Idaho Restaurant Named One of the Best Hidden Gem Restaurants in America
Nestled in a city that is home to 791 residents, this locally owned restaurant is among an elite list of places worth pulling off major freeways to enjoy!
24/7 Tempo put together a list of the Best Hidden Gem Restaurant in Every State and the choice for Idaho is in one of our state’s most interesting small towns - Wallace. The once booming silver mining town proclaimed itself the “Center of the Universe” in 2004, because no one could prove that it wasn’t. According to Atlas Obscura, They installed a manhole cover to prove it and designed it to include initials of the towns four main mines that resulted in producing over 1.2 billion dollars in silver.
Of course, the mining history isn’t the only intriguing part of a visit to Wallace. Home to the Oasis Bordello Museum, there were still brothels operating there clear into the late 1980s. The madams at the brothels had a friendly and philanthropic relationship with the town’s residents and law enforcement. The Bordello Museum was one of those that was suddenly abandoned in 1988. The tour walks you through their hasty departure and is relatively untouched from that day. Another one of the brothels has been remodeled into a ritzy Airbnb and another is on the market. (Keep scrolling to see a tour of the property after the restaurant reveal!)
It’s also close to one of the most impressive bike trails in Idaho, the Route of the Hiawatha and is where Pierce Brosnan shot Dante’s Peak.
There’s no doubt there’s a lot of reasons to pull off Highway 90 to explore Wallace, but 24/7 Tempo’s reason is totally culinary. Their reason is Blackboard Cafe, Idaho’s representative on their list of Best Hidden Gem Restaurants.
According to the Blackboard Cafe’s description on Yelp, the restaurant first opened in 2016 as a sandwich shop but two months in, owners Rob and Luanne, decided to expand to a dual concept restaurant that served an Italian menu during dinner hours. Rob has a 20 year culinary career that’s taken him everywhere from Reno to Long Beach to Alaska to Taos, New Mexico and eventually to Wallace, where the couple now calls home.
In choosing Blackboard 24/7 Tempo said:
“Just off Interstate 90, but otherwise what most people would call remote, tiny Wallace, Idaho, is home to a handful of good eateries. The best one, according to its patrons, is the Blackboard Café. The menu is standard Italian fare without a lot of flash, but it is cooked from scratch and is consistently delicious.”
We’re not quite sure that we agree that there isn’t a lot of flash to items on the menu at Blackboard. Just look at this Benedict burger that’s on the lunch menu. It’s a ½ pound of organic beef, topped with Swiss cheese, tomato and slathered in hollandaise sauce.
Or this delicious lobster roll made with tarragon butter sauce and served on a brioche roll.
And those are just lunch menu items! Just look at these dinner menu items, like lobster truffle pasta.
Or this Osso Busco, a braised lamb shank made with herbed butter and served with potato puree.
We see a lot of flash on this menu, so we’re not sure why Tempo 24/7 couldn’t see the creativity, but we sure are happy they gave us one more reason to stop into Wallace on our next adventure! Speak of adventure, here’s a look at that brothel for sale there in case you consider relocating there from the big city of Boise.