Goodbye, Old Friend: Old Chicago Closes in Downtown Boise
Typing that headline was extremely difficult for me.
It's never been a secret, I basically lived at the Old Chicago in Downtown Boise for the past 10 years. In fact, I just completed my 14th World Beer Tour there about a week ago. Heck, I just had lunch there yesterday afternoon and told Brent, OC's general manager, that I'd be back to finish my St. Patty's Day mini-tour tonight.
That's why I was in complete shock when one of my favorite bartenders from Old Chicago sent me a message on Facebook this morning telling me that they closed the doors on Idaho Street for the last time at 8 o'clock last night. She let me know that she (along with all the mugs our fellow World Beer Tour participants have earned for completing 10 tours) would be transferring to the Old Chicago location in Boise Towne Square Mall.
Over the years, I've written about dozens of businesses opening and closing in the Treasure Valley but this feels like I've been punched in the stomach. The staff at this location made it such a special place for us regulars.
It's where we watched the Browns lose season after season. It's where we went when we were just too tired to cook. It's where we went to hang our heads in moments of defeat and where we went to celebrate big moments in our lives and our careers. Every single server on the bar side of the restaurant knew when my husband was going to propose to me and it's the first place we went when we got back from McCall so that I could show off my ring. We had our rehearsal dinner there. I begged to go there to grab wings between hours of wedding photos and finally making it to the reception.
It wasn't just a special place for us. For 17 years, Old Chicago hosted Miracle on Idaho Street on Christmas Day. A handful of the staff members and dozens of volunteers would serve up a warm Christmas meal for the homeless and hungry in the Treasure Valley. They would even arrange for Santa to visit with kids who's families consider Old Chicago the only place that really feels like "home" on Christmas Day.
This one stings, but I can't thank Brent, Sam and their entire staff at Old Chicago for the great memories they've provided for my friends and family over the past decade that I've lived in the Treasure Valley.
Brent recently announced that he was moving on to a new adventure in real estate and there's a party planned for all the good years he and his crew put together at OC. It'll be next Wednesday, March 11 at Bear Island Brewing Co on N Liberty St. from 7-9 p.m. Come share some memories with all of us regulars.
...for now, I'm going to go cry some more.