You all know how I feel about chain restaurants– in general, if I want a decent meal out, I avoid them and instead prefer to give my money to local restaurants. I understand the appeal of chains– consistency, familiarity, often family-friendliness. You know what you’re going to get, your kids may have a favorite, the price is reasonable. But what if I were to tell you, my chain-fond friend, that there is a restaurant in Milford that has the cozy, familiar feel of a chain with better food– and it’s locally owned?
Copper Blue fits this bill. Located in Milford, it has an expansive menu of American favorites that appeal to diners with slightly more adventurous palates (black bean dip, fish tacos) and those with not-so-adventurous palates (chicken thumbs, french fries). They have a fairly extensive craft beer list (and macros too) and even the occasional cocktail. The menu is almost too expansive– making it difficult to choose– but we managed to decide.
To start, we tried the BBQ Cajun shrimp, which reminded me a bit of the Flippin’ Good Shrimp from York Street Cafe– a spicy, buttery shrimp appetizer served on toasted French bread. This dish was a bit on the greasy side, but very flavorful– and the shrimp were tender and not overcooked. I could easily make this an entree, paired with a side salad.
We each picked an entree– a salad for me, and a burger for The Better Half. I chose steak salad, intrigued by the pairing of hand-cut fries and steak. I liked the salad, but could have done without the fries– while handcut, they got a bit soggy with the combination of juices from the perfectly cooked, well-seasoned steak (a pleasant surprise) and the salad dressing. I’d order the salad again, but ask for the fries on the side (or not at all). Their salad dressings are all homemade, and I liked their tangy white balsamic vinagrette, which worked quite well with the steak, shallots, blue cheese and sunflower seeds on the salad. It was a nice twist on a classic steak salad.
The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger had plenty of thick-cut maple bacon and smoked cheddar, as well as standard burger fixings. It is a step up from a typical, run-of-the-mill cheeseburger, and the ingredients as a whole were very good. The bun was a bit on the soft side, so for the last quarter or so of the burger, it had to be eaten with knife and fork instead of hands– which, in my mind, is a major burger failing. Still, it was a delicious burger, served with slightly-too-thick hand-cut fries: I give them credit for hand-cutting the fries, but I personally prefer them a bit thinner.
A friend dining with us got the buffalo macaroni and cheese, which was nice and spicy, and the cheese wasn’t from a box. I think that’s what Copper Blue boils down to: solid, if not-quite innovative food that is prepared with care. Instead of relying on pre-made mixes, dips, and frozen fries, they make their own. It’s a trend I support, and a great place to take your kids that isn’t TGI O’Chilibee’s (to quote a reader of mine)* but is still comfortable enough that you know that the entire family will enjoy it.
(I am aware that your average wmdm reader probably isn’t taking their kids to those chain, American restaurants anyway, as many of you regale me with stories of your kids eating beets and sushi and all sorts of things. Just to be clear.)