Imagine for one moment that you live on a farmstead. Your relationship with the earth is arguably the most important in your life, as it is the basis of your livelihood, nurtures your family and will continue to do so for generations to come just as it has in centuries past. You spend the early mornings tending to the fields and come into the home for lunch smelling of damp earth and clean fragrant air. You are hungry for a good meal and tired to the bone but mostly you want to reconnect with your family and friends after the heavy solitude of morning chores.
The Copper Hen Cakery and Kitchen is the embodiment of this theme. Everything within its walls is homemade, from the Milk & Honey Bread to the inventive Cheese-Wiz, which consists of a wonderful combination of multiple cheeses and beer. It rarely happens, but when we sat down to read through the meal choices, we wanted to try each and every one. In fact, so many Minneapolitans felt the same way that in the year since their opening, The Copper Hen has expanded from a counter service café into a comprehensive sit down restaurant with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that changes with the seasons. They make a concentrated effort to source everything locally in order to reflect the spirit of Minneapolis’s multiple co-operatives and history of agriculture.
As if these concepts were not charming enough, the owners are a young married couple of 26 and 27 years old who opened their dream restaurant without any prior experience and nearly $12, 000 in donations from local supporters. Owner Chris divides his time between the new business and his full time accounting job downtown while his wife and co-owner Danielle bakes the cakes and her sister started the in-house bread program. Many of the items are made with love and history such as the Breakfast Cupcake, which consists of a biscuit-like cake filled with bacon and blueberries and topped with a delicious vanilla butter cream. Danielle baked the biscuit base with her grandmother and mother until their hands were stained blue from the berries and now, her family recipe is one of the best selling items at The Copper Hen.
But The Copper Hen’s charm extends past the culinary. The space is beautifully rustic with exposed stonewalls, pale blue horse patterned wallpaper and a copper tile ceiling. The owners designed it themselves to reflect their desire for that farmstead atmosphere and as soon as you step through the doors, you know that the friendly servers will take care of you.
At this time of year, we have to recommend the Watermelon Patch Salad with arugula, pancetta and watermelon or the classic Chicken Potpie, which is simple, delicious and homey. There are cases of sweets on offer as well but the Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookies, the alcohol infused cupcakes and the seasonal hand pies (shaped like a French-style galette) come highly recommended.
The Copper Hen is a great taste of Minneapolis for visitors and, quite honestly, is one of the reasons we have decided we must return to the city in the near future.