The exposed brick, concrete floors and repurposed wood tables are all part of the aesthetic, bartender Zack Emonds says of the newly opened Coppersmith restaurant.
“We are about social, global and handcrafted – that’s our mission,” he said.
Coppersmith, located on 3rd Street in Southie, manages a cozy feel despite the sprawling layout, large tables and a bar that wraps around an outdoor patio. Nestled into the industrial district, the new eatery would be easily missed by those who weren’t looking for it, but its deliberate decor creates the rustic feeling that matches what Executive Chef Chris Henry was shooting for.
“We wanted to bring a restaurant to Southie that we felt the neighborhood was missing,” Henry said. “We’re still figuring out what the neighborhood wants us to be. Our goal is to be agile enough to be what we need for the community.”
For now, that includes creating old favorites with slight adjustments to turn comfort food into a noteworthy dining experience. The current menu, launched with the restaurant just last week, includes a Vermont cheddar grilled cheese, grilled naan with curried oyster and a Cuban sandwich that trades the traditional ham for thinly sliced duck. However, that’s all subject to change.
“We aren’t going to say ‘I’m Chris Henry and this is my food and that’s how it’s going to be,’” Henry said. “We want to look at what’s selling, what’s not and make people happy.”
These main dishes are complemented by off-the-wall appetizers with flavor combinations such as Canary melon topped with mint leaves and ham, skewers of crispy pork belly with watermelon and falafel balls on a bed of hummus topped with a generous pile of bean sprouts.
“All of our food is handcrafted, farm to table,” Emonds said.
This mindset is reflected in the vibe of the restaurant, from the high ceilings and skylight to the indoor food trucks that provide diners a glimpse into the kitchen. While the back of the trucks open into a full-sized, industrial kitchen where Henry’s dishes are prepared, the kitchens in the trucks are fully operational and will be used to produce complementary dishes such as global street food and casual sandwiches.
The truck’s walk-up windows face the main dining room, which opens to the outside through industrial garage doors.
“The food trucks are used vehicles, even the winnebago on the roof is from the 1950s,” Emonds said. “The wood on the bar is an Indian wood that has been cut down – it’s all been repurposed.”
By Mary Whitfill, editor-in-chief
The main dining room seats 88, and a 75-person bar serves both indoor and outdoor guests. A patio, located on the ground floor, is open to the street, and guests can also take advantage of a roof deck that seats 80 – offering views of the Seaport District.
Other edible highlights include tempura-fried blooming mushrooms, Southern-style smoked pork chops and buttermilk-fried chicken sandwiches with Pimento cheese and green tomatoes.
“My favorite thing on the menu is our chicken dish,” Henry said. “You get organic house chicken served three ways – a seared and roasted breast, a braised thigh and confit leg. It’s served with wilted kale and seared spring onions.”
A variety of creative egg benedicts dominate the breakfast menu, and a café, which doubles as a private dining room, opens at 6 a.m. every day for coffee and takeout.
The bar selections mimic that of an everyday restaurant, with no extensive craft beer or wine list to speak of. Save for a few signature cocktails, like the Boston Sidecar made with rum, brandy and triple sec, the bar options are typical.
Coppersmith is open until 1 a.m. every day of the week with full dinner service starting at 5 p.m.
Photos by Scotty Schenck.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article called Chris Henry the concept creator. He is the executive chef.