As Red Door Hospitality restaurant developer Travis ‘Tbone’ Talbot will tell you, the upcoming South Boston dining destination, Coppersmith, will be much more than just a restaurant – it’ll also be a foodie playground with a commitment to enriching the community.
Travis ‘Tbone’ Talbot of Coppersmith
“In addition to wanting to be a serious presence on Boston’s culinary landscape, we are intent on achieving a social mission,” Talbot tells BostInno. That social mission will involve numerous charity organizations and workforce development training programs to generate what he calls “community wealth.”
Along with the restaurant’s social mission, the innovative hub will also include food trucks, a restaurant-cafe with 25-foot ceilings, a 100-foot indoor/outdoor bar, two patios including a rooftop patio, raw bar and rooftop garden. The menu will be globally-inspired, handcrafted and made-from-scratch. Bostonians can also expect a deep roster of bottled micro-brews, eclectic and classic wines, diverse tap handles, and plenty of cocktails.
Talbot is just one of the many people behind Coppersmith. Other Red Door Hospitality folks like co-owner John Childs and popular New York restaurateurs Franklin Ferguson and Leyla Marchetto are also supporting the upcoming venture. In addition, Paul Bruno of Glynn Hospitality Group will serve as the complex’s general manager while Executive Chef Chris Henry (formerly of Black Salt in Washington, D.C., South End Buttery, 9 at Home and Drink from the Barbara Lynch Gruppo) will spearhead the culinary operations at the new restaurant.
Here, Talbot shares what Bostonians can expect from the forthcoming restaurant and community hub.
Marian White: Where did the name and idea for Coppersmith come from?
Travis Talbot: The name was the easy part, the building was erected in 1894 and was the Dahlquist Manufacturing Co, which specialized in copper fabrication and production of copper boilers. We fell in love with the rustic elements of the space, it’s distinctive character, and Boston charm. We decided to go with a name that was based on the authentic personality of the building itself.
As far as the concept, well…it’s been a couple of lifetimes in the making and three intensive years in development. Our team consists of hospitality ‘lifers’ and entrepreneurs that collectively wanted to make a difference both in terms of crafting a game-changing concept and in terms of making a genuine contribution to the community. Beyond simply serving great food and providing sincere hospitality, our aim is to support and enrich our community.
MW: Can you describe the restaurant concept to our readers?
TT: We refer to ourselves as “an authentic neighborhood restaurant and not just another restaurant in the neighborhood.” Coppersmith is a casual and playful restaurant serving global, hand-crafted, social fare in a relaxed, vintage-industrial setting. It is a community hub, 3rd space, and foodie playground.
MW: What will make Coppersmith different from other restaurants around town?
TT: I would say that the most obvious variables that will differentiate us from the pack is how dynamic the space is. I think we are the only restaurant on the East Coast that can say we have two food trucks inside the restaurant. In addition to our core menu we can get incredibly creative as the two food trucks are essentially two additional kitchens in the main restaurant space. We can “Go Global” and be firing up street food from all over the globe. The trucks enable us to host cooking competitions, pop up events, host visiting chefs, and conduct educational events.
The venue itself is also very unique. In addition to the food trucks, we have a cafe with chef-inspired grab-and-go items, two patios including a rooftop patio that includes an Airstream trailer that is being converted into a raw bar. We are also working towards utilizing our rooftops for urban agriculture.
Every aspect of our business has attached to it a cause or contribution. At present we have aligned with close to a dozen Social Impact Partners that are integrated into our operations. We are currently working with organizations like Triangle Charities developing workforce development training for individuals with special needs, and organizations like No Kid Hungry. Some of our other programming focuses on hunger/food education, food rescue, homelessness, and working with communities including veteran’s an at-risk youth.
MW: What Coppersmith events are you most excited about?
TT: Definitely looking forward to the Food Truck Throwdowns! We have so many of our friends in the industry eager to participate in these foodie competitions and the fun part is that it’s not just chef vs. chef, that it’s restaurant vs. restaurant, so we are looking for sous chefs, managers, bartenders etc. to get in the game. We also have chefs from around the globe (Germany, Canada, Mexico) that will be joining us for competitions when they pass through town and a number of chefs interested in doing stages and sabbaticals with us.
MW: Can you tell us about the menu?
TT: We were extremely fortunate to acquire a chef like Chris Henry (previously with Barbara Lynch Gruppo). From small plates to family dinner-style items, he is crafting a pretty kick ass menu. Simple and accessible but innovative. Some of the dishes include: Crispy Pork Belly with Rum Soaked Pineapple, Jalapeño; Organic Half Chicken- Braised Thigh, Seared Breast, Confit Leg, Kale, Seared Onions Chicken Jus; Lobster / Crawfish Boil with Chorizo,Corn, Potatoes, Salad, Clams, Mussels, Lemons, Drawn Butter. There are also a lot of daily features as Chef Henry will be whipping up dishes that are all farmers market-based. The menu will be fluid and fresh.
MW: What challenges has the Coppersmith team run into along the way?
TT: Just like any operator there are always challenges with initial construction. Add to the variable – a 100+ year old building and things definitely get interesting. Also, the scale of our building can turn the most basic tasks into more time consuming projects. The other challenge that we are anticipating is acquiring top-shelf talent. Boston’s restaurant scene is booming and there are a lot of amazing places to land a gig with. Even though our team have worked with the best of the best in the city, we are still the new kid on the block so it’s tough to get the A-listers. We are also sticking to our guns in that we are looking for talent that also believes in our social mission.
MW: When is the restaurant aiming to open?
TT: If all goes well with our remaining construction, permitting etc. we are shooting for an opening the week after Labor Day. After an incredibly challenging winter and a few other hiccups, we are looking pretty good for that target.