Life June 26, 2018

Old World Charm

Exploring the Hyde Park neighborhood

Tucked away in the heart of the North End of Boise, the Hyde Park Historic District evokes the charm and friendliness of a European village. Its mixture of residential and locally owned businesses exist in vibrant harmony, making Hyde Park one of Boise’s most popular destinations—for an evening or a lifetime!

The area was Boise’s first suburban commercial center in the late 1800s, providing a central locus of shopping for the residential additions that were platted nearby as the city grew northwards. Architecturally, the neighborhood—which borders both sides of N. 13th Street between Alturas and Brumback streets—is a blend of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival homes and commercial buildings of brick, wood and cast stone construction. The celebrated Boise architects Tourtellotte and Hummel are credited with designing the neighborhood. Check out the beautifully restored Oddfellows and Waymire buildings!

Today, the many open-air patios and roll-back windows of the restaurants are full in Boise’s long summer season, with visitors and neighborhood regulars leaning their bikes—or leashing their dogs—against the low railings that define the outdoor seating. (All of the restaurants and coffee bars have a generous supply of water and dog treats for Fido!) You’ll find chilled wine, cold microbrews, an old-fashioned barbershop, a cobbler who repairs shoes and can also make you a pair of boots, gift stores where you’ll want to buy one of everything you see, a fair-trade emporium, a high-end bicycle shop, to-die-for handmade ice cream, a toy store—and a lot of laid-back fun. Did I mention the neighborhood is very family-friendly?

Hyde Park is a popular gathering place for cyclists. Camel’s Back Park and Hull’s Gulch, both access points
for the network of Foothills trails, are just a few blocks away. Add baby strollers, dog walkers and joggers to the mix and you start to get an idea of the diversity of the neighborhood.

A few blocks up 13th Street, the wide swaths of cool grass, shady trees and playground sets of Camel’s Back—
so called because of the shape of the hills’ ridgeline—attract families with children and summer shade-seekers. Each September, Camels’ Back is the site of the fabled
Hyde Park Street Fair organized by the North End Neighborhood Association. It’s a trippy weekend of live music, community entertainers, food booths, artisans and crafts people and crowds!

Here are a few of our favorite places in the neighborhood:

  1. Hyde & Seek

Chock-a-block with intriguing and wonderful items, from journals to objets d’art, to quirky jewelry and chandeliers to, well, you really must see for yourself! The owners and staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and can do gorgeous giftwrap. Be warned that the aisles are very narrow. Leave the kids outside on the bench.

  1. Vince’s Barbershop

Vince himself will cut your hair: no frills, cash only. Don’t bother calling ahead because he only takes walk-ins. As he says with acerbic wit, “Our clients deserve our undivided attention, so we never answer while cutting. If you are calling to ask how busy we will be a week from Tuesday, hang up and phone your local psychic hotline.”

  1. Goody’s Soda Fountain

With an old-fashioned soda fountain, hand-made ice cream, handcrafted chocolates produced twice a week, candies, an outdoor patio and occasional live music, Goody’s is a Boise gem. We wholeheartedly agree with the store’s motto, “Only Too Much
is Enough!”

  1. G. Willikers

Right next door to Goody’s—both owned by Brett Palmateer—is a toy shop of a child’s dreams. Classic wooden toys and games from our childhood are sure to please the kid in each of us.

  1. Reibe’s Shoe Shop

Stepping into this unassuming, dusty shop is a journey back in time to when shoes were meant to last. The gangly German shorthair, Bill Riebe’s canine companion, who, for years, snoozed in the afternoon sun in the chair by the door has gone over the Rainbow Bridge, but this extraordinarily talented cobbler remains. He’s a craftsman who can coax long life out of shoes, belts and handbags, and knows the lost technique of creating a pair of handmade boots with the old-fashioned machines and tools that have been in his family for 100 years.

  1. Camel’s Crossing

Retro 70s décor and juxtapositions of unexpected flavor that delight your palate combine to make this dinner-only restaurant a star in Boise’s culinary firmament. Chef Christian Phernetton began his career “as soon as he could see over the stove” making pierogis with his grandmother and as a teenager cooked for Boise’s legendary Peter Schott. Chef Brian Ferris honed his skills at high-end restaurants in between stints as a private chef. Together, they combine seasonal, locally sourced ingredients with French cooking techniques to produce a globally inspired New American cuisine. The eclectic wine list includes a 2009 Cuvee Rouge from the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, a 2015 red from Uruguay and a chenin blanc from South Africa. Space is very limited so reservations are a must.

  1. Parilla Grill

With a roof that opens to the sky and front windows that open onto the sidewalk, this hip cantina serves house-made salsas, grilled meats in Mexican-Asian-Indian fusion style. There’s a special every night of the week—and my favorite is Friday’s $2 Tecate and $2 fish tacos! Owner Scott Graves also operates 13th Street Pub & Grill, known for its huge windows that open to the patio in summer, its friendly servers, and dependably fresh and delightful pub fare. A good Sunday brunch choice, and it’s kid-friendly, too!

  1. Harry’s Hyde Park Pub

Harry’s offers a full bar and a rotating selection of microbrews on tap.
Burgers, wings, rings, Buffalo chips, cheese curds, fingers steaks and sandwiches will satisfy even the most hearty appetite.

  1. Hyde Park House

Like most establishments in this neighborhood, Hyde Park House is family-owned and operated. The spacious outdoor patio is just the place to kick back and enjoy one of their creative dishes that is “locally sourced and crafted with love.” Skip straight to dessert and enjoy their to-die-for ice-cream sandwich, a treat for the taste buds!


This article appears in the Summer 2018 Issue of Territory Magazine.