Kevin and Brenna Byington looked in Meridian, Middleton, Eagle, Ontario and other Idaho towns as they searched for the right place to establish the restaurant they wanted to open.
Ultimately, the pair decided to open up shop in the former fire station at 271 Avenue B in downtown Kuna.
“We just kept coming back to this one,” said Kevin Byington, who recently bought a house and moved his family to Kuna. “A lot of things about the community just kept telling us this was the perfect location.”
And while the Byingtons are making some big changes inside, Matthew O’Connor, who’s been running MatteeO’s Firehouse Café in that location since summer 2011, is making some big changes of his own.
“We’re very excited to announce that we have found a buyer for our business,” O’Connor wrote in an email to the Kuna Melba News last week, noting he, his wife and baby will head west to be nearer to family—and the beach—where he’ll “continue cultivating culinary creations” closer to his roots in Maui.
“We’d like to thank our loyal customers, dedicated local staff, the current mayor and ladies in the City of Kuna offices for their smiles and support,” said O’Connor, who closed his doors at MatteeO’s on Nov. 11. “The new restaurateur will be transitioning into the space soon, so please support local business and prepare for something new and exciting at the old firehouse in Kuna.”
The transition is underway. Byington is investing in the business, adding, for example: high-capacity kitchen equipment, a number of flat screen TVs, and maybe, if he can find a way around the configuration problem, a salad bar.
The goal is to open around the first of the year, but he could be brushing off the welcome mat a bit sooner, depending on how things come together.
The restaurant will be open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the menu, visitors will find tried and true favorites like chicken and fish, soups and salads, burgers and deli sandwiches and, of course, pizza.
The restaurant in Kuna will be the seventh he’s opened, and the third he currently owns.
In addition to a passion for feeding the community, Byington said he also believes in supporting local students and civic organizations, and makes it a rule to offer fundraising opportunities to PTA groups, little league teams, school bands, and others.
From selling pizza coupons to providing pizza to sell at games Byington said he’s got something for everyone.
“I’ll show up with the tailgating trailer, let the kids sell it and keep the profits,” he said “Pizza is always a big hit at games, and it’s a win-win. Obviously, it’s good for business, and it’s good for the community, too.”
The Byingtons will be the fourth proprietors for the firehouse in recent years.
Before O’Connor opened MatteeO’s Karen and Wyland Atkins, ran Karen’s Firehouse Café for about a year-and-a-half after taking it over from Sandy Whitehouse, who owned and operated the Firehouse for over three years.
Check out www.firehousekuna.com or www.facebook.com/firehousekuna.