Life March 29, 2019

Staking Old Spots With New Claims

Revitalizing the Lusk District

Wrapping down South 9th Street, parallel to Capitol Boulevard, and looping along the side of Ann Morrison Park is an oblong block of Boise. An area you’ve probably driven through but maybe didn’t realize it.

It was once upon a time a hub for auto repair shops. And today, it’s, well, just beginning to flower into its long-time up-and-coming potential.

The Lusk District. It’s the spot for sustainable evolution. And developers definitely have their eyes on this location.

With the Boise River flowing to the north and the Spanish-inspired Boise Train Depot to the south, a new Shoreline Project has emerged to revitalize time-weathered buildings and embrace a new mixture of old cultures.

In the heart of the Lusk District is a quiet block of entrepreneurial-spirited businesses. Take a stroll from South La Pointe Street to South Lusk Street and you’ll see and feel the energy of the area. The theme is clear in the business owners there: grit with a burning-bright-can’t-escape-it passion for what they do.

Two guys with an eye for design have built their dream studio. A husband and wife duo kick-started an elevated taco experience—pineapple al pastor, anyone? A local coffee roaster whose daily encouragement to customers is to “wake up and crush it!” A taproom and brewery separated by little but large glass windows holds a special philosophy for reducing waste and investing in locals.

And, of course, an indoor doggie play park where Spot can socialize.

The Lusk District is also the hot spot to be if you’re a college student. With Boise State University hailing to the east, a lofty apartment complex experience has formed with more to offer than just a place to sleep.

Tanning beds. Swimming pools. Outdoor courtyards. Hot tubs. Gated communities. Bike storage. And while on the topic of bikes, Boise as a community is quickly climbing the charts of the Top 50 Cities for Cycling in America (currently resting around 25th).

The economically paved Boise River Greenbelt runs 46 miles along the Boise River and boarders the Lusk District providing an efficient route for locals to get to wherever they’re going and enjoy the fume-free ride. Oh, and if you need to repair your bike, stop in to the Boise Bicycle Project on South Lusk Street. They’ve got all the tools, all the parts and the bike-smarts to teach you how to improve your own bike. And what do they believe? Boise should be the bike capital of America.

Life in the Lusk District is a real world display of Mayor Dave Bieter’s coined “Boise Kind” caption embracing kindness, generosity, civility and respect for both the locals and travelers alike. 


Here are some spots you won’t want to miss:

Madre Boutique Taqueria

Their pickled onions and carrots are just one way Madre brings an elevated taco experience to everyday people. A husband and wife duo make customers feel like family with open bench seating, warm lighting and rollback doors to the patio for warmer days. Visit: 1034 S. La Pointe St.

The Boise Bicycle Project is a fixture in the Lusk District. Photo courtesy Boise Bicycle Project.

Boise Bicycle Project (BBP)

A do-it-yourself bike shop with just about every (recycled) part you could imagine and someone there to teach you how to replace it. It’s a nonprofit bicycle collective that promotes the social and environmental benefits of cycling. They hosted a very successful Bikes Beyond Boise program with a 2018 Holiday Giveaway and gifted 601 bikes! Visit: 1027 S. Lusk St.

Dawson Taylor Coffee

With a European-style drum roaster and openness to sourcing, buying, roasting and blending specialty coffees. At Dawson, it’s all in the family as the owners named the coffee boutique after their son Dawson Taylor Ledgard. Their priorities land in building personal relationships and visits to the farms to ensure quality and providing a high-quality artisan coffee experience. Visit: 1035 S. Lusk St.

Tree City Juice and Smoothie Café

Slurp local. This spot is the Treasure Valley’s only non-franchise, family owned smoothie shop. They make their own pro-biotic yogurt daily and use all organic grains in their homemade wraps. That’s right, they’re more than just a smoothie shop. They’ve got panini, bowls, and even shots. The lemon, ginger and cayenne shot would be a great way to start a Monday. Visit: 1265 S. Capitol Blvd.

Life’s Kitchen provides a 16-week food service and life skill training program for young adults 16 to 20. Photo courtesy Life’s Kitchen.

Life’s Kitchen

They’re serving up second chances and a whole café of choices. Life’s Kitchen provides a 16-week food service and life skills training program for young adults ages 16 to 20 years old. These students gain hands-on experience cooking and serving great food. Life’s Kitchen also offers students support working towards GED requirements, job search assistance and professional mentoring.
Visit: 1025 S. Capitol Blvd.

The Shed

Come for brunch … and just stay. Dimly lit and full of character, The Shed never fails to put out good meals. They’ve got new weekend specials popping up all the time, such as Strawberry Quik Pancakes with a sweet cream pancake batter filled with strawberry Quik mix grilled to golden status and covered in whipped cream, fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.
I think that’s all we need to say about that. Visit: 1010 La Pointe St.

This article appears in the Spring 2019 Issue of Territory Magazine.