I've passed the Copper Kettle a hundred times and never really thought of it as a restaurant where I'd think of going. There's no information on it; I didn't really know what to think of it. I passed it yesterday on my way back from Li'l Reds, and I decided that I was going to pull the trigger and go.
They have some metered parking out front, but there's free parking in the rear. If you thought the front of the place was uninspiring; the rear entrance beats it with a stick.
No problem getting a spot. Apparently they have direct TV, but I didn't see any TVs in the place. If there was ever a restaurant with an unfitting name, it has to be the Copper Kettle. There's nothing shiny or bright about the place; it's as dreary a restaurant as there is in town.
I'm guessing that it's about the same as it was 25 years go.
This is the first place I can remember that didn't initially offer me a menu. "Do you know what you want?". No, have you ever seen me before? How do I know what's on the menu? Even though the place is laid out like a restaurant (sort of), the menu is more dinerish. They serve eggs all day, sandwiches, burgers, melts and salads. I ordered an iced tea and tried to figure out what I would feel comfortable ordering here. When I got there at 1:30pm, there was one ancient couple at a table across the room, and 3 hovering employees that i'm guessing have worked there since they were a lot younger. They had pastrami and corned beef, but I was wondering how much of it they sell and whether or not it would be fresh. So I ordered a steak sandwich ($5.95), figuring I could pick at it and find something good. I subbed out cole slaw for the fries.
A few minutes later my server came over and told me that they couldn't make a steak sandwich. What was interesting is that their specials were a NY Strip and a Greek Steak Sandwich, so what were they out of, cheese? It gave me a bad feeling about ordering any other kind of meat, so I caved and ordered breakfast. I figured it was safer than getting some old roast beef.
I could hear stuff sizzling in the kitchen; it must have been for me because I was still the only one there who wasn't already eating. At this point I realized that I had iced tea, which doesn't really go with eggs. But I decided not to ask for coffee. When they dropped them off I was pleased with the portion.
wow, 3 decent sized sausages, just like the old days. The eggs weren't perfect, but the potatoes were quite good; and fresh. The toast wasn't the rye that I'd ordered, but the butter was lathered on thick, which is always a plus. Although I've never been a fan of wheat bread.
While I was eating 2 guys in their 50s came in, and neither was offered a menu. They seemed like they might have been coming here for 20 years. I have a feeling that most of the "crowd" here are like that; long time customers that keep the place open even though nobody who has moved here in the last 10 years have ever been in the place.
$8.18. The server commented on my AMEX "You don't see these much anymore". Ok, well maybe because you have the same 20 customers that you've had for 25 years? They took the card, but they don't have restaurant checks where you can leave a tip, so I had to tell the guy how much I was leaving.
As I was paying my check I saw a sandwich delivered to one of the other tables that came in. A big sandwich on a plate overflowing with fries.
The Copper Kettle is the opposite of Tap 42 which is just down the road. Tap 42 is shiny and new, has the "In" crowd, high prices, small portions and forced recipes; while the Copper Kettle is old and crusty, has no crowd, low prices, big portions of plain ole grub, and a guy cooking who's probably been flipping burgers and making tuna melts since before any of us can remember. I won't ever go to the Copper Kettle again, but if it was a little nicer it probably wouldn't be a bad place to grab some grub at a good price.