The Best Restaurant for Every Graduation Celebration

You did it. You’re finally graduating from college! You’re living out millions of people’s dream!

But there’s one problem, you have to entertain your parents for an entire weekend. What will you do?

And where will you take them to eat?

Luckily for Boise State graduates, I’ve got restaurant recommendations for every type of family:

For the family that wants to stick close to campus:

For families that need convenience (and only want to park once) there’s plenty to eat nearby.

When you’re in the mood for diner food, Elmer’s skillets await.

Brunch: Elmer’s
Elmer’s will always have a special place in my heart because of the mix of hungover college kids and well-dressed retirees it attracts for brunch. I also adore the chicken-fried steak and eggs — I just wish they didn’t put the calories on the menu.

Madre serves a dynamite taco with pineapple and blue cheese.

Lunch: Madre
Madre probably makes the best expensive taco in town. They also make the most expensive taco in town. But you just paid for college! What’s wrong with spending another 40 bucks so the family can eat guac?

Dinner: The Shed or The Ram
These two restaurants are great for beer and a burger. If you want a riverside patio and 1000 TVs showing the NBA playoffs, run to The Ram. If you want slightly better food, head to The Shed.

For the family of a recently converted vegan:

You’ve heard this story before. Your darling, meat-loving high schooler went off to college, became “woke” (whatever that means), and now they won’t look at a cheeseburger without shrieking about moral relativism and global warming. Don’t worry, Boise is well-prepared to accommodate vegans young and old.

Brunch: High Note Cafe
This shadowy, hidden gem of Boise — which serves brunch all day — is in the process of converting its menu to 100% vegan victuals!

The niçoise salad at Wild Root.

Lunch: Wild Root
I always say it, but Wild Root just crushes it day in and day out. So much good stuff for vegans and carnivores alike.

Dinner: BBQ4LIFE
BBQ4LIFE is legendary because it focuses on barbecue and vegan food. You can cram pound after pound of brisket while the vegans in your family nibble on delicious tofu creations.

For the family that likes variety:

Tired of omelets, burgers, and pizza? These places keep things fresh:

Brunch: Waffle Me Up
The waffles at Waffle Me Up are sweet and dense like a sticky bun, and taste best when covered in syrup, bacon, basil and a fried egg.

Tango’s makes the very best fried pockets of stuff.

Lunch: Tango’s Subs and Empanadas
Do you like outstanding and cheap fried pockets of delicious, delicious meat? I thought so.

Delicious and complimentary.

Dinner: Mr. Wok
Right up the hill from campus, you can enjoy a steaming bowl of bibimbap and banchan — delightful small side dishes that keep you entertained before your meal arrives.

For the family that appreciates the classics:

Do you want comfort food that won’t ask you to change? These old standards will satisfy the pickiest family members.

Brunch: Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro
The quintessential Boise breakfast spot. If the wait is too long (and it will be) The Griddle will do in a pinch.

Lunch: Boise Fry Company
If you’re from out of state, you owe it to your parents to feed them a potato.

Dinner: Luciano’s Italian 
Do you like insanely good complimentary bread? Do you like Michael Buble singing songs made famous by Sinatra? Do you like vast cauldrons of slightly above average Alfredo? Lucanio’s is Olive Garden if Olive Garden food actually looked like the commercials.

For the family that demands the deluxe experience:

Surviving college is a serious accomplishment. Here are some restaurants that will properly celebrate this massive milestone!

Brunch at the Modern is on another level.

Brunch: The Modern
Don’t look now, but The Modern might be making the best food in Boise. Visit at dinner to enjoy fancy cocktails and clever entrees on the patio.

Style and steller sourdough at the Wylder.

Lunch: The Wylder
The Wylder has a simple menu, but their big salads, groovy vegetables, and refreshingly complex sourdough pizza are winning over my heart and stomach. The dining room is also fantabulous, and it’s just a short walk across the friendship bridge.

Photo credit: Barbacoa

Dinner: Barbacoa Grill
You just graduated. This is your one moment of optimism before the job market permanently steals the shine from your eyes. Let’s go big!! And no place goes bigger than Barbacoa. With a massive tunnel of wine, ostentatious chandeliers, table side guac, and a rack of ribs bigger than America’s student debt burden, every night at Barbacoa feels like a major occasion. (Reserve a spot on the pond-side patio for the most festive experience.) ∎

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