Dinner and Drinks at The Modern Hotel and Bar
Hungry travelers dined at a Basque boardinghouse in Nampa, Idaho, called the Modern Hotel in the 1930s, which was operated by Regina and Juan Bastida. Hearty fare and its modern amenities like steam heat attracted traveling musicians and businessmen, sheepherders and Basque immigrants to the Modern.
Elizabeth Tullis bought a run-down Travelodge in Boise seventy years later. She named it after her grandparent’s original Modern Hotel and it has been attracting locals and travelers ever since. Elizabeth and Linen District developer David Hale, along with local architect Dwaine Carver and interior designer Kerry Tullis did a complete renovation and modernization of the facility, which opened in 2007. In 2009, The Modern added a small kitchen, which has since been expanded. The kitchen at the Modern showcases meats, seafood and produce grown by local farmers and ranchers.
In 2014, the Modern started serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm with cocktails available after 10 am. Enjoy sipping drinks such as The Wild Card–a mixture of El Tesoro platinum tequila, Amaro CioCiaro, espresso, demerara, and cinnamon or The Mary, which features Vodka, tomato juice, lime, fish sauce, honey syrup, spices, thai basil, and a sriracha salt rim.
Savory brunch offerings include House corned beef and poached eggs, a combination of Korean style BBQ grass fed beef brisket, onion kimchi, cabbage, potatoes, and chili oil or Truffled egg toast and salad featuring wild mushroom scramble, parmesan, truffle oil, Gaston’s Bakery Pullman bread, and a mixed greens salad or Croque Madame–Smoked lomo, Comté, Dijon mustard, béchamel, Pullman bread, fried egg, and greens. Sweet selections include Gâteau de crLpes with preserved local fruits and mascarpone or Blackstrap molasses baked french toast with Greek yogurt and rum butter-caraway sauce.
At the Modern’s happy hour from 4-7 pm Monday through Friday, try one of their signature drinks. The Guadalajara Sour, created by Michael Bowers, Head Bartender, was featured in the New York Times. It’s made with El Tesoro Platinum tequila, lemon, simple syrup, float of dry rosé, and grapefruit peel. Another Modern Bar creation is the Bedford– Bombay Dry gin, Priorat Natur sweet vermouth, apple shrub, soda water, and sage served on the rocks. Or a hot drink could warm you like the Whisky Sling–Aberlour 12 year single malt scotch, demerara, hot water, and nutmeg. Local beer and wine and libations from distant climes are also available. The Modern’s cocktail list rotates seasonally and uses fresh ingredients -juices and herbs- and house made syrups.
The Modern is open for dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm Sunday through Wednesday and until 11 pm Thursday through Saturday. Try gluten free appetizers such as Chanterelles–Heirloom polenta, garlic, sherry, and parmesan or Seared Halloumi–Curried yukon potatoes, cilantro and chutney. Gluten free entree options include Shepherd’s Pie, a lamb stew with yukon gold potatoes; Pork belly with carrot molé, caramelized fennel, and toasted pumpkin seeds or halibut served with roasted potatoes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower purée, and saffron aioli broth. End your gluten free meal with butterscotch pudding served with rum whipped cream.
“What we serve is interesting, local, meaningful,” says Remi Courcenet, Food & Beverage Manager. “It’s the best way to support our community and provide our guests with seasonal and quality ingredients.”
The Modern’s chef Nate Whitley has free rein to experiment and be creative. He attended California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and spent several years cooking in Kerry, Ireland, and the South of France. “The best part is building relationships with the food producers and then getting to share the bounty with the people who come here to eat,” says Boise native Whitley. He prepared beets grown by Peaceful Belly for one of the farm’s founders, Josie Erskine. “It was full-circle,” Whitley recalls. “Growers were eating their own food that we’ve prepared.” Whitley’s cooking style focuses on seasonality, simplicity and comfort foods.
Beside supporting creative chefs and bartenders, The Modern Hotel and Bar supports other creatives in the community including filmmakers, with their 39 Rooms Film Festival and artists with the Modern Art event the first Thursday in May. Musicians are showcased in the courtyard throughout the summer and regional writers have the opportunity to share during Modern Campfire Stories.