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The Stagecoach Inn has a rich history all its own, fondly recalled in the memories of its many loyal patrons. 

An Unrivaled
Dining Experience Since 1959

Founder Willie Schrier endeavored to create an unrivaled dining experience in the Boise area; and he succeeded in every way, leading to the Stagecoach Inn’s treasured, landmark status.

The Business

Prior to opening the Stagecoach Inn, Willie had previous experience in the hospitality business, first as part-owner of a bar in Emmett, Idaho; then in the late 1940’s he opened “Willie’s Say When” lounge in Garden City. From 1953-1958, Willie owned and operated the “Torch”, where he created an Idaho original: Finger Steaks. Willie left his finger steaks recipe there with Milo, promising never to compete with the Torch by serving finger steaks at his soon-to-be “Stagecoach Inn”. Jumbo Prawns became Willie’s new specialty, along with fine steaks, lobster, and prime rib.

The Stagecoach Inn continued to prosper, thanks to great food and excellent service, Willie’s intuition and foresight, and smart business practices. Always a popular place to go –and frequently crowded– it was sometimes suggested that Willie should add-on or enlarge the space. He declined, however, insisting that it was better to see his patrons “rub elbows”, become familiar, and get to know one another –reinforcing the restaurant’s sense of friendliness and its comfortable atmosphere.

After much success, in later years Willie and Eileen began to look at retirement. Allowing themselves to take more vacation time, they enjoyed traveling throughout Idaho in their camper, eventually purchasing a cabin in Lowman, Idaho, in 1980. Knowing their daughters, Mary and Marian, were in charge and fully capable of running the restaurant, the elder Schriers finally decided to retire and make the Lowman cabin their permanent residence.

From that time until 2007, Mary and Marian continued to run the business and maintain its success. Although in their last years of ownership, and partly due to Marian’s health issues, the sisters decided it was now their turn to retire. The Stagecoach Inn was then sold and continued under new ownership until 2014. Today, it is our goal to strengthen and restore the family values that had become such a strong part of the business, and to continue in the Stagecoach Inn’s tradition of high-quality food and incomparable service.

The Building

Originally constructed in the 1940’s, the all-brick building featured curved, glass block windows in the front corners (later filled in during the brief time that Garden City permitted gambling in the town). When Willie Schrier purchased the property and began to build on his dream in the late ’50’s, the abandoned site had previously been used for social gatherings, as a gambling casino and then subsequently a dance hall. (During our renovation, we discovered a brick wall in the waiting area, covered with several layers of wood paneling. One section had been painted with lovely silver trees, designed –we presume– as a romantic backdrop during the dance hall years.)

The Family

According to Mary Thomas (Willie & Eileen’s daughter), other family members also played an important part in the restaurant’s success: Cousin Nettie, who started as a prep cook, later took over the hostess station and bookkeeping responsibilities; brothers Nick and Marc served during high school before moving on to college, marriage, and military service. Nettie’s son, JB, also earned summer allowance money as a young boy by maintaining the grounds and doing prep work in the kitchen.

Like family, bartenders Amos Cannon, Bill Keyes, and Bob Chauvin, worked throughout the 1970’s, always dressed in freshly pressed, white button-down dress shirts, rolling up their sleeves to wash each glass by hand. Steve Carper managed the bar from the early ’80’s through 2006; and Rod Kautz served as luncheon chef and night broiler from 1979-2013. (Most recently, both Steve and Rod have helped in their spare time to train today’s capable restaurant staff.)

Stories are told of Tommy, hired as dishwasher on Day 1 in 1959. Willie loved him like a son, often crossing 32nd Street to fetch Tommy from “The Pink Elephant” (where he’d likely have one-too-many), bringing him back to the ‘Coach and his position in the kitchen. Then one day, much later, Tommy vowed to “give it up totally”, staying dry and staying on at the Stagecoach the rest of his working years, as night clean-up and security, until 2003.

As a family business, most everyone who worked at the Stagecoach would become part of the family. In fact, when Marian’s health began to suffer, it was not only her sister Mary but other employees who rushed to her aid. Unfortunately, after years of struggling Marian eventually passed, leaving behind her very vivacious twin. To this day, Mary has maintained an active interest in seeing the Stagecoach Inn brought back to life, donating photos, art and memorabilia, as well as a wealth of vivid memories, and having greatly impacted the essence of the Stagecoach Inn that we all enjoy today.

Pre Stagecoach

Many have asked about the Schriers’ passion for equestrian activities. Willie rode horseback as a jockey from 1938 to 1941, and was well-known on California race tracks. Prior to Army service, Willie also served on the Coast Guard’s mounted beach patrol in Oregon. Shortly thereafter he was one of very few participating in a secret U.S. mission known as “SACO” (Sino-American Cooperation Organization), in which Americans and Chinese worked together in Japanese-held areas. Willie’s role was as instructor to the Chinese, called upon to impart his knowledge of horses, horsemanship, and Cavalry tactics to a group of Chinese Warrant Officers being primed for China’s Secret Police.

After returning from service overseas, Willie traveled to Idaho with one of his buddies from the SACO mission, Al Allen, who had wed a young Boise gal, Elaine Talboy. Drawn to her beauty, personality, and their shared interest in horses and riding, the friend explained to a delighted Willie that “there’s another one just like her!” So, within a short time Willie made twin sister Eileen his bride and Boise his new home. They began their family with two sons, Nick and Marc, followed by the twins Mary & Marian. Struggling to make ends meet, Willie learned the restaurant business while “the mothers”, Elaine & Eileen, contributed financially by starting a photo-retouching service, and later by working weekends prepping and cleaning the restaurant. Elaine also attracted restaurant guests with her Saturday menu offering, “Grandma’s Biscuits & Sausage Gravy Special”.