Interest in Alchemist Plant Pub is growing.
It’s not just that it’s a downtown Boise cafe in the morning, a restaurant and bar in the afternoon and evening.
Or that the entire menu is vegan.
Or that the vibe is stylish and artistic.
It’s also that diners won’t find any Beyond Meat-style products at the new spot, which opened Wednesday. Nothing Boca. No Impossible Burgers.
“The concept is all scratch-made,” owner Kris Price said.
The Downtown Burger ($18) is a brown rice and miso-shiitake patty, onion jam, lettuce and tomato, served with fries (or Caesar salad).
“We want these dishes to be, like, big, satiating,” he told the Statesman. “Not the cliche, dainty vegan food — like cutting a pea with a knife.”
Located at 620 W. Idaho St., Alchemist met that promise during a soft opening Monday. Diners got an early taste of dishes such as The Backwoods Burger ($18), Tres Tacos ($16) and sandwiches made with pulled jackfruit ($15) and charred vegetables ($16).
The Philly Cheez-Shroom sammy ($17) is significant. Dipping it in warm mushroom jus adds more flavor and heft. Phish and Chips ($18) is a standout; the texture is excellent. Sandwiches and burgers come with a side Caesar salad or french fries. If you order fries? Alchemist’s fry sauce — ask for it — takes things up another level. (It might remind you of In-N-Out Burger’s sauce, carnivores.)
The menu includes seven appetizers. The Nacho ($17) is a mountainous plate of chips, black beans, spicy jackfruit, tomato, avocado and cashew queso. Served with thinly sliced veggies, the tasty Cauliflower Wings ($13) offer a choice of three sauces. The sweet-and-spicy agave sriracha is the don’t-miss.
Almost everything served is gluten-free, too.
Alchemist Plant Pub features eight beers on tap and a decent wine selection. Canned cocktails are available, too, along with scratch-made sake cocktails.
But — and Price stresses this — it’s not just a pub.
Alchemist Plant Pub has multiple dining personalities, depending on time of day.
Every morning, Alchemist adopts the personality of its coffeehouse sister locations, focusing on everything from cold brew and latte to loose leaf tea and kombucha. There also are special drinks such as Alchemist Hemp Chai and Oat Milk Cacao Mocha. Everything remains strictly vegan, of course. You’ll find an array of alternative milks.
Breakfast items include a Southwest Burrito ($9.91), Build Your Own Toast ($8.73), Sausage and Egg Burrito ($9.91) and a Bagel with Cream Cheese ($4.01).
Arrive a little late? Lunch service begins at 11 a.m.
Alchemist isn’t downtown’s only plant-based dining destination. The nearby High Note Cafe, 225 N. 5th St., flipped to an all-vegan menu in 2019. And Frondescence, which stays open late, opened weeks ago at 103 N. 10th St.
But Alchemist definitely is something different.
‘Rad’ future patio
This unique, long, narrow outdoor area will feature a bartop “by summer, ideally,” says Alchemist Plant Pub owner Kris Price.
There’s a standard small patio out front, just west of Western Proper’s next door. But a future outdoor curiosity will be a narrow area hidden from the street.
Between the two buildings is a sort of “gulley,” as Price puts it, accessible from Alchemist. Shaded by towering walls, it should be ready to seat customers by summer. They’ll eat and drink along a bartop that stretches down one side of the corridor.
“It’ll be, like, this hidden patio that’s really rad,” Price says.
It’s safe to say there aren’t too many Boise restaurants with that sort of quirky space.
“It’s like, ‘What do you do with it?’ “ Price agrees. “It’s weird, but it’s so funky and cool that you kind of have to do something with it. You can’t do nothing with it!”
▪ Alchemist Plant Pub’s initial hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (or close) Fridays and Saturdays.