Branching Out

A Coppin’s Thanksgiving

Today, Coppin’s Restaurant and Bar offered its first Thanksgiving buffet. Once a fashionable department store and more recently, the city building, the 106-year-old building on Madison Avenue and Seventh Street in Covington, Kentucky, opened on September 27 as Hotel Covington. What lies within is a stylish yet comfortable 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar.


Hotel entrance looking into the restaurant area

The menu was not super extensive but curated to reflect the chef’s affinity for locally sourced ingredients and thoughtful preparation.  The “cold” menu items included:

  • Locally curated cheese with traditional accompaniments
  • *Roasted cauliflower salad
  • Smoked salmon with Lil’s Bagel crisps, cream cheese
  • Fresh sliced fruit
  • *Broccolini salad
  • Classic Caesar salad crispy capers, parsley, citrus
  • *Brussels sprout slaw

(Items marked with * were my favorites.)


The “cold” buffet station

Cold menu items usually end up playing supporting roles to the hot food section but not so at Coppin’s. Each offering was properly seasoned, thoughtfully prepared and always looked fresh at the buffet table (the spacious bar top in this case). The chef’s attention showed – down to the toasted chick peas that gave the Brussels sprout slaw that unexpected “nutty” crunch, contrasting nicely with the pomegranate seeds and the rest of the green ingredients.


Brussels sprout slaw

The broccolini in the broccolini salad was perfectly cooked – done but still slightly crunchy – and popped with flavors. It’s been a while since I’ve tasted cherry tomatoes this flavorful; they added a briny richness and a hint of tang that completed this ensemble.


Broccolini salad

The hot foods included:

  • Carved Bowman Landis free range turkey gravy, cranberry chutney
  • *Prime Rib with au jus, horseradish sauce
  • Hot Traditional Stuffing
  • Whipped Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato Casserole Oat marshmallow streusel
  • Green Bean Gratin
  • *Roasted Salmon Tomato gravy, black eyed pea salad
  • *Fried Chicken with Collard greens
  • Cooked-to-order omelette station

(Items marked with * were my favorites.)


Carving station: turkey and prime rib; cooked-to-order omelette station

The desserts were down-to-earth and proudly showed off their Kentucky roots. There was a certain Fall theme of maple, pumpkin and apple in the selection:

  • *Bourbon pecan pie
  • Spiced sweet potato pie
  • Apple Streusel Pie
  • Cranberry Gingerbread
  • *Pumpkin Brownies
  • *Maple Cheesecake

(Items marked * were my favorites.)


Pumpkin brownie, cranberry gingerbread and maple cheesecake

It’s quite obvious quality and attention to detail mattered. The chef, Brendan Haren, often perused the dining room, sometimes with a cloth in hand to wipe any smudges off plated foods. As I talked to the staff, it became apparent the crew is informed and top-notch. For example, the omelette station cook was a young man who is on his way to Purdue University to earn his PhD in food science.

It was a pleasure to dine in the “jewel box,” a 1,400-square-foot space encased in glass reminiscent of a greenhouse. The space visually opens up to the outdoor dining space, complete with a sizeable fireplace, outdoor heaters and inviting furniture.


“Jewel box” dining area looking out into outdoor seating (with a fireplace)


Another point of view: Looking at the “jewel box” dining space from the outdoor seating area

I broke with tradition this year and went out to eat instead of cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving meal. I’m glad it was at Coppin’s – the warm, gracious and curated hospitality was palpable.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks to the hardworking crew for a memorable first.



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