WALTHAM (CBS) – Phantom always says, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and at Copper House Tavern in Waltham, words have never been truer.

“From the outside it’s a little deceiving that we’re attached to the Best Western,” said General Manager Frank Imbergamo. “They just don’t expect the room to be this attractive when they walk in.”

While this restaurant is attached to an economy hotel, there’s nothing low budget about the tasteful deco full of hardwoods and a big attractive bar in the middle of it all.

“We wanted to make the bar the focal point. It used to be back in the day the bar was over here and the families went over there,” Imbergamo said, gesturing left and right. “Now the bar is a much more friendly environment.”

While there’s plenty of space in their comfortable dining room, those in the know tend to head straight for the bar to dine.

“People love to eat at the bar. It’s a big communal table. I find that people love to venture all over the menu and eat a lot of appetizers and share, and the bar is just perfect; it’s like one big table for that.

“We put these bump outs on the end which is really nice where 7 or 8 people can stand around them and share some appetizers and some beverages. It draws everyone in.”

So Phantom went belly up to the bar and tasted it all to find THE PERFECT MEAL.

Starters here are not short of sensational and pair perfectly with one of their 40 craft beers.

There’s Hot Honey Wings slathered in a sweet and spicy sauce and served with creamy ranch.

Steak and Cheese Egg Rolls are loaded up with sirloin, provolone, peppers and onions.

But the must have app is the overloaded Blue Cheese Bacon and Garlic Fries.

“We have great signature thick cut fries. We have a sauce of 3 or 4 different cheeses that we melt down, and we top it with blue cheese crumbles, crispy cut bacon, and let it melt all over the top,” Imbergamo described. “Top it with scallions, and if that’s not enough we serve it with a garlic aioli. It’s so much richness; you go into a little bit of a food coma there.”

You won’t go wrong ordering any of Copper House’s pizzas – always overloaded with toppings and presented on a crispy crust. There’s the Mediterranean Veggie pizza topped with spinach, feta, olives and sundried tomatoes. The Italian Grinder pizza is loaded up with Italian meats and creamy ricotta. The Southwest Chicken pizza is a standout with a tomatillo based sauce used for a south of the border spin.

“So I take some tomatillos and make a sauce out of it and use that tanginess of the tomatillo as a base. Then we put on jack and cheddar cheese, blackened chicken, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, and once it comes out of the oven we top it with fresh cilantro and a ranch crema drizzle.”

As for entrees, Copper House offers a range of food from the sophisticated Honey and Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin with a cider reduction, to something more casual like the Cabo Burger, piled high with roasted poblano peppers, fried tostada chips and jack cheese.

For a truly memorable meal, order the Bangkok Chicken Curry. Served in a flavorful coconut curry sauce, this noodle dish is something that you won’t find in a typical tavern.

“I think with the word tavern, people expect normal tavern fare. They’re looking burgers, pizzas – which we do have,” said Imbergano. “But some of the unique things like the Bangkok chicken curry, people are surprised to see those kind of dishes on our menu.”

Blue Cheese Bacon and Garlic Fries, Southwest Chicken Pizza, and Bangkok Chicken Curry.

That’s the PERFECT MEAL at The Copper House Tavern

You can find the Copper House Tavern at 380 Winter Street in Waltham, inside the Best Western, or online at copperhousetavern.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.



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