Restaurant Reviews

Review: Copper Oven serves comfort food packed with flavor

The Copper Oven Bakery & Cafe has a tempting case of baked goods at the entrance.
The Copper Oven Bakery & Cafe has a tempting case of baked goods at the entrance. Wichita Eagle Dining Panel

It’s fun to discover a “new” restaurant that has been around for 13 years. It’s even more fun if that restaurant is as comfy as a chenille sofa and serves food as good as Grandma’s.

The Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery, which originally opened in 2002 in the Indian Hills Shopping Center at 2409 W. 13th St., is your quintessential comfort-food eatery. A welcoming staff, comfortable decor and the smell of good food are the culinary trinity of an appealing dining experience, and this place has all three. The hand-painted murals on the walls are eye-catching, and owner Phil Schoenhofer describes the style of the place he and his wife, Sharon, have owned for three years as “comfortably eclectic.”

Once you settle in, it’s time to take on the rather extensive menu. If you can’t find something that sounds good to you, well, maybe you’re just not that hungry. Besides the regular menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there are also daily specials. And if that’s not enough, there are “super specials” each day that are driven by the imagination of the chefs and whatever fresh food items might come in.

A breakfast special may be the German scramble – two scrambled eggs on seasoned beef, cabbage (what?) and onions served over ranch potatoes. Or how about this not-for-the-faint-of-heart lunch and dinner special? The meatloaf stacker: meatloaf, mashed garlic red potatoes, smoked bacon, brown gravy and onion crisps served open-faced on grilled sourdough bread.

Not that adventurous? Don’t worry. The usual staples are included on the menu. Breakfast offers omelets of every variety, skillet eggs Benedict, chicken-fried or charbroiled steak and eggs, pork chops and eggs, pancakes, French toast, and on and on. The best part? Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. each day. Lunch choices include grilled and deli sandwiches, fresh herb-crusted pizza, entree salads and soups of the day.

And then there’s dinner. Our entrees were all generous portions packed full of flavor. The super special that night was two fairly thin bone-in pork chops glazed with a surprising blueberry-flavored barbecue sauce that, despite its disparate elements, was a nice complement to the smokiness of the chops. My chicken breast deluxe ($9.99), Phil’s recommendation, was a juicy grilled chicken breast topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. I’m not a big fan of smothered chicken breast, but the toppings were not overpowering and mixed well together.

Each was served with the most buttery, scrumptious garlic mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted (I couldn’t stop eating them) and a savory combination of zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, carrots and onions that in no way resembled the frozen, flavorless mixed vegetables one usually encounters in restaurants. Even the chopped sirloin with secret seasoning wrapped in smoky bacon was mouthwatering and truly delectable, a definite step up from the usual ground beef variety.

The Copper Oven also recently added adult beverages to its menu and has a decent selection of wines and beer. And, of course, as the restaurant’s name suggests, there is a large case full of tempting baked items as you walk in.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the variety of dishes served here, like the prime rib stir fry or the ever-popular chicken pot pie, but perhaps this best explains the plethora of offerings: Among the restaurant’s regulars is an east-side couple (remember, the Copper Oven is on WEST 13th) who make the trek not once but twice a day every day the restaurant is open.

Now that’s comfort with a capital C.

Ratings reflect the critic’s judgment of the food, service and atmosphere in relation to the price. If you would like to nominate a restaurant to be reviewed, call 316-268-6327.

Review

Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery

Where: 2409 W. 13th St. North; 316-945-7549

Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays

Type of food: American comfort food

Alcohol: Wine and beer

Price range: Entrees are $8.99 to $14.99; sandwiches are $7.29 to 7.99; breakfast entrees are $3.99 to $10.99.

Web site: www.copperovencafe.com

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