Chowing down at Chow: a mouthwatering way to support local businesses

Posted at 2:06 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 14:04:50-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Oxford dictionary defines the word geode as "a small cavity in rock lined with crystals or other mineral matter." In other words, a rock with a special surprise inside.

Walking into Chow Public Market and Eatery is like that: it doesn't look like much from the outside, but on the inside--that's where you'll find an unexpected treasure.

Nestled away next to the Edwards Cinema on Overland road, Chow has been a hub for budding Idaho entrepreneurs for the past three years. The food-hall-style layout offers pop-up restaurants a space to thrive and gain community support while also prepping them for a future brick and mortar location.

And the best part about Chow? Almost everything you see is local.

"We really pride ourselves on sticking true to our roots," explained Matt Schirmer, the manager of Chow. "We try to focus solely on local--we love this community so much and it gives us a lot of joy to be able to invest back into our community."

As the CEO and Head Chef of Jackson Pride Barbecue, Eric Jackson knows how much effort goes into making good food--and how important that sense of community is.

Smoking the meat he uses in his dishes can take hours--and Jackson is there every minute to babysit the meat--but every bite is worth the effort.

"It takes time and I'm there with it," Jackson said. "It's the one thing that I enjoy doing that brings people together--and we can sit and have a good time over a meal."

Jackson Pride is one of the pop-ups that use Chow's commissary as a venue--and right across the way sits Louisiana Soul Bayou.

Owner and Head Chef, Jody Charles, says his food is all about comfort and the taste of home.

"Growing up in Louisiana, I learned to cook a lot with my mom," Charles said. "If you've ever had my food, you can taste the love and the sweat and tears I put into the food."

Like Jackson, Charles got his start running a pop-up at Chow, but after a little while Chow asked him to be a permanent fixture--in his first-ever brick and mortar location.

"It's just a real good feeling when customers leave here giving you a thumbs up and telling you it's the best thing they ever had. It's a real good feeling," Charles said.