Where longtime coffee shop closed, a newcomer to ‘restaurant row’ will open in Boise

Torri Donley

If you predicted that a new restaurant would go into the space vacated by Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters, well, you nailed it. Cupbop, a Korean barbecue chain founded in Utah, plans to open at 298 N. 8th St. — the corner of 8th and Bannock streets. The fast-casual restaurant could […]

If you predicted that a new restaurant would go into the space vacated by Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters, well, you nailed it.

Cupbop, a Korean barbecue chain founded in Utah, plans to open at 298 N. 8th St. — the corner of 8th and Bannock streets.

The fast-casual restaurant could be dishing up hot noodles as soon as the end of this month, says Michael Bevans, whose franchise group owns the Treasure Valley locations. Cupbop also operates in Idaho at 1520 W. Chinden Blvd. in Meridian and 1471 Caldwell Blvd. in Nampa.

Spokane-based Thomas Hammer shuttered its Boise store in August after about a decade and a half on 8th Street. It shared the block with popular dining destinations such as Bittercreek Alehouse, Eureka!, The Funky Taco and PieHole.

“… We are really excited about this spot,” Bevans said in an email, “and to be part of ‘restaurant row.’ ”

Describing its food as “Korean BBQ in a cup” (or alternately, “in a bowl”), Cupbop is well-suited for takeout, which has become crucial to restaurants’ livelihood during the coronavirus pandemic. Most bowls at Cupbop cost around $8, and the modest-sized menu makes for quick and easy to-go orders. Cupbop also is known for its food trucks.

“We offer sweet, savory and spicy food that will have fireworks bursting with flavor in your mouth!” Cupbop promises on Facebook. “Your bowl will have fluffy white rice, a layer of crisp lettuce, delicate sweet potato noodles, and your choice of beef, pork, chicken or our tofu kimchi medley.”

One definitely cool thing about Cupbop? You get to choose your spice level from 1 to 10. (After receiving the least spicy kung pao chicken takeout I’ve ever encountered from a Chinese restaurant in Boise last week, this level of heat control sounds fantastic.)

To casual observers, the former Thomas Hammer spot might seem fairly roomy for a Cupbop. But the quick turnaround on that empty room is encouraging for a downtown that can use all the positive news it can get.

“… We are thinking of some cool ideas for that extra space that we have there,” Bevans added. “We do want to plan a nice patio area that has some Korean styling to it, perhaps in the lighting.”

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©2020 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)

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