Two California transplants opened a Boise restaurant in ’18. Now they’re on Food Network

by ZeuCer

When John and Julie Cuevas moved to Boise to transform an old cinder-block building into a bustling, boutique taqueria, they promptly got their priorities in order. Idaho order. “We’re transplants from California,” Julie told the Statesman in 2017, adding with a laugh: “We’re trying to change our license plates as quickly as possible.” Since then, the couple has found a welcoming new home in the Treasure Valley. The Cuevases’ fast-casual restaurant, Madre, 1034 S. La Pointe St., has become a neighborhood hit in the Lusk District near Boise State. The taco mecca’s profile is about to get higher. Madre will be featured on the long-running reality TV series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” this weekend — and, as is the case on Food Network, into rerun infinity. Premiering at 7 p.m. Friday (check your provider’s listings), the episode is titled “Down South & South of the Border.” Host Guy Fieri — aka the mayor of Flavortown — appreciates creative food. So expect plenty of euphoric grunts as he invades Madre and bites into tacos. The Cuevases came to Idaho from San Juan Capistrano, California, bringing years of food-service experience. Julie came from a hotel background. John, who runs the kitchen, is a classically trained chef. He was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Pacific in 2008. “He has been everywhere from five-star restaurants to really cool gastropubs,” Julie told the Statesman. Restaurants on “Triple D” immediately feel an impact after a show airs. Curious customers visit, often ordering whatever Fieri tried. This episode’s Food Network synopsis describes Madre as “a taco spot gone wild” that’s “blowing up the beef and getting creative with carnitas.” Madre specializes in creative tacos sometimes featuring outside-the-box ingredients. Madre/Facebook Madre’s food is made fresh and in-house daily. Taco options on the menu include temptations such as the Braised Carnitas (spiced coleslaw, blue cheese and barbecue sauce, $7), Wild Mushroom (mojo sauce, smoked bacon, jalapeno and radish, $6.50) and Korean Short Rib (kimchee, pickled relish, peanut sauce, $9). Madre is the latest among a string of Idaho restaurants featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” recently. Fieri traveled to Boise in February and filmed at several locations, ranging from Sunshine Spice Cafe and Westside Drive-In to Tango’s Empanadas and Alyonka Russian Cuisine.

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