Iconic Boise restaurant to close after more than 50 years

Credit: Adam Worthington / KTVB

Iconic Boise restaurant to close after more than 50 years


by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie


Posted on January 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

BOISE -- The Stagecoach Inn on Chinden Boulevard has been serving up steaks, their famous prawns, and cold drinks in Boise for more than half a century.

A filet mignon dinner was $4.25 when the iconic restaurant opened in 1959. Today, it will cost you $28.94, but the Boise staple has remained true to its roots.

Sadly, the Stagecoach Inn is now in its last week of business. Financial problems have forced the owners to close its doors for good. The last day of operation is Saturday.

Boise lore has it that the men who put up the money for Micron came up with the idea at the Stagecoach Inn. It is said they wrote it all down on a napkin at the end of the bar. The owner told KTVB this was also a popular meeting place for Albertsons and HP execs. However, the staff here says it's the regulars who really made the Stagecoach Inn a Boise staple for more than 50 years.

"It was such a family atmosphere," said Jennifer Fraser, who owns the Stagecoach Inn with her husband. "Everybody was nice. Every single waitress that waited on us was like your long-lost cousin that you were introduced to."

The original founder Willie Schrier passed the place on to his daughters, who then sold it to the Frasers in 2007. Many of the staff have been there for years.

"It's a family," said waitress Melanie Wardle. "We talk about everything and anything."

Wardle has been working there for 24 years. She said some of her regulars don't hesitate to remind her they've been eating at the Stagecoach Inn for that long.

What if her regulars don't show up?

"Then we call them: 'Are you OK? I haven't seen you in a couple days,'" said Wardle.

Fraser and her husband have experience in the restaurant business. However, she said she has never seen loyalty like that of her customers.

"I will never forget the feeling when we first took over," Fraser said, calling the feeling "welcoming." "But they were also very, 'OK just to make things clear, this is our establishment not yours. We're just letting you run it for a while.' And that I think why they keep coming back because they feel like they're home."

Fraser attributes the business struggles to the economic downturn, followed by a boom of local chain restaurants in the area. She says the business filed for bankruptcy about a year ago.

Over the years, the folks at "The Coach" have formed friendships with each other and with their customers.

"It's that established tradition, I think, of celebrations and babies and graduations and weddings, we've had proposals," Fraser said. "It's a glimpse, to me, into somebody's house."

Fraser was hoping to be able to keep it open for a few more weeks, but told staff today that Saturday would be their last day.