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The Snake Pit

The Snake Pit

Viljo and Autumn Basso breathe new life into The Snake Pit and make history shine By Jillian Chandler

Vilo and Autumn basso have been a mainstay in the North Idaho restaurant scene for close to two decades. The visionaries behind the beloved Syringa Japanese Café + Sushi Bar and The Bluebird - A Midtown Eatery, as well as former owners of The Garnet, White Pine and Monarch, 2024 marks an exciting new chapter in the couple’s culinary journey.

It was fall of 2023 when the two learned that the historic Snake Pit — Idaho state’s oldest restaurant, built in 1880 — was for sale. The Snake Pit has been in their rear-view mirror for the past decade, as they drove by the iconic restaurant frequently on their way to their property on the river. Though Viljo was excited to seize this opportunity, Autumn was a bit hesitant at first. “I resisted for a long time,” she laughs. “But I finally realized it was a great opportunity to be a part of this and put our spin on what we do. We wanted to make it shine again. And it was officially ours on March 1.”

After the purchase, the couple worked tirelessly during the spring months to make necessary upgrades, “sprucing it up” with deep cleaning, as well as additional little things here and there that needed attention. But the community can rest assured that when you walk in the doors, you will be treated to the same Snake Pit you’ve known and loved for years. “We are keeping it the same,” Autumn affirms. When it comes to the menu, there won’t be too many surprises, though Viljo has put his spin on some favorites as well as added new menu items. And those famous Rocky Mountain Oysters? They’re still serving those up, and better than ever. For those who don’t like change — and there has been a lot of change in North Idaho these past several years — the Bassos want to put your worries at ease when it comes to The Snake Pit and their newfound ownership of the space. The couple is dedicated to continuing to embrace its history while adding their own touch to it. “We don’t want to change over 100 years of history,” Autumn says. “We just want to showcase it and kind of bring it into the new age while keeping its history intact.”

Viljo and Autumn are grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be, and maintain, a part of Idaho’s history. “Honestly, I don’t really think it has fully hit us yet,” Autumn shares. “But talking to people, and seeing them share their excitement for us, and their excitement to come back to The Snake Pit, it inspires us to keep doing what we’re doing.” The Snake Pit held its re-grand opening in May. If you haven’t stopped in lately, Viljo and Autumn welcome you to be a part of the next chapter of The Snake Pits longstanding legacy. It was 2006 when Viljo and Autumn Basso introduced Syringa Japanese Café + Sushi Bar to the Coeur d’Alene community, quickly gaining a loyal following while earning an outstanding reputation for its authentic Japanese cuisine, including sushi, ramen, and other traditional dishes. Using only fresh high-quality ingredients and wonderful flavors in each dish they prepare, paired with a flair for originality and excellence, guests can taste the difference.

A decade later, they opened the doors to The Bluebird - A Midtown Eatery. Here customers are treated to this casual yet upscale neighborhood bistro-style restaurant with its elevated, rustic, recently updated interior; the menu inspired by the couple’s years of culinary travels and adventures. Seasonal as much as possible, the menu items change frequently with specials offered weekly.

Experience North Idaho hospitality at its best.


The Snake Pit 1480 Coeur d'Alene River Rd. Enaville, ID 208.682.3453 Syringa Japanese Café + Sushi Bar

1710 N. Fourth St. Coeur d’Alene, ID


The Bluebird - A Midtown Eatery

816 N. Fourth St. Coeur d’Alene, ID




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