history-1 Southside Grill

Welcomes You to Share in a Bit of History

Southside Grill welcomes you to share in a bit of history… Well quite a bit when you realize how long it’s been around. You see, for those of you new to our site, we began in 1978 as a small business in a log building serving up Mexican food to folks who had never had it before in our small Idaho community.

At the time, there was so little traffic out front even the sheep would come by in herds. No traffic lights were in town, no street lamps or sidewalks as half of town was like ours, with dirt roads.

Enough about the old days – what we have today is a move to offer so much more than we did when we were the only spot for Mexican food.

As so many restaurants now have tacos and nachos we decided to let our chefs add some of their specialties to the menu and cut out the amount of fried food our menu required.

melindaNow, with using all fresh, and local when available, our salads have upped the game with grains and homemade dressings. All of our steaks are hand carved and trimmed of fat and have earned a great reputation. We strive to come up with new dishes daily for specials and our soups and desserts are seasonal favorites.

Our catering division, All Events Catering, has grown rapidly in the last few years and has enabled us to add unique new flavors to our menus also, as we always make enough for customers to sample.

Enough can’t be said about our family of employees, one here since we opened, but now semi-retired, is Margaret Odom. We try to keep her around just for her happy face, but hands down, she makes the best tamales ever! Many of our other employees have been part of our company for over 10 yr. and all strive to be the best they can and work together as a team to take care of customers.

Last, but most importantly are you, the loyal customers, who have supported us through all of our changes in these last 35 years. Many of you have sent your kids to us for basic jobs such as bussing tables or washing dishes to give them experience as they went on to college; now your kids are bringing theirs in to do the same. We have grown with you, as you have grown with us and appreciate the part of our business that offered this opportunity.

No matter what changes lay ahead, we will always treat you well, respect your needs and be your friends.

We will always be “Si Bueno!”

Our culinary best,

The Nielsens and all of the crew
Si Bueno Inc.
Southside Grill, Kitchen and Cocktails
All Events Catering by Melinda


Long history….

history-5Now for those who really want to go back in time… Enjoy the read and please feel free to send us your memories and stories as we love to hear from you.

Si Bueno in Spanish means “yes good” and is tied to a personal experience that the Nielsen’s shared while Rod was an air tanker pilot prior to coming to McCall.

Traveling between Wyoming, Alaska and Arizona was normal for pilots and families. While in Arizona one season, another pilot whom they spent many hours with, used the phrase “si bueno” on most things he liked including most every woman he’d spot on the street. Melinda would tease him for using it so much and promised to name her future restaurant “Si Bueno.”

It had been Melinda’s dream to have a restaurant since before she met Rod; finally, getting to McCall and finding the opportunity to do so after only a year, meant that it indeed was a good thing. Hence the name “Si Bueno” became the choice for the new business. Our friend came to McCall a few years later and saw the name; he just smiled and remembered all the good times we had together. We lost our friend, but the name has stuck along with many great memories for us and now for many of our customers who have grown along with us.

history-4Since its conception in 1978, Si Bueno Inc. has been a growing business. June 23, 1978 marked the opening of the restaurant in a small log structure with seating for 50 and a beer and wine license. The new Village Square was a planned commercial complex and ours was the first building on the West side with all vacant land surrounding it and a dirt road out in front. The airport across the street had only 2 operators and 3 small hangars. Since that time it has developed into a full flight service operation where corporate jets have become part of the customer base for the business with their catering needs. Village Square continued to grow with the lease to Si Bueno as the anchor business drawing investors.

Success was immediate as there were only 11 other eateries in the area and none featuring Mexican fare. There were no c-stores as this was not a concept yet, nor were grocery stores offering carry-out food options. With 5 employees and a short menu the locals soon began making it a favorite dining spot.

During the first year of operation we purchased the property and building and made plans to expand. The building proved to be too small and additions were planned including an office and sun deck for outdoor dining. At this time the purchase of a second lot took place with a small log building becoming the corporate headquarters. A deck was added to the South side of the building where we began to develop a happy hour crowd after work.

history-2After a few more years it appeared to make sense to utilize the deck for dining and add a patio featuring landscaped bench seating arrangements, a covered roof, large sliding windows to open in the summer months and wood stove for winter coziness. This design was completed by Marc and Judy DeReus of McCall Design and Planning in 1983.

In 1989 the constant search for a rare liquor license resulted with the purchase of a license from a closed business. This was the “Chicken Roost” license which was the first license issued in the city and still reads number 1 on its permit today.

In 1990 the office on the second lot was removed and an addition was completed to include the new cantina, basement and office on the upper floor. At this time the decision was made to convert the existing garden patio into dining and offer the Cantina as a waiting area and build up the bar side of the business.

The bar became named “Rodrigo’s Cantina” after a long contest asking for ideas, with the winner being a Boise television celebrity and friend, Tom Scott. Building up a local clientele took a few years as most people had associated us with beer and wine service. Now after all the years “Rodrigo’s Cantina” is popular with young and old alike.

history-7In the late 1990’s, many customers were requesting more offerings, diets were changing and competition proved the need to update the business. In 2000 the facility was closed for 2 mos. while remodeling. McCall Design revamped the design of the entry and tied the building additions into one coercive design. New booths were designed for 2 of the dining areas and all new carpet, and unique wall colorings and treatments were incorporated to tie the interior design together with the help of a local decorator.

Along with the physical changes, major changes were made to menu offerings. After replacing some outdated equipment and looking at how to use equipment more efficiently, new items were introduced and best sellers were prepared differently. Grilled entrees, steaks and seafood offerings now filled the menu pages.


history-8With the changes came the new name “Si Bueno Southside Grill and Cantina” highlighting the new grill menu and also the location as being on the South side of McCall.

Since that time we have been building up the reputation of not only a Mexican restaurant with a lively cantina, but as a casual dining house offering one of the best steaks, seafood, chicken and ribs too. We’ve learned to only offer high quality in our foods, excellent service and listen to what the customers want.

In spring of 2013, the theme of the restaurant took on Aviation, as this had been the intention of the Nielsen’s when they first opened, but had never had time to do. With the help of Studio 616’s Meg Henderson, the atmosphere transformed into a unique blend of aviation themed textures and colors mixed with some of Melinda’s Mexican décor collected over the years.

Along with the theme in the front of the house was the challenge to offer even more variety to the menu. With the expertise of Mary Clemmer and Melinda teaming up a new menu took flight that is as unique as the décor.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about us and now are hungry to try us out either for the first time or re-discover us as an old friend.

The Nielsens and all of the crew
Si Bueno Inc.
Southside Grill, Kitchen and Cocktails
All Events Catering by Melinda