Sun Valley native Deida Brown Runswick and husband Duane Runswick took over ownership of Mama Inez & The Bank Bar in Bellevue yesterday, March 1.
"It closed about 10:30 a.m. this morning," Duane Runswick said. "We are really excited."
The pair purchased the restaurant, a valley favorite celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, from Danette Fisher, widow of Mark Fisher, who died in a car accident on June 3, 2006.
"We didn't want to see Mama Inez go away, so we jumped on the opportunity to keep it going," Runswick said. "My father-in-law, Rick Brown, and Mark were pretty good friends. We want to keep his (Mark's) spirit alive and all the great food at Mama Inez."
Since the purchase included all of the restaurant's signature Mexican recipes, Runswick, owner of Feast Catering and a former sous-chef at Felix's in Ketchum, as well as a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, said he plans to keep the menu intact, but will put his personal stamp on the food.
"It's going to be business as usual. We don't want to alienate anyone, but we will add our own flavor. We will run some items as specials and see how they do," Runswick said. Mama Inez will continue to offer beer and wine, and Runswick thinks one of the only changes will be extended operating hours.
"We want to be able to accommodate anyone who walks in the door," he said.
Runswick said the staff was given the opportunity to stay on, and many will continue to work at Mama's, including Rodolfo, the renowned butcher.
The restaurant will close for at least 10 days while crews freshen up the place, installing new televisions, cleaning, doing some building maintenance and refurbishing upstairs apartments, which will be rented out for office space.
The Runswicks, who live in Hailey and have an 11-month-old daughter, Skylar, hope to have Mama Inez back in action in the next couple of weeks and plan to hold a grand re-opening sometime in April.
"The public should just keep checking back to see when we're open," Runswick said.