Ex­pan­sion fea­tures new pa­tio din­ing, tra­di­tional bar food fa­vorites COPPERHEAD GRILLE

The Morning Call - - RESTAURANT REVIEW - By Glenn Koehler

Founded in 2002, the Copperhead Grille has long been a part of the Lehigh Val­ley’s sports bar scene, see­ing oth­ers come and go in its 17 years at its Cen­ter Val­ley lo­ca­tion. In 2007, own­ers Michael L. Don­tas and Michael P. Don­tas ex­panded to a sec­ond lo­ca­tion in Al­len­town, and re­cently ad­justed their Cen­ter Val­ley spot, by adding a mas­sive out­door pa­tio.

In ad­di­tion, the restau­rant has ex­panded its park­ing, ac­com­mo­dat­ing more pa­trons on busier nights when sports fans pack the pub for foot­ball games and UFC fights.

There are good rea­sons for Copperhead’s longevity, and one of them is the food.

Yes, there are the wings in­clud­ing chimichurr­i venom and brown but­ter buf­falo sauces.

But there’s so much more than your typ­i­cal sports bar fare.

The in­flu­ences span from Thai chili co­conut shrimp, Ca­jun jam­bal­aya, Mary­land­style crab cakes and Caribbean tuna. There’s a host of dif­fer­ent menu items that ap­peal to a broad cus­tomer base.

There are sal­ads, like the chorizo taco salad, and veg­e­tar­ian op­tions like the black bean burger. Also in­trigu­ing were the sea­sonal fea­tures, with items like cheeses­teak em­panadas, Viet­namese pho and fried chicken po’ boys — all sound very ap­pe­tiz­ing.

Set­ting and dé­cor: As you might imag­ine, there are tele­vi­sions ev­ery­where you turn at Copperhead. 5737 Route 378, Beth­le­hem 610-282-4600, cop­per­head­grille.com

11 a.m.-12 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.

Ap­pe­tiz­ers: $6.99-$12.99; en­trees: $11.99-$26.99; soup: $4.99-$7.99; sides: $3.99-$5.99; sand­wiches/burg­ers: $10.99-$15.99; sal­ads: $11.99-$21.99; desserts: $6-$9 Yes

Yes

From the bar with backed stools sur­round­ing it to the nu­mer­ous booths in the spa­cious in­te­rior, you’ll never miss a sec­ond of any game.

There are large pro­jec­tion screens broad­cast­ing ma­jor events, and smaller tele­vi­sions built into the walls in the men’s room.

Mu­sic and sports mem­o­ra­bilia pep­per the walls, from DeSales Univer­sity pen­nants to Phillies jer­seys. The warm­toned in­te­rior gives off a cozy feel.

Out­side, where the new pa­tio is now open, it’s just as nice.

Nine TVs are scat­tered through­out the din­ing area, where I sat on a blus­tery fall af­ter­noon to grab a pint and have lunch.

Copperhead has done a fan­tas­tic job with the new ad­di­tion — fea­tur­ing a full bar, sev­eral ta­bles and large out­door heaters that will warm the air in the cooler days ahead.

Food: I started my lunch with the seared tuna guac ($11.99) ap­pe­tizer, which came with a large, lay­ered mound of fresh gua­camole un­der­neath a fairly large help­ing of raw tuna — mar­i­nated in soy sauce and doused with se­same seeds.

On top was a mix­ture of pico de gallo and pineap­ple salsa, with a spicy sriracha wasabi dress­ing and a small pile of arugula. There were many fla­vors in this dish, but the mix­ture of sweet and sa­vory, hot and crunchy, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween worked to­gether sur­pris­ingly well. Even the tor­tilla chips were nicely sea­soned, and the por­tions were fit­ting — leav­ing me sat­is­fied, but still hun­gry for my main course.

For that I had Copperhead’s Yuengling-bat­tered fish and chips ($16.99). This be­he­moth en­trée came with three huge pieces of bat­tered/fried wild­caught had­dock served brown and ex­tremely crispy on the out­side with steam­ing hot, flaky meat on the in­side.

A light dust­ing of Old Bay sea­son­ing was per­fect and added a lit­tle salt and fla­vor to an al­ready stel­lar taste. It’s usu­ally served with fries, but I switched things up with roasted corn on the cob, which also came with a sprin­kling of Old Bay, pep­per and salt — a de­lec­ta­ble and sim­ple side that went nicely with the fish.

I also or­dered the venom mac tots (ex­tra $1.99 for the sub­sti­tu­tion), which came with six golden brown large tater tots that cir­cled a mix­ture of ched­dar cheese sauce, hot venom sauce, ba­con and pars­ley.

They were driz­zled with ranch dress­ing, and I dipped them into the spicy, salty mix­ture in the cen­ter of the plat­ter. It was spec­tac­u­lar.

Copperhead took some of the best things in life (ba­con, cheese, and hot sauce) and com­bined them into an ab­so­lutely ex­cel­lent side that I’ll surely be or­der­ing again in the fu­ture.

Ser­vice: Due to the un­sea­son­able warm tem­per­a­ture, I was one of only a few peo­ple who ven­tured out­side. My wel­com­ing bar­tender served and chat­ted with me through­out my meal, al­low­ing for a re­lax­ing af­ter­noon lunch. The food was pre­pared quickly, and I had no is­sues through­out my ex­pe­ri­ence.

The bot­tom line: Copperhead Grille con­tin­ues to re­new and im­prove — not just its menu items, but the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence . I highly rec­om­mend stop­ping by on fall af­ter­noons to en­joy the new pa­tio, grab some food and to en­joy some drinks outdoors while the weather al­lows.

Lunch for one with a beer and a good deal of left­overs to­taled $36.22.

Restau­rant re­viewer, Glenn Koehler, is a Morn­ing Call con­trib­u­tor.

RICK KINTZEL/THE MORN­ING CALL

Mike Don­tas, co-owner and ex­ec­u­tive chef, shows off a Brazil­ian beef dish served medium rare with cop­per spice, ba­con, Brus­sels sprouts and red­skin mashed pota­toes at the Copperhead Grille in Beth­le­hem.

RICK KINTZEL/THE MORN­ING CALL

A moz­zarella tower with mari­nara sauce at the Copperhead Grille in Beth­le­hem.

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