For the spring 2016 edition of Edible Idaho I wrote an Idaho Finds article on The Owyhee Restaurant. There wasn’t room to run any of the photos in the magazine so I’m happy to attach them here. Find an online edition of the entire magazine at this link.
Kick the Can
Fresh fare strikes a nerve at the Owyhee Restaurant
The Owyhee Restaurant sits in an unlikely setting – attached to a bowling alley on a side street in Homedale. The Lanes were built in 1959 and still brims with midcentury charm, but it’s the restaurant, added in 1968, that’s really the heart of the business.
“There’s fresh cinnamon rolls today, “ Linda Tunnell calls out to a regular as she walks by his table. Her remark seems unnecessary as the smell of warm cinnamon wafts into the dining room from the kitchen. Tunnel might have seemed like an unlikely restaurateur, having no previous experience when she took over the Owyhee Restaurant with her husband, Vern, three years ago.
The Owyhee Restaurant is open seven days a week, and besides serving breakfast all day and prime rib dinners Friday and Saturday nights, has an extensive menu. The corned beef hash is one of their signature breakfast dishes. “Our customers loved our hash, ” Vern says as he slides up a chair, “but it came out of a can and was really salty.” The Tunnell’s wanted to move away from processed foods so one of the first things they did was recreate the taste of canned hash from fresh ingredients. “A lot of our regulars are in their 80’s and 90’s and are watching their sodium so we try to be aware of that,” Linda adds.
Kicking the can became an ongoing theme as they moved towards using fresh produce as much as possible, sourced from the abundant agricultural area surrounding them. They also bring a touch of local culture to their menu with dishes like Basque cabbage soup, which was the special that day, and a Basque burger with its mix of ground Angus beef and chorizo topped with sautéed red and green bell peppers and onions under a blanket of melted cheese. Other favorites include finger steaks from a long passed down secret recipe and chicken fried steak.
While their cinnamon rolls are popular (and as big as your head), it’s Linda’s pies for which she’s known. For Thanksgiving last year, she had special orders for 90 pies, not to mention 600 dinner rolls. To get a whole pie in your choice of 18 varieties, any of which can be made gluten- or sugar-free, they require 24 hours notice. Or take your chances to see what’s available by the slice. On this particular day, there were cherry and peach as well as Oreo cheesecake and a three-tiered German chocolate cake.
The Owyhee Restaurant specializes in home cooking and I get the impression for many of their regulars, it’s a second home where everyone is family.
18 W 1st Street N, Homedale
Open 7 days a week for breakfast & lunch, every night except Sunday for dinner
Hours change seasonally – check their Facebook page for current hours