I’d Eat There to open Creole-inspired restaurant

Chad Cliffe, Jessica Cliffe and Jake Peters in front of the new I'd Eat There restaurant, set to open early next year.
Chad Cliffe, Jessica Cliffe and Jake Peters in front of the new I’d Eat There restaurant in Minden, set to open early next year.

by Joey Crandall, joey@carsonvalleytimes.com

In its one year of business, the I’d Eat There food truck made a name for itself around Carson Valley and Carson City with its curbside cuisine.

The business, owned by Chad and Jessica Cliffe with help from Chad’s brother Jake Peters, will take its next step early next year, opening in a permanent location.

“There were a lot of things that went into this decision,” Chad Cliffe said. “We found that winter wasn’t really food trucking weather. People don’t want to stand in the snow to get their hot meal, and then by the time they can get it back to their office, the food is cold.

“We found we’d have to almost close seasonally to continue with the food truck. We are Christian believers, and we really felt prompted by God to take that next step. From there, is just seemed like all the pieces fell into place.”

They are aiming to open as early as mid-January and have been working on the restaurant – located at 1685 Highway 395 in Minden (the old Russell’s Mercantile space) – since Nov. 15.

A sign went up earlier this week – with one notable change.

“We put it right up there,” Chad Cliffe said. “’Creole-inspired cuisine.’ We kept the same brand. People know us, and know our food.

“We spent the whole last year out in the field, thumping the pavement. We figured, why change the name? But there were other things we wanted to do with the menu.”

They were drawn to the idea of a Creole-inspired menu because of the relative lack of similar restaurants in the region and the potential for a widely-varied menu.

“On the food truck, we were more weighed down by the equipment and size,” Cliffe said. “We essentially had two heating elements and a couple refrigerators and made it work.

“Taking the Creole theme into a menu and a dining room, it was exciting for us. We want to inject some more culture into Minden. We’re talking about food you’d associate with Louisiana or New Orleans. We did so much research and background in what we are aiming to do, because we want to do it right.

“There are so many cultures that go into Creole cooking. You’re talking about Italian, French, African and German. That is really going to the fun part for us in the kitchen, just getting to play around with different options.

“One of our confidence points is you can’t go anywhere else around here and find this food. Maybe you can find a Po’ Boy or a jumbalaya, but there is no place doing specifically Creole.”

The Cliffes closed the food truck on the last day of September and immediately got to work on establishing the new restaurant.

“Basically we had to do a lot of shopping around, a lot of trial and error,” Chad Cliffe said. “The Russell’s place was suggested early on, but we were ignorant in what we were looking for. We were still trying to figure out things like what sort of square footage we’d need and that sort of stuff.

“We ended up looking at three or four locations. Russell’s came off the table twice. But we kept going back to it.”

Jessica Cliffe said they negotiated on the eventual location for nearly a month.

“We closed the food truck and started immediately focusing on the restaurant,” she said.

When they got into the location, they set to work buying kitchen equipment and designing the dining room.

“There was a kitchen-grade hood, and other than that it was pretty much empty,” Chad Cliffe said. “We’ve been working on it every day singe we got the keys. Our blanket statement is we’ll open as soon as possible. Realistically, January is kind of our goal.”

The food truck has been instrumental in the move.

“It’s funny, it has been very useful in moving some of this equipment and the supplies back and forth,” Chad Cliffe said. “We will need to sell it at some point and that money will go into the restaurant.”

Jessica will manage the front of the house when the restaurant opens, while Chad and Jake will run the kitchen.

I’d Eat There can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ideatthere or online at www.iettruck.com.

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