New Copper House Restaurant on Franklin St. in Evansville is Gold
When bartender Casey Dellafosse told us that she'd worked at several local establishments but serving at Copper House on Franklin Street in Evansville has been her favorite because every detail from the food and drinks to the decor is intentional, she hit the nail on the head.
Welcome to Copper House
When my crew and I first entered Copper House, I was immediately greeted by Andrew Cutini, the front-of-the-house manager. He was kind and welcoming and had our table ready with a spectacular view of the restaurant's custom artwork: a mural by local artist Michael Smith from Orange Moon, Jefferson the Giraffe - a lifesize wire and yarn sculpture made by Matt Perez, and a copper shingle installation piece by local metal artist Cory Lamb.
Care for a Cocktail?
We started off with adult beverages from the bar. The cocktail menu was delightful. I love trying out-of-the-norm concoctions when I visit new eateries. In this instance, I let Casey choose my fate and she picked the perfectly refreshing, summery Lavender Lemon Drop for me. Crisp, cool, refreshing, and worth every cent (if you know what I mean.) The dried lavender buds that sprinkled the top made it both appealing to the eye and added just the right amount of floral notes. Lavender flavor can get overpowering fast but this drink was honestly my favorite part of our experience.
One of my dining companions, Ryan O'bryan from 99.5 WKDQ chose an Old Fashioned. He let me try one of the deep maroon luxardo cherries and they were less sweet but so much richer than a typical maraschino cherry.
Next came our appetizers. We sampled the Midwest Charcuterie Plate, Spicy Curry Red Lentil Dip, and Goat Cheese Bites.
The charcuterie plate was a burst of color and freshness. Owner Charisa Perkins told us that the plate features fresh cured meats from Dewig meats, cheeses, bread, and an interesting array of heirloom vegetables.
Spicy Curry Red Lentil Dip
The red lentil dip was light and a great choice for someone looking for a healthier appetizer that doesn't skimp on flavor. And the bread that's served with it really piqued my interest. It was like an herbed flattened biscuit and it was delicious. I totally snagged some of the warm bacon jam from the charcuterie board and slathered it on there. My southern soul sang.
Goat Cheese Bites
My second favorite sample of the day was the goat cheese bites. The herbed goat cheese is rolled in a crispy layer and deep-fried. It's served with blackberry sauce. My eyes might have rolled back in my head. I mean it's warm, creamy, tangy, and then the sweetness of the blackberry jam just really sets it all off. We might have arm-wrestled for the last one. I won. If you are a fan of goat cheese, it's a must on your foodie bucket list.
After this Southern Girl's Heart
Next Charisa brought out four of their most popular dishes: If Pigs Could Fly, Bacon Pimento Cheese Burger, Apricot Salmon, and Spicy Shrimp & Grits.
We started our sampling with the apricot salmon. Apricot is one of my favorite flavors. There used to be a restaurant in town that served apricot tea and I couldn't get enough of it so when I heard that apricot was a featured flavor, I was excited to try it. The salmon was very tender and had a beautiful coral color which meant it was fresh. The apricot glaze added a nice clean flavor to the fish. It wasn't overpowering - just a nice compliment. The fish is served over pearled couscous with haricot vert & red onion. The couscous had a nice lemony flavor that also complimented the fish without being overpowering. Andrew told me that it was easily the best-selling dish at Copper House. I can see why.
Creole Shrimp & Grits
Next up, I enjoyed the shrimp and grits. My favorite entree that we tried but then again, I'm from the South. Perfectly cooked spicy shrimp accompanied creamy grits. Topped with a creole sauce and a fried egg, the classic Southern dish stole this New Orleans gal's heart. Ryan told us that he's not usually a fan of grits but he changed his tune yesterday. And we might have had to hold Kat from 103 GBF back from just diving in and swimming.
If Pigs Could Fly
If Pigs Could Fly was our next order of business. Fried pork belly tossed in an Asian glaze, served as tacos with slaw, wontons, & wasabi cream sauce, Charisa told us that she named the dish because the pork belly is fried like chicken wings. Sweet, tender, and a break from the norm - we all swooned over the pigs. Little surprises were sprinkled in every bite. Kat called them killer and Ryan said it was a toss-up between the shrimp and grits (again, not a fan of grits) and the tacos. I couldn't agree more.
Bacon Pimento Cheese Burger
We finished with the Bacon Pimento Cheese Burger. Classic American fare with a twist. The meat was chargrilled and had those nice crispy edges. The bacon is house-smoked and nice and thick. Now let's talk about the pimento cheese. I am not a fan of the P-Cheese. But golly, I couldn't not love this burger. All the flavors just melded together so smoothly.
The Building is a Work of Art
With full bellies, Charisa told us the backstory of how the Copper House came to be. Located in the former Tin Man Brewery, Charisa was no stranger to the building. After attending culinary school in Louisville, KY, she started her career at The Tin Man working her way up to kitchen manager. After cutting her teeth at various other restaurants in the area, she decided that she wanted to open her own place but she has made every corner of the building her own.
She started with the name. In its infancy, the building was the Franklin Street Boarding House & Saloon. She wanted to bring back an original part of the name and with help from her mom and grandmother, Copper House was born.
The Garden Room
Where the brewery had been, you'll find the Garden Room. Beautiful trees and plants adorn the room that overlooks the kitchen. Aromas of smoking bacon engulf the room. She told us that the room is available to rent but they mostly use it for overflow seating at this time.
There are also rooms upstairs for small meetings or gatherings, and another area has two connected rooms with a small bar and outdoor patio that's available to rent which can accommodate about 85 people or fewer if you want to convert one room into a dance floor area.
A Sweet Goodbye
We were about to leave when Andrew let us know that he boxed up two desserts for us to try at home - You Need this Cheesecake and Brown Sugar Cake. My daughter and I had our own little taste test last night and the cheesecake was topped with edible flowers from Beautiful Edibles Grow in Newburgh. The floral notes were again complimentary - not overwhelming and the cheesecake was fresh and delightful. My daughter was a fan. A big fan. She ate the whole thing. The brown sugar cake though - yes, please. It was topped with a sweet and salty caramel icing. Totally unexpected. Total perfection.
Copper House was a beautiful culinary experience from top to bottom, front to back. Perfect for weekend brunch, date night, work lunch, or just because you love good - no great food!
See the entire menu and more at thecopper.house.