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Copperfield Inn at Lakeside
594 Ridge Pike
Limerick, Pennsylvania

The Copperfield Inn carries on a 50-year tradition of a restaurant at this particular location. And, like its predecessor, the Lakeside Inn, Copperfield is really two restaurants in one. On the one hand, with its spacious ballroom accommodating up to 250 patrons, it caters to the birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, banquets crowd. On the other, its cozy bar/dining room replete with comfy booths and a plethora of dark wood is just right for couples and small groups who wish to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner.

But on to the food, which, like the restaurant itself, is something of a dichotomy. Lunch here has been excellent across the board… dinner (particularly the entrées) less so. Whatever you do, however, and whenever you decide to pay a visit, be sure to avail yourself of the excellent house-made Yukon gold potato chips. Sprinkled with just a pinch of sea salt, they are pristinely fresh and addictively crunchy… and worth the price of admission.

You also can’t go wrong with the artisan sandwiches, which are served up with your choice of the aforementioned chips, French fries (which are good, but not AS good as the chips), or fresh fruit. And the kitchen always does something special to spruce up these beauties, so don’t expect the usual fillers slapped between two slices of anemic Styrofoam-y white bread.

Pastrami ReubenThe ham sandwich on rustic country white, for example, is embellished with Swiss cheese, a provocative apple slaw, and a zesty bourbon mustard. Absolutely first-rate. The grilled Portobello mushroom arrives on multi-grain bread and is aided and abetted by arugula, sun-dried tomato, and a generous slathering of white bean hummus. The pastrami Reuben is served open faced on artisan rye bread, with sauerkraut, gruyère cheese, and Russian dressing in strong supporting roles. And the slow-roasted pork panini wrap boasts baby spinach, sharp provolone cheese, and an incredible garlic aïoli.

Turkey BurgerEven the burger, whether certified Angus beef or turkey, gets an added boast from a soft, sensual brioche bun; and all the accompaniments – pickle, lettuce, tomato, slice of Bermuda onion – don’t have that “tired” look from gathering dust in the nether regions of the kitchen… all are obviously cut & sliced to order. You also have the option of mixing and matching a number of toppings (assorted cheeses, mushrooms, bacon, fried onions, guacamole, salsa) to give your burger that personal touch.

Sandwiches and burgers are also available in the evening – which might be the better part of valor, as the dinner offerings simply didn’t come up to expectations. Among the starters, the quesadilla buttressed by home-made salsa, guacamole, and sour cream was good but not exceptional. On the other hand, flatbread adorned with wild mushrooms and goat cheese was dry and tasteless.

Wild Mushroom RavioliEntrées fared no better. The homemade meatloaf had possibilities… but they were drowned beneath a cloyingly sweet barbecue sauce (although the accompanying creamed spinach Parmesan was quite good). This item is also offered as a sandwich on a brioche roll, which might help to mitigate the sweetness of the sauce; as an entrée, however, au naturel, it fell flat. Kissed by sweet red & yellow pepper sauces and crowned with frizzled leeks and sautéed shiitakes, the wild mushroom ravioli certainly looked the part; but the sauces were on the bland side and the pasta pockets themselves rather chewy. A near miss.

If you do plan to go the entrée route, I would suggest either the crab cakes or the char-grilled filet mignon. The former is billed as the establishment’s signature dish and is simply broiled and companioned by tartar sauce and lemon. The latter is a char-grilled 8-ounce center cut. Crowned with a tiara of frizzled onions, it offers a choice of béarnaise sauce or green peppercorn demi-glace.

Caramel Apple PieThe deep dish Granny Smith caramel apple pie was the only dessert sampled… and it was inordinately soggy and eminently forgettable. Other possible sweet endings include New York-style cheesecake, Swiss chocolate cake, fresh seasonal berries, the ubiquitous crème brûlée, and Nelson’s ice cream.

Despite a number of faux pas, the Copperfield Inn is, in my opinion, still worth a visit. As noted above, sandwiches and burgers lead the way, which makes this restaurant an ideal stopover for lunch or a light, casual dinner. As the Inn has only been open a few months, hopefully, as time goes on, entrées will come around as well.

March 2011
The Artful Diner

The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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