2014. After all, his short stories and essays have won four O’Henry Prizes, and his work has been translated into 40 languages. But it was his masterwork, “All the Light We Cannot See,” that made Doerr a household name 10



Anthony Doerr, author of “All the Light We Cannot See,” is a Boise resident.

in the Treasure Valley – and across the world. The novel, with its meticulous attention to detail and fascinating plot, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is being adapted as a limited series by Netflix. Runners-up:

Elaine Ambrose Tim Woodward

You really can’t beat a stroll through Julia Davis Park. Unless that stroll happens to coincide with the annual Art in the Park event, which is hosted by Boise Art Museum. The festival, which takes place on the weekend following Labor Day each September, provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to meet more than 200 artists and purchase their works. From funky retro art to fine photography, there is sure to be something for everyone. Oh, and there’s also food, drinks and entertainment. Runners-up:

Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Treefort Music Fest

BEST DAY TRIP: MCCALL McCall is just over 100 miles away from Boise, and the drive takes a little more than 2 hours. There’s plenty to enjoy along the way, from the quaint storefronts in Horseshoe Bend to the rumbling Payette River to the open meadows outside of Cascade. And then there’s McCall itself, sitting on the shores of Payette Lake,

McCall is a great destination for Treasure Valley residents anytime of year. The annual Winter Carnival always draws a crowd.


where boaters and beach lovers enjoy the sand and water. You’ll likely be tempted to book a room at Shore Lodge, but if you must keep it to a day trip at least you’ll know that it will be a memorable one. Runners-up:

Rafting the main Payette Redfish Lake


TREASURE VALLEY– WE LOVE YOU TOO! Thanks for voting for us as one of the Best Performing Arts Groups!

The Morrison Center can make any musical event a special occasion. Dressed to the nines in a rented tuxedo? Then you might want to seek out a performance by the Boise Philharmonic or Opera Idaho. Perhaps you’re more comfortable in a pair of jeans. You would have fit right in at classic rock shows by Neil Young, Jackson Browne or the Monkees. Regardless of the musical genre, the Morrison Center will bring out the performers’ fullest potential. And there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Runners-up:

Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater Outlaw Field, Idaho Botanical Garden AUGUST 2019




The Warhawk Air Museum started in 1989 in a Caldwell Airport hangar with just a couple of World War II-era planes and a few modest World War II artifacts. In the ensuing 30 years, that little museum has soared to new heights, and now resides next to the Nampa Municipal Airport. Over the years, families of veterans and veterans themselves donated uniforms, photos, medals, gear and written narratives. It is now a 40,000square-foot museum with thousands of pieces of memorabilia, dozens of rare airplanes and a handful of vintage automobiles.

As a young musician, Stigers played drums in a Boise punk rock band. It would be a bit of an understatement to say his career has taken a turn since then. He’s grown into a (mostly) jazz artist, singer, songwriter and saxophone player who has sold millions of records. He’s shared the stage with legends such as Elton John, Rod Stewart, Al Jarreau and Wynton Marsalis. This year, he has toured around the world, but Stigers never forgets his Boise roots. Sandwiched between shows in Denmark and New York City was a music department fundraiser at Capital High School.




Idaho Botanical Garden Zoo Boise

Built to Spill Pilot Error

With its fancy Village Cinema and a slew of restaurants, The Village at Meridian is a date night destination.

BELOW: The Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa has done nothing but grow in popularity.




There’s no doubt about it: Some worldclass talent has graced the stage of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. But even the most talented of actors can have a hard time outshining the theater’s setting. Nestled along the meandering Boise River, actors singing onstage sometimes have to compete with the songs of water birds. Performers know they need to bring their “A” game when they step onstage at the festival’s 770-seat amphitheater. They almost always do. This year’s lineup: “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Witness for the Prosecution,” “The Music Man,” “Julius Caesar” and “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Any date night will be taken up a notch at The Village at Meridian. Why? There’s something for everyone. Want some fun and games? Head to Big Al’s and hit the bowling alleys or play some video games. Feeling a little romantic? Linger over a glass of French wine at Bodovino. Want to snuggle in the dark? A rom-com at the Village Cinema is the place for you and your date. There’s plenty of options for food, dessert and libations. And guys: It won’t kill you to do a little bit of shopping with her, too.


Boise Little Theater Boise Philharmonic


Idaho Shakespeare Festival The Flicks Theatre for dinner and a movie




BEST PLACE TO GO CAMPING: REDFISH LAKE Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. If you’re lucky you are at Redfish Lake, and you just smelled the freshest air on Earth. Now open your eyes and discover all that Redfish Lake has to offer. Just try to pack it all in one day: Biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain climbing – and more. Luckily, you don’t have to try to pack it all in one day. Just find that perfect campsite and stay a few nights. There’s Glacier View Campground, Point Campground, Outlet Campground and plenty more to choose from. Runners-up:

Ponderosa State Park, McCall Stanley Lake

BEST PLACE TO GO DANCING: THE BALCONY CLUB Shake it, shake it. Shake your groove thing. Oh wait, did we just show our age? It’s OK, though, because everyone is welcome at The Balcony Club. And everyone is welcome to dance. The house DJs play a wide range of music, so even the shyest wallflower is likely to hear something that will lure them to the dance floor. And yes, The Balcony Club is definitely for dancing, but make sure to check out their events calendar. Game Night with Minerva is a Tuesday night staple, and there’s always a karaoke night around the corner. Runners-up:

Alive After Five Humpin’ Hannah’s

BEST PLACE TO IMPRESS OUT-OF-TOWNERS: BOISE RIVER AND GREENBELT Imagine this scenario: Your lifelong friends just pulled into your driveway for a short vacation right as your boss calls and says she needs you to come into work. No worries. Just point them to the Greenbelt and tell them to enjoy their day. Who knows where they’ll end up or what they’ll see. Perhaps they’ll spot an eagle near Barber Park or a heron near Willow Lane Athletic Complex. Maybe they’ll find a patio along the river, and enjoy a lunch under the sun. Pick a stretch of the Greenbelt. Any stretch. They’ll leave impressed. Runners-up:


Boise State fans welcome the Broncos onto the field in a game last November against Utah State. 14


City officials opened the second phase of the Boise whitewater park last month, something that makes the ever-attractive Greenbelt and river even more attractive.



OK, it’s no secret that Best of Treasure Valley voters have loved Zoo Boise for years. After all, who doesn’t like getting up close and personal with a two-toed sloth, a desert tortoise or a giraffe? And Zoo Boise always seems to have some fun event coming up, like Snooze at the Zoo or Paint with Penguins. But recently, Zoo Boise decided to take it up another notch. In July, it celebrated the grand opening of the Gorongosa National Park exhibit, a new 2.5-acre exhibit that features all kinds of African animals while also serving as a conservation project.

First of all, a little advice. If you don’t have a Ridge to Rivers trail system map you should get one. The handy guides can be found at cycle and running shops throughout the Treasure Valley. Short of that, stop and look at the signs at the major trailheads. You’ll find that a vast majority of Foothills trails are designated as controlled off-leash trails. Then, it’s off to the trails for you and Bella and Buddy. There’s no better bonding experience than a great walk with your dogs in the Foothills. And don’t forget the poop bags.


Boise River and Greenbelt Roaring Springs / Wahooz Family Fun Zone / Pinz Bowling


Boise Greenbelt Nampa Dog Park AUGUST 2019


Bogus Basin




The beauty of the Traffic Box Gallery is that sometimes you barely even notice the vinyl-wrapped boxes. They have simply become a part of the Boise cityscape. But when you’re really looking for them they can really stand out – and truly be appreciated. The project was started in 2010, and being a part of the project has become a badge of honor for local artists. Almost 300 applications were submitted for the 32 new traffic boxes that should be done by the end of September. That will bring the total to over 200 works of art in the collection.

Think of Ann Morrison Park as a 153-acre playground for Treasure Valley residents, young and old. Since 1959, people have been going to Ann Morrison Park to enjoy being outdoors. Today, the park features an iconic fountain, bocce courts, a disc golf course, horseshoe pits, a playground, lighted softball diamonds, football fields and a reserveable picnic shelter. If that wasn’t enough, Together Treasure Valley Dog Island was recently added to the mix. The site includes a 5.4-acre active dog area, a fenced “shy dog” area and opportunities for dogs to swim in the surrounding pond.

As legend has it, a group of about 25 friends got together on a hot August night in 1975 and went on a “fun run” up Rocky Canyon to Robie Creek. A few years later, there was a second running of the half marathon, and ever since then “The Toughest Race in the Northwest” has become an annual rite of spring for Treasure Valley runners – who sometimes become walkers along the way. The 43rd Race to Robie Creek will take place on April 18, 2020, at high noon. Wear good shoes.


Fallen Firefighters Memorial, Boise Greenbelt River Sculpture, The Grove Hotel 16


Julia Davis Park Kathryn Albertson Park


FitOne 5k, 10k, Half Marathon Komen Boise Race for the Cure 5K/1mile



Treasure Valley skiers are spoiled – and that’s a good thing. There are two amazing options just a few hours away, Sun Valley Ski Resort and Brundage Mountain (both were runners up in this category). But much closer to home – in fact, it’s just 16.5 miles from Boise – is Bogus Basin. That’s where you’ll find 2,600 acres of ski-able terrain for day skiing, 165 acres for night skiing and 37 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails. And the resort has transformed itself into a year-round destination with mountain biking, summer tubing and the Glade Runner, Idaho’s only mountain coaster.

Boise State football has been a big part of the Treasure Valley sporting community for decades (the Broncos won the I-AA national championship in 1980). But there is a singular moment in time that took the popularity of the Broncos to the next level: Ian Johnson scoring the gamewinning, two-point conversion in overtime as Boise State defeated Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Since then, games on the blue turf have become must-see football for fans in the Treasure Valley – and across the nation.



Idaho Steelheads hockey Nightfire Nationals, Firebird Raceway

BEST TRAIL: TABLE ROCK TRAIL If you’re putting together a bucket list of things to do in the Treasure Valley, hiking up the Table Rock Trail has to be near the top. It’s challenging enough to give hikers a workout, but manageable for the whole family to tackle it together. The best part is the payoff at the end of your hike: awe-inspiring views of the valley below. After hikers tackle the trail once, they’re almost certain to come back. The cross atop the trail can be seen from miles away, beckoning a return. Runners-up:

Around the Mountain – Shafer Butte/ Bogus Basin Camel’s Back / 8th Street Trail

Brundage Mountain Sun Valley Ski Resort AUGUST 2019


Albertsons is impressing shoppers with the wine selection at its Market Street stores. DUSTY PARNELL FOR THE STATESMAN


Breakfast at Goldy’s has been a Best of Treasure Valley winner more times than not.



Andrade’s is staying open at its current location until a new, bigger restaurant is built. Owner Javier Andrade is aiming for the end of 2019.


Voting with their taste buds, Valley residents show variety of favorites BY DUSTY PARNELL SPECIAL TO THE IDAHO STATESMAN

The incredible growth throughout the Treasure Valley in recent years also means there are more and more choices of where to eat or grab a beer. With coffee shops right and left, and taco trucks every other block, and new neighborhood spots tucked everywhere, how does one even choose a place to grab a bite anymore? That’s why this is always a fun list. Where are other folks eating? Is there some restaurant you need to check out? The worst part is when your favorite sushi place or favorite barbecue place doesn’t even show up. There’s one question to ask: Did you remember to vote? But many people did vote, and they made some pretty good choices. Does Traditional Mexican really get any better than Enrique’s in Kuna, Andrade’s on Overland or Chapala in Boise? (Andrade’s has plans to move and expand, which is a good thing.) There are also Vegetarian choices to consider, as well as the Gluten-Free category, which is where Gluten-Free Galaxy took the top spot. There are other categories you can almost predict. Five restaurants took the No. 1 spot in two categories. Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery took top honors twice, once at each Treasure Valley location, and was runner-up in four other categories. Chandlers Steakhouse made five categories and took its two No. 1 spots for Best Steakhouse and Best Fine Dining. Barbacoa was not far behind with finalist spots in four categories and was tops in Best Cocktail Menu and Best Happy Hour. Lucky Fins was two for two with firstplace spots for Best Seafood/Fish and Best Sushi. Idaho Pizza Co. was also two for two with first-place spots for Best Family Restaurant and Best Pizzeria. Westside Drive In and Jaker’s found their names in three different categories. Meanwhile, Flying M in Boise beat out Flying M in Nampa for Best Coffee Shop,

with Moxie Java Bistro also in the runnerup mix. Another nine or so restaurants found themselves in the battle in two categories. Are your favorites in there? Did the super-extravagant Mega Mary Bloody Mary drink at the Homestead Bar & Grill make No. 1 or was it a runner-up? And “mega” is not quite a mega-enough description. The monster has a slider, a chicken wing, a shot of tasty chili, a shot of beer, a huge pretzel, a piece of bacon plus all the regular accoutrements hanging onto the darn glass, which holds a mighty tasty drink once you get to it. Who wins for Best Brewery or Best Breakfast/Brunch? I can tell you those were fierce, close battles. Can you guess the top three finishers for Best Burger

without any hints? And who is the Best Food Truck or the Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth? You might be surprised to see who won that last one. Was it chocolate, ice cream or two-handed cookies? There are lots of good fries in the Treasure Valley, but you can probably guess that the Boise Fry Co. is going to take that category. Really, the only downside about a bowl of fries is that there is a number of decisions you have to make — what kind of potato, how do you want it cut, pick your salt, then pick your sauce. Wow, you have to do some thinking to order fries around here. The only appropriate way to end this article — to end any food article, for that matter — is with bacon. For that, we end with John Berryhill, the owner of Bacon (and a category win): “We specialize in all things bacon, and we sell over eight tons of it a year!” That means somebody is eating there! So let the drinking and eating begin.





BEST ASIAN: PAD THAI HOUSE If you’re heading to this low-key, traditionally decorated Thai eatery and you like your Asian food spicy you better bring your “A” game. Pad Thai asks you to specify your degree of spice from these offerings: mild, medium, hot … or authentic. The menu offerings vary from adventurous (Hoe Pad Num Prik Pao is a Thai-style green mussels dish) to more conventional (General’s Chicken). Got a group of hungry people? Pad Thai’s menu has family-style dinners for two, three, four or five. Runners-Up:

Golden Star Restaurant Yen Ching

BEST BAKERY: PASTRY PERFECTION Walking into Pastry Perfection can be a sensory-overloading experience. Their display cases are loaded with doughnuts, eclairs, cakes, turnovers and much more. Pastry Perfection is also a full-service bakery that offers breads, baguettes, buns and bagels galore. And if you have a special occasion on the horizon, Pastry Perfection is the go-to place for custom-made cakes for weddings and birthday parties. Side note: Pastry Perfection also serves reasonably priced mochas and lattes. Runners-Up:

Janjou Patisserie Zeppole Baking Co.

BEST BAR: BITTERCREEK ALEHOUSE Let’s see. What makes for the ultimate bar experience? Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders and waitstaff. Check. Expertly crafted cocktails. Check. Good food. Check. A wide selection of beers. Check, check, check. By the way, the knowledgeable servers will let you know which food offerings pair best with your favorite style of beer. Bittercreek takes pride in keeping it local. So, when you order fries, for example, you’re going to be served 100 percent house-cut, local organic potatoes. Runners-Up:

Bar Gernika Homestead Bar and Grill Pastry Perfection has been satisfying customers since opening its doors in 1983. 20





Goodwood Barbecue Co. has popular restaurants but also has become a go-to place for catering. 22

BEST BARBECUE: GOODWOOD BARBECUE CO. Goodwood has been a local, independent restaurant since 1999. In those two decades, they’ve served thousands upon thousands of guests – and it’s pretty safe to say that none of them left hungry. The Pit Boss Burger is a half-pound patty mopped with barbecue sauce and topped with melted cheddar cheese. The Rib Round-Up allows you to choose two of Goodwood’s three rib styles: Baby Back Ribs, St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs or West Texas Beef Ribs. Even a vegetarian can find a way to satisfy his hunger at Goodwood: The menu includes a Strawberry/ Apple/Pecan Salad.

BEST BEER SELECTION: YARD HOUSE The Yard House promises Great Food, Classic Rock and the World’s Largest Selection of Beer. Pony up to the bar and take a look at all those tap handles. The servers definitely know their beer, but the menu also does a great job of pointing you in the direction of a certain style you might like. The offerings are separated into categories of Wheat/Wit/Weiss, Fruit/Lambic/Sour, Malty/Balanced, Hoppy/Floral, Strong/Dark, Light, Refreshing/Crisp, Dark/Roasted and Strong/Spiced. If that wasn’t enough to please even the most particular beer lover, the Yard House also rotates through seasonal selections.



Big Daddy’s Barbecue Bodacious Pig Barbecue

Albertsons Market Street Bittercreek Alehouse

BEST BLOODY MARY: BACON According to the International Bartenders Association, a Bloody Mary is made with three parts vodka, six parts tomato juice, 1 part lemon juice, two to three dashes of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery salt and pepper. Hmmmm. … Somebody better send a representative from the International Bartenders Association over to 121 N. 9th St. in Downtown Boise. That’s where Bacon serves up its Bloody Marys with – you guessed it – a slice of owner John Berryhill’s bacon. It’s a simple addition to a classic recipe, but it certainly takes things up a notch. Runners-Up:

Bardenay Restaurant & Distillary Homestead Bar and Grill


About 130 beers are on tap at Yard House at The Village at Meridian. If you can’t find something you like, you might not be thirsty. AUGUST 2019


The Bloody Marys at Bacon are ... well, you can get the picture.


BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH: GOLDY’S BREAKFAST BISTRO Goldy’s has been named one of America’s top ten breakfasts by Bon Appetit Magazine, and has also received positive press from The New York Times and Men’s Journal. What sets Goldy’s apart? Well, start with the homemade Hollandaise sauce and then move on to some of the unique entrees, such as Andalusian Eggs. But for many people it’s the Create Your Own Breakfast Combo section of the menu. With a wide variety of meats, potatoes and breads to choose from, you could eat here for a year and never have the same breakfast twice. Runners-Up:

Joe Momma’s The Griddle 24

BEST BREWERY: SOCKEYE BREWERY Sockeye started brewing beer in 1996, and has grown to become one of Idaho’s largest breweries (it was No. 1 in 2017, then No. 2 in 2018, in terms of barrels produced). The Dagger Falls IPA remains the brewery’s flagship beer, but it continues to evolve and create new styles (Horsethief Hazy IPA comes to mind) while also releasing seasonal selections such as the Velvet Falls Cream Ale and Winterfest. Want to try some fresh Sockeye on tap? Head to the Sockeye Grill and Brewery on West Fairview Avenue.

BEST BURGER: BIG JUD’S Big Jud’s is all about truth in advertising. Because, yes, Big Jud’s does like to go big. Like really big. The first thing most people think about is the OnePound Challenge and the Two-Pound Challenge. As the rules for the challenges say: Many have tried, few have triumphed (those who do triumph, however, end up with their pictures on the Wall of Fame). But for most of the rest of us, Big Jud’s is just about good burgers – and unique burgers such as the Hot Buff Burger, with a special hot buffalo sauce and pepper jack cheese.



10 Barrel Brewing Co. Payette Brewing Co.

Boise Fry Co. Westside Drive In

A batch of 120 cases of Galena Gold beer makes its way through the production line at Sockeye Brewing, which has remained on top despite tons of challengers.

BEST CASUAL RESTAURANT: BARDENAY No, you definitely don’t need to be wearing your Sunday best when you dine at Bardenay. But even though you’re wearing jeans that doesn’t mean you don’t want quality food. Bardenay delivers the goods with an extensive and varied menu. And even though the menu dabbles in Italian, Mexican and American fare, Bardenay always sticks the landing. Might we suggest the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chimichanga? Also, Bardenay’s Happy Hour is a great value and a wonderful way to sample the satays. Runners-Up:





BEST CATERER: GOODWOOD BARBECUE CO. Whether you’re planning a business lunch, a rehearsal dinner or a holiday party, Goodwood has you covered. Catering orders can be picked up or delivered, but why not go with on-site grilling and fill the air with the aroma of Goodwood? Regardless, Goodwood can create quite a spread. Imagine a mini sandwich bar, fresh veggie and fruit trays followed by brownies and cobblers. Oh, did we almost forget to mention that Goodwood is famous for its barbecue options? Bring on the ribs, brisket, smoked salmon and sweet chicken. Runners-Up:

3 Girls Catering Kanak Attack Catering

BEST COCKTAIL MENU: BARBACOA Barbacoa purchased 19,695 bottles of liquor in fiscal year 2019, which ended June 30. That’s a lot of bottles. In fact, that’s a record for the Treasure Valley. Certainly, Barbacoa must be doing something right. Take one sip of an I’m Your Huckleberry (huckleberry vodka, white cranberry and fresh huckleberries) and you’ll know they do specialty drinks right. Barbacoa has a wide variety of martinis, margaritas and mojitos. You’ll also find an extensive list of bourbon, Scotch whiskey and tequila options. Looking for a bargain: Try Barbacoa’s happy hour, when drinks are buy-one, get one free. Runners-Up:

Bardenay Chandlers Steakhouse

BEST COFFEE ROASTER: DUTCH BROS. COFFEE Dutch Bros. uses a three-bean blend of coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador. The mild beans from El Salvador help balance the bigger, bolder flavor of the beans from Brazil and Columbia. Bags of the Dutch Bros. Private Reserve are available in the coffee shops. Open one up and inhale. You will smell the goodness that goes into Dutch Bros. coffee drinks. As Dutch Bros. likes to say, they’ve been roastin’ and rockin’ since 1992. Runners-Up:

Dawson Taylor Coffee Roaster Flying M Coffee

Barbacoa reopened after a fire about a decade ago, and has been a hotspot ever since. STATESMAN FILE



Boise has no dearth of pizza choices, and Statesman readers cast a lot of their votes for Idaho Pizza Co.

BEST COFFEE SHOP: FLYING M COFFEEHOUSE, BOISE Flying M Coffeehouse pours a mean cup of coffee, to be sure, but Flying M has been about much more than just coffee since opening its doors in 1992. It’s become a gathering place that invites you to linger for hours. It’s a bakery that seems to reinvent itself every day. It’s a quirky gift shop with birthday cards that are also a little off the beaten path. It’s a catering company. Last but not least, it’s home to the annual Valentine for AIDS art benefit show, which has raised almost half a million dollars since 1994.




What’s more family-friendly that a pizza dinner? One glance at the menu, and you know that kids are more than welcome here. The Little Spud’s Meal offers a one-topping pizza, a surprise and a soft drink for $4.99 to little spuds under 12 years old. There’s sure to be something for every member at Idaho Pizza Company. While Dad munches on a slice of Idaho Supreme pizza, Mom can hit the salad bar. And Idaho Pizza Company also takes pride in the fact that it provides jobs for more than 300 families in the Treasure Valley.

Since it opened more than a decade ago, Chandlers has set the bar pretty high for itself. But it keeps meeting – or even exceeding – those high standards. Steak takes center stage at Chandlers, but there is so much more to enjoy, including jetfresh seafood flown in from Hawaii, where Rex Chandler opened his first restaurant in 1974. Chandlers has received it share of accolades over the years from Wine Spectator and The Forbes Travel Guide, among others. In February, Trip Advisor named Chandlers the sixth-most romantic restaurant in the United States.



Flying M Coffeegarage, Nampa Moxie Java Bistro

Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant Luciano’s Italian Restaurant


Barbacoa Grill Cottonwood Grille


BEST FINGER STEAKS: WESTSIDE DRIVE IN Chef Lou Aaron doesn’t claim to have created the original recipe for finger steaks in the Treasure Valley. He’ll leave that debate for others: Was it The Torch? Big Bun? Maybe even Westside in the 1950s, long before Aaron bought the popular drive-in restaurant in 1994? Who knows for sure? But, Aaron knows this: He’s created his own take on finger steaks - and people love them. Aaron uses a tempura batter with a beef shoulder tender. The result is a true Idaho original – there’s no debate about that. Runners-Up:

Lindy’s Steakhouse The Dutch Goose The finger steaks are a crowd pleaser at Westside Drive In. STATESMAN FILE



BEST FOOD TRUCK: MAD MAC Macaroni and cheese might just be the king of all comfort foods. Mad Mac has certainly earned its spot among foodtruck royalty in the Treasure Valley. You can’t go wrong with the Mad Mac original recipe and its signature five-cheese sauce. But the name is Mad Mac’s, so why not go mad and take it up a notch? Try the Calavera Mac, with creamy cheddar jalapeno sauce, fajita-seasoned chicken thighs and pico de gallo. Go to the Mad Mac Facebook page to see where the truck is scheduled to be each week. Note: Private parties won’t be listed. Runners-Up:

Kanak Attack Katering The Kilted Kod 30

BEST FRIES: BOISE FRY COMPANY Idaho is famous for its potatoes, so it only makes sense that a restaurant would turn the art of frying those potatoes into a science. Boise Fry Company starts with the freshest potatoes available from H&H Heath Farms in Buhl (you didn’t think they’d bring them in from another state, did you?). BFC then fries those spuds in sunflower oil and leaves them unsalted so you can add your own touch. What will it be? Purple fries with a curly cut sprinkled with rosemary salt? You really can’t go wrong, and the potato options change with the seasons. Runners-Up:

Big Jud’s Westside Drive In

BEST GLUTEN-FREE MENU: GLUTEN-FREE GALAXY Whether because of food allergies or because people are looking at different ways to change their diet, more and more people are seeking out gluten-free foods. Gluten-Free Galaxy is a dedicated gluten-free facility that uses organic, local and sustainable ingredients when possible. Its baked goods can be found at restaurants across the Treasure Valley. You can also find Gluten-Free Galaxy’s dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and other bakery items at select Albertsons. Runners-Up:

Bardenay Jakers Bar and Grill

Mad Mac gained popularity quickly as a food truck, and now has a brick-and-mortar location in Boise.


Gluten-Free Galaxy started as a food truck. Now you can find the company’s wares in Albertsons and dozens of other places.


BEST HAPPY HOUR: BARBACOA Barbacoa has a late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to close on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when drinks are discounted. But if you’re looking for a bargain, head to Barbacoa from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., when drinks are buy-one, get one free, seven days a week. Then, it’s decision time: What’s it going to be? Maybe the Lily, with Absolut Lime, Triple Sec and house-made basil lemonade. Or maybe a Dirty Bel martini with Belvedere vodka, olive juice and blue-cheese stuffed olives. Take one sip, and you won’t care if it was shaken or stirred. Runners-Up:

Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery Jaker’s Bar and Grill


204 N CAPITOL BLVD | BOISE, ID 83702 (208) 949-7523



224 12TH AVE S | NAMPA, ID 83651 (208) 965-8696


3083 S BOWN WAY | BOISE, ID 83706 (208) 965-1551


2020 E OVERLAND RD | MERIDIAN, ID 83642 (208) 884-5530


6944 W STATE ST | BOISE, ID 83714 (208) 391-1573



BEST INDIAN/ MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT: MADHUBAN INDIAN CUISINE Madhuban has been dishing up delicious Indian cuisine since 2007. The menu features traditional classic favorites in addition to original dishes that fuse Eastern flavors with a Western twist. Start with some freshly baked naan bread and then dive into the rest of the menu. Madhuban will delight both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, with dishes that range from Lamb Curry to Vegetable Jal Frezi. Don’t forget the curry. There are plenty of dishes that will satisfy your curry cravings. Runners-Up:

Mazzah The Gyro Shack

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT: LUCIANO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT Luciano’s describes itself as a hole-inthe-wall, local Italian restaurant. Trust us, that’s a good thing. You’ll feel right at home as you walk into Luciano’s and hear the voice of Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra drifting through the restaurant. “That’s Amore!” Speaking of love (amore), diners have come to love the Lobster Bisque, Clam Linguine and Fettucine Alfredo, but we highly recommend you save room for desserts such as Lucci’s Signature Chocolate Cake or Crème Coto. Good luck with that.

The variety of margaritas and drinks at Matador lures repeat customers.


Gino’s Italian Ristorante & Bar Louie’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant

BEST MARGARITA: THE MATADOR Tequila! Here’s a bit of trivia. “The Tequila Song,” that ditty that we all know and love – Tequila! - was released by The Champs in the 1950s. You may remember it from “The Sandlot” or “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” But that’s all fun and games. The Matador takes tequila – and margaritas – seriously. Whether you order a Cadillac Margarita with a Grand Marnier float or a smoky margarita with a charred pineapple reduction, you can bet that you’re getting one of the best margaritas in the Treasure Valley. Did we mention the Chile-Mango Margarita? Runners-Up:

Cafe Ole Cantina Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant

BEST PIZZERIA: IDAHO PIZZA COMPANY With five locations in Boise and several more sprinkled throughout the Treasure Valley, there’s probably an Idaho Pizza Company near you. And Idaho Pizza Company delivers – pun intended – 32

a quality product, time and again. Consistency is a big part of the pizzeria’s success: a perfectly balanced pizza with a quality crust, the right amount of sauce and cheese and delicious toppings. Whether you’re craving a more standard pie (Dole Hawaiian) or feeling a little spicier (Hells Canyon), Idaho Pizza Company has several intriguing specialties. Or you can create your own and choose from the dozens of toppings. Runners-Up:

Flying Pie Pizzaria Guido’s Pizzeria

BEST PLACE FOR ICE CREAM/FROZEN YOGURT: DELSA’S ICE CREAM PARLOUR When the roots of a business trace back to 1922, it’s pretty clear that business has reached iconic status. For years, ice cream fans could head to Delsa’s and watch Owen and Delsa Walton’s cows graze around the surrounding pasture. Delsa’s still sits on the site of that 80-acre dairy, and it still uses Delsa Walton’s Original Recipe from 1961. Of

course, there might be a few more options these days: The ice cream wall has a rotating selection of over 50 flavors. Delsa’s also serves burgers and sandwiches and hosts parties and events. Runners-Up:

Fanci Freez The Stil

BEST PLACE FOR SEAFOOD/FISH: LUCKY FINS SEAFOOD GRILL Lucky Fins opened its first restaurant in Meridian in 2011, and a few years later another one opened on The Grove in Downtown Boise. Whichever location you visit, you can be sure that the kitchen takes its seafood seriously. Lucky Fins is committed to using fish produced only through sustainable fisheries, so look for hand-cut sterling salmon or calamari brought in from The Town Dock in Rhode Island. Lucky Fins also serves sushi, fish tacos and a Smokin’ Ribeye that has been aged 52 days. Runners-Up:

Chandlers Steakhouse Fresh Off The Hook

BEST PLACE TO SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH: CHIP COOKIES You could say that Chip Cookies has a simple philosophy: The only thing better than an out-of-this world cookie is an out-of-this-world warm cookie. There’s something absolutely decadent – but the right kind of decadent – about having four warm, melt-in-your mouth cookies delivered to your doorstep. Want to be even more decadent? Skip the dinner and go right to the dessert. If you don’t live in Chip’s delivery zone all is not lost: You can stop by their store and order some fresh cookies or cookie dough. Runners-Up:

Goody’s Soda Fountain and Candy Store Lee’s Candies

BEST RESTAURANT PATIO: BARDENAY, EAGLE Bardenay made a name for itself when it became the first restaurant to distill its own spirits in 2000. Since then, Bardenay has become popular spot for any number of reasons, not the least of which would be the beautiful patio perched along the Boise River at its Eagle location. Bask in the sun or settle in under an umbrella and enjoy a cocktail with Bardenay spirits or choose options from the extensive wine list or beers on tap. Sure, the patio might have lured you there, but the food will definitely hold up its end of the bargain.

around the country and at two Ram locations in the Treasure Valley. One of its locations is on busy Eagle Road in Meridian, while the valley’s original Ram is near the Boise State University campus, which makes it a great location for a long-established and winning sports bar. The Ram also has a commendable menu with a wide range of foodstuffs. Runners-Up:

Big Al’s Rudy’s Pub & Grill

BEST STEAKHOUSE: CHANDLER’S Chandlers Steakhouse holds on to its solid No. 1 position in this category, while also taking the top honor for Best Fine Dining as well. And if that’s not good enough, this iconic downtown Boise restaurant also placed in runner-up positions in three other categories: cocktails, seafood/fish and wine selection. Rex Chandler has made this the go-to steakhouse since 2007 with prime and specialty steaks, including certified, authentic Japanese Wagyu beef. Chandlers also offers live jazz music and valet parking. It’s located on the ground floor of Hotel 43.

BEST SUSHI: LUCKY FINS Lucky Fins is a winner in two categories: Best Seafood/Fish and this competitive one. Happy Hour here means buy one sushi roll and get the second one half off, and that makes for a lot of tasty, picturesque rolls. Lucky Fins was founded in Meridian in 2011 and opened its second Treasure Valley location on The Grove two years later. With so many places around the valley to find a wide variety of good sushi, this should be considered a solid win. Runners-Up:

Sakana Yoi Tomo

BEST TACOS: TIN ROOF Tin Roof Tacos has been around for only three years, but it owns this category and even has a second location in Meridian. It was founded by two sisters from Texas who decided Boise needed a good ol’ Tex-Mex taco with pulled pork, grilled chicken, brisket, shrimp or fish. You’ll also find breakfast tacos and veggie tacos, and all of them at street taco prices — $2.25-$2.50. The big winner is the Tin Roof taco with shredded pork.



Barbacoa Ruth’s Chris

Calle 75 The Matador


Cottonwood Grille The Village at Meridian Fountain Square

BEST SANDWICH SHOP/DELI: COBBY’S SANDWICH SHOP The most important element of a great sandwich is by starting with perfectly baked bread. Or maybe it’s the meat that puts a good sandwich over the top. Perhaps it’s the cheese. Could it be the fresh veggies on top, with a perfect sprinkle of oil and vinegar? Well, you get the idea. A lot of quality ingredients go into making a Cobby’s sandwich. People have been ordering the No. 15 – capicola, genoa, cotto and mortadella – since 1978. Make sure to try a cup of the clam chowder or a bowl of the Soup of the Day. Runners-Up:

Deli George Hugo’s Deli

BEST SPORTS BAR: THE RAM The Ram was ahead of the craft beer curve when it began brewing its own beer back in 1995. Big Horn Brewing Company beers are now served in several states

208-322-3317 • AUGUST 2019




This competitive category goes to the Boise Co-op, which has been a part of the valley since 1973, now with more than 31,000 co-owners. This is still the go-to place for nutritious, great-tasting food and other products, which includes natural, organic and specialty grocery items. You’ll also find a variety of in-store, freshly made deli items, burritos, a hot bar, a salad bar, bulk foods, health items and much more. In 2019, the Co-op brought in a new culinary director, who came from Portland, where he ran the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant.

That’s right, Kuna is part of the Treasure Valley, too, and Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant alone is worth the drive to this growing town. Last year, Enrique’s moved from its Downtown Kuna location to a new location a block away with more room, a patio and one sweet tequila list. Be sure to check out the buffet schedule and hours, which happens four days a week. The Thursday, Friday and Sunday buffets include a salsa and desert bar, and freshly made tortillas. You can’t go wrong. Enrique says he likes the competition of this category. “It keeps my guard up,” he said, taking a boxing stand with a grin.


BBQ4Life Wild Root Café



Enrique’s in Kuna can brag about its tortillas, as well as all of its Mexican food.


Andrade’s Chapala

Albertsons’ two new Market Street groceries — one on Broadway near the BSU campus and the other near Fairview and Eagle roads — have made an impression on wine lovers with bottles and bottles of all categories of vino lining the shelves. There are enough choices that the store usually has someone stationed in the wine section to help you find what you’re looking for or something new and interesting to try. Uou might consider making a log book of favorites, as well as what you might want to pick up next time. Runners-Up:

Chandler’s Uncorked at Boise Co-op Wine Shop


NMLS #1064492

Emerald Branch

NMLS #1066609

7639 W. Riverside Drive • Boise, ID 83714 208-333-8220

8665 Emerald Street, Suite 200 • Boise, ID 83704 208-996-0121

Explorer Drive Branch

Overland Road Branch

NMLS #1175899

12639 W. Explorer Drive, First Floor • Boise, ID 83713 208-429-8897

NMLS #1146497

3959 Overland Road • Meridian, ID 83642 208-957-7321

Hickory Way Branch

NMLS #787079

1775 North Hickory Way, Suite 1 • Meridian, ID 83646 208-955-1234 Copyright©2019 Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. NMLS#2289. 4750 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison, WI 53718, 1-866-912-4800. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. All rights reserved. 34

BEST WINERY: STE. CHAPELLE WINERY Not many people know Ste. Chapelle started in Emmet in 1975 before moving to south of Caldwell three years later. Idaho wines have been gathering national acclaim in recent years, and this winery has been right at the top of the list with numerous awards. The Snake River Valley area excels at Riesling, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot and more, thanks to its 3,000-foot-plus elevation, long growing season and dramatic diurnal shift. For the very best, take the short drive and check out the tasting room. And don’t forget the summer concert series. Runners-Up:

Cinder Winery Telaya Winery

NO, YOU'RE THE BEST. Thank you to the best of the best, our team members. We are so proud to be a part of Idaho and all of the communities we serve. Did you know 1 in 5 Idahoans are ICCU members? Join today. Find out more at

WE BELIEVE our people make us possible.




With growth comes new popular businesses, but old standbys are recognized, too BY DUSTY PARNELL SPECIAL TO THE IDAHO STATESMAN

There may or may not be some surprises in the Marketplace list. Some of those on the list have been strong for many years – decades, perhaps, in a couple of examples. But here is where it gets interesting – population growth. We have a lot of newcomers, both as residents and business owners. Some businesses in these categories are very established and have been around a long time. Others on this list may have only been around a few short years. This combination is why so many people describe the Treasure Valley as a “vibrant” community in conjunction with all the other extra-curricular activities available to us. Tiffany Lasco, co-owner of Talon Tattoo in Garden City, described the growing competition quite well. When asked about the competition, she said there were about 50 or more tattoo parlors at any one time. She added that there were a good steady 20 of those businesses at the top of that heap. If you extend that to every other category in these lists, you can see what sort of competition is going on daily in every corner of the marketplace. Take Best Men’s Clothing, for example. Alexander Davis, Dillard’s and D&B Supply were at the top of that list. But which one made it to the No. 1 spot? Who will it be next time? Or Best Women’s Clothing Store; how many of those are there? How is it possible to shop all of them? “I wish people knew how many different things we carried,” said Dragonfly owner Sierra Heavin Hunter. She may be the new owner, but Dragonfly has been a part of Downtown Boise since 1983 (and made the list in two categories). Will Dragonfly take the top spot for Women’s Clothing, or will it be Chico’s or even Blue Fringe Boutique, which has only been around for three years? The battle for Best Real Estate Brokerage was tight enough that there were 36

four finishers for the Top 3. Oddly, the same thing happened for Best Home Builder, also with four finishers. Or what about Best Sporting Goods Store? There are several good choices in the valley, all with strong, established reputations. You already know your favorite; is it everyone else’s favorite? Those who have lived in the Treasure Valley will be pleased to see other familiar names on some of these lists: The Record Exchange, the Boise Co-op and Baird’s Dry Cleaning come to mind. Nor can one ignore Camp Rainbow Gold or the Idaho Youth Ranch. Ladies, will your favorite Hair Salon/ Spa make the final three? And will Shu’s Running Co. retain its No. 1 spot for Best Shoe Store, another category where anything could happen? There are other businesses scattered around these categories worth some exploration. Did you know that Bricknowlogy, a Top 3 finisher for Best Toy Store, is the largest independent LEGO store in the country? And if you don’t visit Downtown Boise, you may not be aware that Mixed Greens is in the running for the Best Gift Shop in the Treasure Valley. There is another category you might not be able to guess either. That would be Best Place to Work Out. Don’t sweat the answer, it’s in here, and it’s either going to be Axiom Fitness, Treasure Valley YMCA or Kvell Fitness and Nutrition. The YMCA has locations throughout the valley and has been around since 1891. Meanwhile, Kvell has only a couple of smaller locations and has only been around for 10 years. Any bets on those three? Discuss it among yourselves, then see who was right. You can see how competition gets a little crowded as we grow and change, but Ciera Clapp, the marketing manager of Mister Car Wash, pretty much sums it up for nearly every business on these lists: “We care. We work hard. We have fun.” This is the Treasure Valley, after all.

The toy and hobby store Bricknowlogy is the largest independent LEGO place in the country, but did it top a Best of Treasure Valley category?




Boise Art Glass has been producing fine products since turning its ovens on in 2003.








With offices in 15 states, Eide Bailly brings more than a century of experience to this field. In 2019, this accounting firm was named as one of the Best CPA Firms for Women. The company has also upped its game to meet the growing demands of today’s technology fields. Its expanded technology consulting team is nationally recognized and is helping businesses and IT leaders mitigate risk with world-class security, support and data solutions. Boise partner Jodi Daugherty was recently elected to the Eide Bailly board of directors.

Boise Art Glass turned its glass-blowing ovens on in 2003, and Filip Vogelpohl has a well-deserved reputation in the art glass field, specializing in handblown glass. “Customers come to us looking for custom art pieces for every budget,” he said. “We take on a wide variety of projects for our clients.” Not only is it a great place to pick up special artwork, but there are also demonstrations and classes so that you can make your own piece. If you’re curious about glass-blowing and want to give it a test run, check out the solo First Thursday Furnace Class for only $45. Private classes are also available.

Peterson Auto Group is a full-service auto dealer and body shop that started with a wrench and a dream back in 1923. It now features 10 brands and five locations in Boise, Meridian and Nampa. You’ll find services for new and used vehicles, spanning from purchases to services, parts, body work and insurance. “Our goal is to make the process of owning a vehicle convenient for our customers, and truly becoming a onestop shop,” said Katy Scott, executive assistant. “It is our goal to provide highquality service and care long after the sale is made.


B.A. Harris Harris & Co.


Hurless Brothers Les Schwab


Flying M Visual Arts Collective

Let Your Beauty Shine Everyday. Come See the Experts at Kathy’s


Rediscovered Books keeps pleasing readers – and keeps expanding.



The Boise Downtown YMCA has something for everyone, including top-notch child care.


BEST BARBERSHOP: THE BEARDSMITH The Beardsmith has been turning beards into well-groomed works of pride and art since 2014, specializing in creating an ultimate barbershop experience for patrons and their families. This is a place that specializes in beard maintenance, precision haircuts and men’s grooming products (which they create themselves). “What differentiates us from our competitors is our dedication to consistency and customer service,” said Wendy Rose, the president. “It’s our combined knowledge of men’s grooming, our friendly, warm service, our superior products and ease of making appointments for services.” They see 50 to 75 people per day and often have same-day and next-day openings if you check. Runners-Up:

10th St. Barber Shop Redlan’s Gentlemen’s Grooming

BEST BOOK STORE: REDISCOVERED BOOKS It’s always nice to see an independent bookstore win this category, and Rediscovered Books in Downtown Boise has taken it again. Though the number of bookstores has declined in the digital age, Rediscovered Books has recently found a way to expand. In 2018, owners Bruce and Laura DeLaney saw an opportunity to acquire Rainbow Books on State Street, a used-book store since the mid-1970s. (It’s been renamed Once and Future Books.) The bookstore also plans to open another location in Caldwell. Runners-Up:

Barnes and Noble Bent Corners Used Books

BEST CAR WASH: ROCKET EXPRESS This category got lots of votes — everybody washes their car at some point — and Rocket Express returned to the top spot by a good margin. You get a clean,

shiny and dry car in about four minutes, even if your car is filthy. “And our free vacuums have the highest suction of any area car wash,” said co-owner Joe Russell. “We compensate our employees significantly better than others within our industry, and have been able to attract and retain exceptional people.” There are two locations, one in Boise and one in Meridian. Runners-Up:

Fast Eddy’s Mister Car Wash

BEST CHILD CARE FACILITY: YMCA BOISE DOWNTOWN The Treasure Valley Family YMCA’s Child Development programs support children in their ongoing growth to ensure they are ready for the next stage of education, whether that be preschool, kindergarten, middle school or high school. That includes full-time infant, toddler and preschool programs, parttime preschool programs, before and after-school care, and summer child care for children 5 to 15. The Y’s four core values are caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Runners-Up:

A Step Ahead New Horizon Academy

BEST DENTAL CARE: SUMMIT DENTAL GROUP When Summit Dental Group bills itself as The Friendliest Dentists in the Treasure Valley, there must be something to it, because this group tops the voters’ list again. This dental group has been around for more than 30 years and has four dentists on staff to handle all dental needs. Summit is located on Americana Boulevard, adjoining the parking lot near the new farmers market location. Runners-Up:

Castlebury Dental Willow Tree Dental

Rocket Express has car wash spots in Boise and Meridian. The free vacuums are a draw.




Idaho Central Credit Union has methodically built itself into the largest financial institution with a state charter.





Companions Dog Resort in Garden City is another runaway repeat winner in our poll. This isn’t your old-school row of cages. Your dog has an opportunity to socialize and exercise, which also has the benefit of preventing behavior problems caused by pent-up energy. Dogs are closely supervised, and there are a ton of comments about how much owners’ dogs look forward to day care or overnight boarding at this spot, tucked into an easy-access site off Chinden Road at 39th Street.

Baird’s Dry Cleaners has been in business for more than 100 years, and if this poll went back that far, it would have a whole lot of Best Of plaques over those years. With five locations, this company also offers the largest home or office pickup and delivery service in the area, at no extra charge. More than 3,000 happy customers a year can’t be wrong. By the way, that also adds up to a whole lot of buttons that get replaced. It’s like those missing socks: Where do they go when they disappear?

This extremely popular credit union is the largest one in Idaho, with 36 branches that offer personal and business banking, as well as lending solutions. It also scores the No. 1 slot for Best Mortgage, too. This institution has been around since 1940 and has plans to move its headquarters into a new five-story building on the south side of I-84 on Eagle Road. In other news, the ICCU’s donation to the new athletic building and basketball arena on the University of Idaho campus has given it the naming rights for the next 35 years.




Camp Bow Wow Idaho Dog Park

Clothesline Cleaners On the Spot


CapEd Credit Union US Bank



Boise loves its dogs, and that means it loves its day-care centers for dogs, and nobody does it better than Companions, according to voters.

Edwards Greenhouse is nearing its 90th anniversary in the Treasure Valley and remains its top-rated greenhouse, flower shop and garden store. Over that time, the greenhouses and farm have been heated almost exclusively by geothermal water. The size of the covered greenhouse areas has expanded to about 90,000 square feet of vegetables and seasonal potted crops, bulbs, flowering shrubs and trees - and, of course, a wide selection of perennials and annuals. There is also a florist section with garden baskets and fresh-cut arrangements. Runners-Up:

FarWest Landscape Zamzows

One on One • Expert • Quality • Care

BEST GIFT SHOP: MIXED GREENS Mixed Greens is a popular retail gift boutique that specializes in local and handmade goods, many of them made in-house. It also carries the works of more than 60 Idaho-based artists and makers, as well as handmade artists from across the Northwest, nation and world. The inventory is always changing, so you’ll always find something new and different. One commenter on the Mixed Greens Facebook page says, “It’s my happy place, and it’s where I go to buy gifts for those in my life who need to feel special.” Just a few of the items include jewelry, bath products, cards, trinkets and treasures. Runners-Up:

Dragonfly The Record Exchange

Thank you Treasure Valley for your trust and loyalty over the past 16 years!



BEST HAIR SALON: TWO RIVERS SALON & SPA Two Rivers Salon & Spa has a 7,800-square-foot facility with six massage rooms, four aesthetic rooms, eight pedicure stations, eight manicure stations and 15 stylist chairs. Located in Eagle, this business will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020. Two Rivers is a community participant, too, partnering with organizations like Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Make-A-Wish Foundation. There are men’s services, too, for those who want to look just right. This salon has been a consistent winner over the years. Runners-Up:

Graeber & Company Madril Hair Design



Two Rivers Salon & Spa in Eagle is almost 20 years old and has been a favorite hair salon and sanctuary since the beginning.

CBH Homes is Idaho’s biggest home builder and has hundreds of homes for sale in more than 40 neighborhoods in the Treasure Valley. In 2017, Builder Magazine listed the company as the 47th largest homebuilding company in the U.S. Corey Barton built his first home in 1992 and it’s still standing. With a shortage of homes on the market, CBH Homes continues to build to try to meet the growing demand. There have been more than 18,000 CBH homeowners since that first home 27 years ago. Runners-Up:

Biltmore Brighton Homes Zach Evans

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS: RC WILLEY Rufus Call Willey started selling appliances door-to-door in Utah back in 1932. Today, this home-furnishing company has 15 stores in four Western states and specializes in furniture, electronics, home appliances, mattresses and flooring. RC Willey’s huge showroom makes for a true one-stop location for any aspect of upgrading your furnishings. The Treasure Valley location in Meridian on Eagle Road opened in 1999 and was RC Willey’s first store outside of Utah. The store offers instant credit and no-interest financing, too. Runners-Up:

CHF Home Furnishings Ennis Fine Furniture


BEST HOME SERVICES/REPAIR COMPANY: WESTERN HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING You can’t drive anywhere in the Valley without seeing one of Western Heating & Air Conditioning’s fleet of vehicles out on business. This company has helped keep people at a comfortable temperature for more than 50 years. This is a licensed, insured and bonded company to handle all kinds of HVAC needs. It’s a family-owned and -operated full-service business for both residential and commercial services. The company also offers extended warranties and emergency services. It has received numerous awards over the years, including 2016’s Small Business of the Year by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. Runners-Up:

Cloverdale Plumbing Diamond Heating and Cooling DUSTY PARNELL

Western Heating & Air Conditioning’s vehicles are pretty much omnipresent in the Treasure Valley.



(208) 991.6112 210 N. 10th St., Boise, ID AUGUST 2019



BEST HOTEL: INN AT 500 The Inn at 500 in the heart of Downtown Boise has only been around since 2017 but has already made a name for itself as one of the country’s top boutique hotels. One publication put it in the Top 5 Artsiest Hotels in America, behind only the famous Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and the Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque. Of the 110 rooms in this six-story, $29 million luxury boutique hotel, 57 have a wide-ranging selection of themes, from the zoo to movies to the Oregon Trail. And there are, of course, a couple of Boise State University-themed rooms. Runners-Up:

Grove Hotel Riverside Hotel The Inn at 500 in Downtown Boise has made its mark quickly.


BEST INSURANCE COMPANY: STATE FARM State Farm is one of the nation’s most famous insurance companies and has been “a good neighbor” for almost 100 years, with its centennial coming up in 1922. (That first auto policy sold for $11.17.) State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S. and is ranked No. 36 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. State Farm has about 19,000 agents across the country and handles close to 39,000 claims a day. It was the company’s founder who said, “Honesty isn’t the best policy — it is the only policy.” Runners-Up:

Blue Cross of Idaho PayneWest Insurance

BEST JEWELER: LEE READ JEWELERS Lee Read Jewelers is an Idaho store that had its beginning in Downtown Boise back in 1963. Today it is located off the Meridian exit of I-84 (you can see it from the interstate), and it is Idaho’s only member of Preferred Jewelers International, specializing in diamonds. It’s the only Certified Diamond Laboratory in Idaho. But you’ll find more than just diamonds, of course. As a full-service jeweler, it’s like five jewelry stores in one. There is also a jewelry repair center for those touch-ups. And where else will you find a jeweler with a tropical fish tank and a kids’ play area.


State Farm agents in the Treasure Valley stay busy year-round. The company insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S.


Artsmith Jewelry Fred Meyer Jewelers

BEST LAW FIRM: HAWLEY TROXELL With four offices around Idaho and an office in Reno, Hawley Troxell is the state’s premier, full-service business law firm for the life of your company. Whether you need a team of lawyers or one-on-one counsel, Hawley Troxell covers all aspects of business law, including real estate, litigation, intellectual property, health care, patents and emerging technology, securities, estate planning, mergers, arbitration, bankruptcy, labor, antitrust and much more. Hawley Troxell has 75 attorneys, with 21 practice groups and was named a 2018-19 Best Law Firm by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report.


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Givens Pursley Idaho Legal Aid Services



Cascade Raft and Kayak leads the majority of whitewater trips on the Payette River near Horseshoe Bend.

BEST MEN’S CLOTHING: DILLARD’S Dillard’s takes the top spot in this category in a tight race for best place to shop for men’s clothing. This mall anchor store’s women’s shoe department also scored a runner-up position for Best Shoe Store this year. Based out of Little Rock, Ark., William T. Dillard founded the first store in 1938 as a five-and-dime store before developing it into a full-fledged department store. Once the company went public in 1969, it expanded rapidly by situating itself as suburban anchor stores across the country. There are now almost 300 stores in 29 states. Dillard’s features clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, housewares and much, much more. Runners-Up:

Alexander Davis D&B Supply 48



Winners in both Best Financial Institution and Best Mortgage makes Idaho Central Credit Union one of the solid winners in this year’s poll. Its success will lead to the construction of a new fivestory headquarters building on the south side of I-84 on Eagle Road. Buying or refinancing a home can be intimidating, so finding a good mortgage company can make a big difference in sorting through all the paperwork.

Two Men and A Truck move into the No. 1 spot in this category this year and boasts an extremely high referral rate of 96 percent. This company started in the early ‘80s as a way for two brothers to make some extra money while in high school. More than 30 years later, there are now more than 350 locations worldwide and 2,800 trucks. It is the nation’s largest franchised local moving company in the nation. Customers benefit from having trained, uniformed movers who are insured and bonded to handle any home and business moving tasks.


CapEd Credit Union Fairway Independent Mortgage


All My Sons Cross Town Movers




There are a lot of great nonprofits in the Treasure Valley, and this year the top spot goes to the Idaho Humane Society, the largest and oldest animal welfare organization and veterinary charity in the state. This group has been around since 1890 and incorporated in 1941. There are a lot of other programs than just animal rescues and adoptions, including a Pet Food Pantry for struggling families and homebound seniors. There are also two prison programs for both cats and dogs, as well as a Veterinary Medical Center to provide veterinary care for low-income families. The Idaho Humane Society also has plans for a new headquarters on the horizon.

Cascade Raft and Kayak was a big winner in this category, but then whitewater rafting is a big win in itself when you’re talking about things to do in Idaho. Located in Horseshoe Bend, this family-owned company has been providing memorable whitewater adventures on the Payette River since 1985. There are rafting trips for families and rafting trips for adventure, as well as kayaking and kayak lessons. Kayak instruction includes weekend courses, private instruction, kids camps and then that 11-day Chilean experience for the ultimate kayak experience.


Boise Rescue Mission Women’s and Children’s Alliance

BEST PET STORE: ZAMZOWS For more than 80 years, Zamzows has been there for both pets and gardening needs, scoring the top honor for Best Pet Store and scoring a runner-up position for Best Garden Center. “Nobody knows your pet like Zamzows” and there is a good argument for that since it has its own line of dog and cat food, as well as all the pet supplies you and your pet could ever need. There is even a lawn program to make sure your yard is safe for pets and kids. Runners-Up:

Northwest Pets Petco


Idaho Angler Payette River Company AUGUST 2019


Kvell beat out a slew of other fitness centers to take top honors among gyms in the area.


BEST PHYSICAL THERAPY PRACTICE: FOOTHILLS PHYSICAL THERAPY Foothills Physical Therapy has clinics in Boise, Eagle and Meridian and you will find one-on-one care by licensed physical therapists ready to help on a full range of outpatient diagnoses, from joint replacements and shoulder reconstruction to chronic back pain and overuse injuries and more. With 19 years of experience under their belts, Foothills Physical Therapy offers dry needling, pelvic health, aquatic therapy and Pilates-based programs. The clinics are also open Saturdays. Runners-Up:

Eagle Physical Therapy St. Luke’s Rehabilitation

BEST PLACE TO BUY A CAR: PETERSON AUTO GROUP Peterson Auto Group takes home a second No. 1 award in this year’s list to go with its top honor for Best Auto Repair. The company’s history and commitment to longevity, a relentless focus on customer service and its attention to the community are what has built the Peterson brand over the last 96 years here in the Treasure Valley. Peterson Auto Group offers 10 brands of vehicles, as well as services for the life of your car or truck. Runners-Up:

Bronco Motors Larry H. Miller Auto Group

BEST PLACE TO BUY LOCAL PRODUCE: BOISE FARMERS MARKET The Boise Farmers Market has a new location this year on Americana Boulevard and the crowds there indicate this category could continue to belong to them into the future. Founded in 2013, you will find a wide variety of fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruits, locally raised protein, honey, jams and sauces, breads and pastries, and all while having a fresh-roasted coffee or sampling a selection of ready-to-eat foods. Subscribe to the email newsletter to see what’s on tap for the upcoming Saturday market, rain or shine. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., April through October. Runners-Up:

Albertsons Boise Co-op

BEST PLACE TO WORK OUT: KVELL FITNESS & NUTRITION The Top 3 in this category gathered a lot of votes, and Kvell Fitness & Nutrition comes out at No. 1. Kvell is a total health and fitness solution specializing in personalized group training and nutrition in a friendly and inviting environment for those who want to improve the quality of their lives, whether for weight loss, fitness or general health. The programs help all levels of fitness, from people who have never worked out a day in their life to former professional athletes and Navy Seals. Mention you heard about them from reading this article. Runners-Up: KVELL FITNESS AND NUTRITION

Axiom Treasure Valley YMCA AUGUST 2019


BEST REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE: KELLER WILLIAMS Keller Williams Realty Boise is just one of the company’s 700 offices around the world, but it’s backed up by the Keller Williams reputation, experience, resources and philosophy. The company started in 1983 in Austin, Texas, and by 2013 it was named one of the top-rated companies to work for. In the 21st century, business as usual includes the latest technology trends to stay current and to give its clientele the best service. One of the reasons that Keller Williams Realty became the number one real estate company in the United States is its dedication to use of technology. Runners-Up:

Amherst Madison Legacy Coldwell Banker Silvercreek Realty

BEST RESALE STORE: IDAHO YOUTH RANCH The Idaho Youth Ranch is a nonprofit agency that offers emergency shelter, residential care, youth and family therapy, job readiness training, adoption services and much more for kids and their families. Its youth programs are funded through 24 thrift stores around the state, including 15 of them here in Southwestern Idaho. The Idaho Youth Ranch has been a beacon of hope for struggling kids and their families since 1953. It also creates jobs for more than 400 Idahoans in communities around the state who staff programs, thrift stores, offices and distribution centers. Runners-Up:

Assistance League of Boise Deseret Industries

BEST SENIOR LIVING: TOUCHMARK AT MEADOW LAKE VILLAGE Nearly 100 acres in size, this is a fullservice retirement community with a mini-golf course, lake and walking paths. It features a variety of lifestyle options, including cottages, lodge homes, assisted living and memory care. There’s a fitness center, beauty salon, computer lab and general store. And you can’t beat a billiard room, cards and game room, activity and crafts rooms or just sitting and enjoying a good book on one of the outdoor terraces. There are several lifestyle options that will fit your needs right now and will keep on fitting your needs through any possible changes or challenges. Runners-Up:

Grace Assisted Living The Terraces of Boise


Campers and counselors join hands and form a circle before dinner at Camp Rainbow Gold.




BEST SHOE STORE: SHU’S IDAHO RUNNING CO. Good shoes make all the difference to both your feet and the demands you put on your feet. Shu’s Idaho Running Company provides personalized service, knowledgeable employees and high-quality products to support your fitness goals. Unlike some other shoe shops, these folks get to know their customers on an individual basis and they dedicate themselves to unleashing your athletic potential. You’ll also find a wide selection of apparel and accessories for runners and walkers. And if you’re looking for a friendly running group to join, Shu’s is your starting line. It’s located off State Street in the 17th Street Marketplace in Boise. Runners-Up:

Designer Shoe Warehouse Dillard’s Women’s Shoe Department

BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE: CABELA’S This is another competitive category, and it has pulled out all the stops to bring a serious outdoor shopping experience to Boise. In addition to offering quality outdoor merchandise, the 132,000-sq.-ft. showroom is an educational and entertainment attraction, featuring museum-quality animal displays, huge aquariums, trophy taxidermy and an indoor archery test area. It’s also hard to resist the fudge shop in the back. This really is one of the premium outdoor gear and sporting goods stores in the area, serving hunting, fishing, shooting and camping enthusiasts looking for just the right gear. Runners-Up:

Dick’s Sporting Goods REI

BEST SUMMER CAMP: CAMP RAINBOW GOLD Back in the 1980s, Twin Falls Dr. David McClusky saw a need and he set out to fill it. He knew a boy being treated for cancer, and all that kid wanted was to go to summer camp like countless other kids his age. But camps weren’t set up to help kids like him. And that was the birth of Camp Rainbow Gold, one of the first oncology camps in the country, now held annually in the Sawtooth National Forest. Here’s what one young lady said about her experience: “I shine for Camp Rainbow Gold. It gives me hope, it gives me a second family, and it gives me amazing people I aspire to be like.” Runners-Up:

Camp Ida-Haven YMCA Horsethief Reservoir 54

Blue Fringe has been around only since 2015 but obviously has gained a following.

BEST TATTOO PARLOR: TALON TATTOO Talon Tattoo is a family-owned and -operated tattoo and piercing shop in Garden City owned by John and Tiffany Lasco. The goal when they opened the business in 2007 was to build a tattoo and piercing shop with a comfortable feel, top of the line equipment and sterilization, while always providing amazing and original tattoos to their customers. Talon Tattoo specializes in custom tattoos, portraits, cover-ups, body piercing, micro-dermal piercing, electrocautery branding and digital design. They are usually booked two or three months out. Runners-Up:

A Mind’s Eye InkVision

BEST TOY STORE: TOYTOWN In general, you would think toys are for kids — toddlers, babies, rowdy boys, happy-go-lucky girls, game players and burgeoning little scientists. But if you can walk into this store without finding something to entice your own playfulness, then there’s something wrong with you. Not only is there a wide selection of fun or educational things, but the best part is the employees who really know their stuff and will help you find trendy, age-appropriate toys and items that helps you sort through the burden of ‘what-to-get’ for that special little someone. Runners-Up:

Bricknowlogy G. Willikers

BEST VETERINARIAN CLINIC: WESTVET As a Level 1 certified veterinary emergency and critical care center, Garden City’s WestVet is one of only 18 hospitals nationwide to offer this level of 24-hour acute veterinary medicine. Established 30 years ago, this care center provides the highest quality veterinary care to pets and their families in the Treasure Valley and surrounding region. It is nationally recognized as one of the most progressive veterinary hospitals in the Pacific Northwest. It has a highly-trained staff, including 21 board-certified specialists and 36 veterinarians. As a premiere emergency and critical care center for animals WestVet is among the very elite animal hospitals in the country. Runners-Up:

All Valley Animal Care Center Intermountain Pet Hospital

BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORE: BLUE FRINGE BOUTIQUE Blue Fringe has only been around since 2015, but it has already made a big name for itself with unique, fashion-forward clothing and accessories. “Our style ranges from trendy to boho to edgy with a vintage vibe,” says Owner Keri Kinzel. “Each item in the store has been handpicked for an expressive style. We offer personalized help to our customers to help them mix and match items so they walk out of the shop with an outfit that fits the uniqueness of who they are.” At this boutique, you’ll never underestimate the power of a great outfit, a new pair of shoes or the perfect piece of jewelry. Runners-Up: BLUE FRINGE BOUTIQUE

Chico’s Dragonfly AUGUST 2019


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