Expansion features new patio dining, traditional bar food favorites COPPERHEAD GRILLE
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
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.
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.
A mozzarella tower with marinara sauce at the Copperhead Grille in Bethlehem.