Local Flavor: Copper Penny Pub
“May your laugh, your love & your wine be plenty”
T he importance of family is ingrained in Irish culture. Wherever you go in Ireland, you’re sure to feel at home, and the Copper Penny Pub in downtown Hot Springs is no exception. Hospitality is served up just like their signature Irish stew: warm and comforting.
It comes as no surprise that owner Peggy Bodemann was raised in a very Irish-enriched culture. “Two of my brothers have Irish pubs in other parts of Arkansas,” she explains. When she purchased Lucky’s at the same location in November of last year, her goal was to renovate, and the Irish theme “kind of evolved” as a result of her family’s influence.
Lucky’s reopened as Copper Penny Pub on April 26 with a fresh, new look and reinvigorated menu. Although lacking Lucky’s popular pizza oven, “people have been very pleased with the food,” Bodemann said.
The dishes are distinctly Irish, even if not in origin. The pub’s popular dessert Irish Tiramisu is just one of their concoctions, topping the dessert with Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey. “We took something Italian and made it Irish – we made it unique,” Bodemann said.
“My favorite is the portabella burger,” she said, which consists of a portabello mushroom marinated and grilled with charred peppers, grilled onions and topped with cheese and a special garlic truffle aioli sauce made in house.
A fan favorite has proven to be the hellfire burger, which continues to test even the most profound spice lovers. The patty is made with jalapeños and green peppers already tucked into the meat. It is then topped with a jalapeño cheese, more jalapeño peppers, and served on a jalapeño bun made fresh from Hot Springs’ own Ambrosia Bakery.
The menu was created in conjunction with Bodemann’s friend Susanna Wright. “We wanted burgers to be the foundation, but also make the menu more Irish in nature,” she said of creating the expansive spread. “We took items and gave them an Irish flair to make them more interesting.”
Bodemann and Wright have plans to expand the menu in the near future to include more traditional Irish dishes such as Shepard’s Pie, bread pudding and fish and chips. “Every Irish pub should have fish and chips,” she said.
Jeremy Harrison, the pub’s kitchen manager, keeps the quality of the food in check on a daily basis. With seven line cooks under him and almost a decade of experience in the industry to back him up, it’s Harrison’s job to ensure to recipes Bodemann and Wright established are upheld to the highest standards. “Most panic when it gets busy but I like that,” he said. “I keep it calm.” With a warm meal on the table, a cold beer in your hands and an Irish folk band playing in the background, diners are sure to experience the finest Irish hospitality this side of the Atlantic. Welcome home.
Peggy Bodemann Jeremy Harrison