MERRITT'S COUNTRY CAFE specializes in scones, home cooking
BOISE ― Three neon “open” signs, a billboard-sized name sign and
the best reputation in the valley for a scone ― everyone knows
Merritt's Country Cafe.
The jukebox, open kitchen and friendly faces that appear when the
front door opens rush a feeling of home into your mind. The smell
of heavenly home-cooked food doesn't hurt either.
“It's a nice break from the microwaved, pre-processed,
hurry-up-let's-go world,” owner George Merritt said.
The home cooking of the cafe attracts a cross-section of the
community. Everybody is welcome at this little cafe, and in turn,
many people across the Treasure Valley come.
“If you want to see everybody in Boise, sit down at Merritt's for a
while and about every walk of life will come into the cafe,” George
Customers have gotten accustomed to comfortable atmosphere at the
“home of the scone.” However, the famous fried bread came as a
fluke success to the Merritt family.
When George's father Lester traded a mobile home for the property,
the family wanted to turn it into a restaurant that felt like home.
George's step-mom, Sharon, had been making scones at home and
decided to put them on the menu. Seemingly overnight the classic
treat turned into a valley staple.
The restaurant is a family place, owned and operated by the Merritt
family for 36 years. However, the family aspect seems to disappear
when the night crowd appears during the wee-hours of the
“I know I've seen at least one or two people dancing on the tables
late at night,” George said.
Although 36 years have passed since Merritt's start, the
environment has rarely wavered. George has been on the scene since
the beginning. At the ripe age of 13, he worked at Merritt's on the
kitchen staff when his parents owned it. At 30, George left to
start his construction career. He couldn't escape his ties to the
restaurant. While in construction, Merritt's was one of his best
clients. In the last few years, he hasn't received so many calls to
come fix up the restaurant.
When he came into ownership in May, he realized that he needed to
restore Merritt's to its former glory. He has reimplemented a free
scone or biscuit with a breakfast dish, and plans to remove some of
the less family-friendly songs from the jukebox.