The popular Barbacoa brand of restaurants will soon come to Eagle, with Coa Del Mar, set to open next spring. For owner Nikolai Castoro, the idea is a long time coming.
“We’ve been thinking about it for a while,” he said. “My father and I were thinking about it before he passed away two and a half years ago.”
Nikolai’s father Robert and mother Martine started the first Barbacoa in Southeast Boise in 2005 with chef Enrique Martinez. The restaurant, in a former Jakers building, quickly built a reputation for its high-end food, atmosphere, and drinks. It burned down in a 2010 fire and was rebuilt and opened a year later. Robert Castoro died in 2020.
Last year, Nikolai Castoro and Martinez opened Coa de Jima in Downtown Boise, an intimate spin-off of Barbacoa focused on an increased menu of Mexican-inspired offerings.
Now, another Coa will bloom.
“After we opened Coa de Jima last year, I met with the mayor of Eagle through a buddy who lives out there,” Castoro said. “They were telling us how much they needed Barbacoa out there.”
That put him back on track to pick up the project he first considered with his dad before his death.
“My father passed away and COVID hit and I had to stop to focus on Barbacoa and my family and go from there,” he said. “John Renison reached out and said the same lot we looked at before was still available.”
Castoro said Coa Del Mar will share similarities to both Barbacoa and Coa De Jima, but will take their concept in new directions.
“We’re keeping with that Latin style but a little more on the seafood side. We’re going to bring hot rocks and icetinis and steak options, but the focus is on ceviches and fish options. We’re working to get seafood flown in fresh daily from Hawaii.”
The new restaurant will go up along a pond off Riverside Dr. and Anacona, not too far from the Boise River. Castoro hopes to open Coa Del Mar next May.
“Our building is almost 10,000 square feet, including the patio. It’s a 1500 square foot patio above the water on the lake out there. When you’re on that patio you feel like you’re more on the water than Barbacoa. You’re right up next to it. All you see is water and landscape.”
The interior at Coa Del Mar will take cues from Barbacoa and Coa de Jima, but with a more modern twist. The building in Eagle will be a little more upscale on the exterior, a little more modern on the interior, but will keep with the similar antiquities and art as Barbacoa and Coa De Jima.
Barbacoa is known for its large glass antler chandelier, made of more than 3,000 pieces. Coa Del Mar will kick that up a notch. Or three.
“Filip Vogelpohl from Boise Art Glass is doing a centerpiece chandelier like we have at Barbacoa,” Castoro said. “It will be about three times the size. The restaurant is going to be — I don’t want to give too much away. It will have a sea anemone coral reef, with an octopus and fish swimming through it and you’ll look through it and see something different every time. it’s going to be amazing. we have probably three or four big art piece items. My mom with her oil paintings will have a bunch in there — I just don’t want to give too much away.”
Castoro said the new restaurant will employ 250 people – on par with the main Boise restaurant. With a challenging environment for restaurants, he hopes they stand apart.
“It’s tough, but if you have a will you have a way. We pay great for our staff and our employees. We pay more than anyone else in this area and we want to keep opening up jobs in this area.”
Even though Eagle’s mayor told Castoro his city needed a Barbacoa — he hopes folks don’t simply see it as another location for the original.
“My main goal is for people not to think we’re just doing another Barbacoa. It’s not another Barbacoa – we carry a lot of our success through, but they are different restaurants by the same people who brought you Barbacoa and Coa de Jim. I hope people will walk away saying that they had a great time. I just want people to come in and just… wow. All you want is for people to have a good time and have a good anniversary or birthday and create those memories.”
So after Barbacoa and Coa de Jima and Coa Del Mar — are there more Coa offshoots to come? “I can’t see myself stopping,” he said. I’m carrying my father’s legacy through. It’s what I love doing. We are pretty successful and bring a lot of joy to people.”