Merritt’s Country Cafe struggles with options in face of State St. widening –

Another long-time Boise restaurant is feeling the pressure of growth. In a post on Facebook, the owners of Merrit’s Country Cafe said plans for the widening of State Street could force major changes to the late night hot spot.

“We recently received letters from ACHD, as most of you know the widening of State St. is going to happen, at this time we are not 100% sure how this will impact us,” Merrit’s wrote on Facebook. “The plans we seen will put the new road and sidewalks right at our front door!”

State St. revamp

The Ada County Highway District concept plan for the area shows a significant change for the road near Merritt’s. Currently, two travel lanes flow in each direction, plus a center turn lane, with no sidewalks.

The concept diagram shows three lanes in each direction, plus bike lanes and sidewalks on each side of the street. A center median is also featured. A future bus rapid transit or HOV lanes could figure into the plan as part of a planned revamp of the corridor.

Merritt’s Country Cafe is shown in the upper left of this diagram provided by the Ada County Highway District of changes to State St.

The September 2017 diagram for the project shows the roadbed significantly closer to the Merritt’s building and includes an access point to the property.

The diagram shows the roadbed going through the middle of the classic Merritt’s sign.

Construction on the project will begin in 2021.

Merritt’s looks at options

In their Facebook post, the owners said they hope to purchase a new location on a street with similar traffic volumes.

“So far everything out there is for lease and would need a lot of work to fit our needs! No place will ever have the history and character of this old Truck Stop, she is definitely one of a kind and holds so many memories for so many of us!”

Crews built the cafe building in 1956, originally as a truck stop building. In 1975, the Merritt family opened the restaurant – which served diners 24 hours a day until 2017.

“We will also look at how we could possibly re-configure this property to provide the parking we need for the (cafe),” the owners wrote.

The State St. and Pierce Park project will also claim a large portion of one of the fairways at the Plantation golf course. It will also force the demolition of a Jacksons station.

Though nothing is set in stone, the Merritt family ends on an optimistic tone.

“We will remain positive about this and continue to do our best to provide our customers with a great dining experience!”