Three new businesses are expected to open within the next few months in downtown Idaho Falls: a New York-style deli, a Vietnamese restaurant and a new bar.
While some developers are working on long-term renovations to downtown buildings, a few business owners, all of whom are new to downtown, have made quick renovations in vacant spaces.
The House Bar on Park Avenue
The House Bar will open in the building that formerly housed Metamorphosis Salon, which vacated the space earlier this year.
The House Bar isn’t a new business but is relocating. It’s moving downtown, to 367 Park Ave., from its old location on East Anderson Street (then called The House Bar and Grill).
“It’s a far better location than on Anderson,” said Christina Guanell, the House Bar’s owner. “We’ve just been sitting and waiting for something to become available (downtown). It’s growing and revitalizing.”
It will be the fourth bar on that block of Park Avenue, between West Broadway and A Street. The House Bar will join The Celt, Black Rock and Samoa Club. And more could be on the way. Once renovations to the Odd Fellows Building and the Hasbrouck Building are complete, more bars could open there.
Guanell also owns the Roadhouse Saloon on Lindsay Boulevard and the Roadhouse Saloon food trailer.
Renovations to the former salon are almost complete.
From the outside, neon beer signs can be seen in the window. Inside, a bar has been installed and Guanell said she’s waiting on city building permits to renovate the plumbing, to accommodate a bar bathroom.
“Other than that we’re pretty much done in there,” she said.
If building permits are approved this week, Guanell hopes to open The House Bar this weekend.
“If not, we’ll shoot for mid-next week,” she said.
The 1,766-square-foot commercial space will house a full bar, with beer, wine and liquor. Food will not be served, although Guanell said she may set up her food truck there, if the opportunity arises.
In the future, there may be live acoustic music and karaoke. Customers will dictate the bar’s atmosphere, Guanell said.
“Depending on the crowd, if it’s fun we’ll turn the music up, and if it’s a mellow crowd we’ll keep it mellow,” she said.
Hot Spring Pho on Shoup Avenue
Downtown Idaho Falls’ first Vietnamese restaurant is coming, possibly next month.
Hot Spring Pho, located at 376 Shoup Ave., is expected to have a soft opening in mid-June, according to the restaurant’s owner Jeff Dang.
The restaurant will serve primarily pho, a Vietnamese soup with broth, rice noodles, herbs and meat or vegetables. It will serve other Vietnamese dishes, as well, such as beef, rice and egg noodle soups and various rice dishes.
“My aunt is going to be the cook,” Dang said.
Dang comes to Idaho Falls by way of Seattle, where his family moved in the 1980s, migrating from Vietnam.
The building, which was home to Mings Chinese Cuisine, is undergoing final renovations. While it’s a two-story building, only the first floor will be utilized for the time being.
“We have to figure out whether we’re going to have enough kitchen space to serve two floors,” Dang said.
The full-service restaurant doesn’t have an opening date, but there will be a soft opening within the next few weeks, Dang said.
Pickle DELI on Park Avenue
A new deli is expected to open in July on Park Avenue.
Pickle DELI, a New York-style sandwich shop, will be located at 515 Park Ave. in a former office space, next to Cardamom Indian Restaurant. Renovations have begun.
Pickle DELI’s owner, Bill Gersonde, said the shop will serve cold sandwiches, with salami and turkey and chicken, egg and tuna salad, as well as hot sandwiches, with brisket, corned beef and pastrami, among other locally and regionally sourced meats.
Gersonde, the former director of the Idaho Falls Zoo, has never owned his own business. After retiring from the zoo business — most recently he was the director of the Abeline Zoo in Texas — he decided to move back to Idaho Falls and open an Italian deli, a style of restaurant that he has always enjoyed.
“I wanted to do something that was fun and I enjoy doing,” he said.
Gersonde hopes the sandwich shop will cater to the people who work downtown, in the city and county buildings or in the various law offices and businesses.
“That’s really the market that I want to cater to: the working folks downtown and, of course, any folks that find themselves downtown at lunchtime,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of really great restaurants downtown but there really isn’t a great grab-and-go kind of place.”
Gersonde wants pickle DELI to be a socially conscious business, sourcing locally and using environmentally friendly products. For example, the shop’s salami will come from a company in Salt Lake City that has been making Italian salami for three centuries, Gersonde said.
And service products will be made from recycled materials and will be recyclable or compostable.
“Having been in the zoo industry, conservation is very important to me,” Gersonde said. “I want to carry that message over into the deli.”