Westside Drive-In: A mighty menu and a tasty twist on famous potatoes

Family-run Boise business focuses on quality, achieves iconic status.
russet potato ice cream with whipped cream and cocoa powder

Idaho is famous for potatoes and one of our Boise clients is locally famous for how they prepare those potatoes, or rather, a delicious lookalike. We’re talking about the 1950s-style Westside Drive-In and their ice cream potato. You might think of it as a banana split, Idaho style. But that russet is really ice cream with artfully applied cocoa powder, whipped cream and cookie sprinkles.

If an ice cream potato is not your style, the Westside Drive-In’s two locations also serve their actual one-pound spuds with traditional toppings like butter, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese and chives. And if that earlier mention got you thinking about it, you can get a banana split there as well.

Diners can choose from a variety of burgers, hot dogs, specialty sandwiches, salads, soups and finger foods, as well as homestyle meals such as lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf with mashers, and beef stroganoff. On Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant serves 10- and 20-ounce cuts of prime rib that customers rave about. Westside Drive-In has a kids’ menu and a long beverage list with classics like the Arnold Palmer, Roy Rogers, creamsicle and root beer float. They even have a pet menu and provide free dog biscuits and cat treats.

The genius behind the ice cream potato and other house-crafted items is Chef Lou. He graduated from the American Culinary Federation apprenticeship program in 1984, and worked in several high-end restaurants before purchasing the original 1957 Westside Drive-In on State Street with his father-in-law in 1994. They expanded and elevated the menu, focusing on house-made soups and sauces, roasting their own meats and baking breads for the restaurant. In 2009, the drive-in was featured on a popular television program. The restaurant’s popularity grew, so Lou opened another location—also with a 1950s vibe—on Park Center Blvd. in 2012, and in 2015 began banking with us! The TV program returned and filmed another episode at the new location that aired in 2023.

Today, the Park Center Westside Drive-In is owned and operated by Josh, the son of Chef Lou and his wife, while their daughter Emily is the bookkeeper and administrative assistant for both restaurants. The two locations are open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. To see the menu and learn more about the drive-ins and Chef Lou, visit the Westside Drive-In website.