UPDATE: Chiz’s Cougar Cave in St. Anthony to close and transition to sauce vendor
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ST. ANTHONY — After nearly a half-century in operation, one of St. Anthony’s most popular diners will be shutting its doors.
Owners Glenda and Scott Kamachi announced the closure of Chiz’s Cougar Cave on Facebook this weekend.
“After 48 years of working at and running Chiz’s, Scott has decided to retire from food service (and) we have sold the restaurant and dressing production,” the couple announced on Facebook.
The restaurant has been purchased by Esteban’s Salsa, a Rexburg vendor, run by Marc Sunderland and Stephen Smith. They made the decision to close the restaurant, but will continue to produce and build on Chiz’s brand of sauces and dressings. As part of the purchase, Esteban’s will take on the restaurant’s name.
“Chiz’s has always been a great brand here, but our company was built to become something you would see in grocery stores … that’s our focus and when we looked at Chiz’s we ultimately decided we couldn’t maintain the restaurant while promoting and expanding the sauces line,” Sunderland said.
The restaurant will close March 12 to give people enough time to cash in or use gift cards.
Sunderland said Esteban’s was attracted to Chiz’s because of its high-quality sauces and its large local following.
“The recipe is not going to change. We want to make it more available than it is today,” Sunderland said. “Our goal is to get a national vendor and get into national grocery stores. Our vision is to have this available in all major grocery stores. First we’ll focus on southeastern Idaho and then grow from there.”
The new Chiz’s brand will not have a store front but will be available online, and eventually in local stores, Sunderland told EastIdahoNews.com.
“We’re so grateful to the Kamachis for what they’ve done here,” he said. “They have such a strong market brand … and we love what they’ve created over the last 30 years.”