Food with a View
Copper Hill Public House makes a mark in Millersville
Overlooking the 18th hole at Crossgates Golf Club in Millersville, with its lush, green, winding path and a pink-hued sunset reflecting off the pond, you might, for a moment, forget where you are. The sleek, industrial interior of Copper Hill Public House, which opened late last spring, shows off its most spectacular feature: the view. “I have customers tell me they feel like they’re on vacation when they’re here,” says owner and executive chef Brad Beamenderfer.
The space, though, despite its resort-like setting, has a history of “burning through owners,” says Beamenderfer. So when the opportunity to take over the lease arose, he and his partners knew they had to do more than just slap a coat of paint on the walls. “We needed to prove to people this was going to be different,” he notes. A custom-built copper bar was installed, while a few tastefully placed flat-screens hang high on the walls and a funky metal leaf sculpture dangles above the entryway. There are new chairs and tables built by a customer. The curved wall that used to divide the old bar from the dining area was demolished and replaced by a long, narrow table that’s shown to be popular with groups of golfers. It gives way to the wall of windows and, of course, the view.
The tranquility and warmth pervading the space make it an inviting destination. But don’t fret if you haven’t a clue about the difference between a nine-iron and a five-wood; Copper Hill’s casual, upscale pub vibe caters to golfers and locals alike. For Beamenderfer, it’s the culmination of two decades working his way up the kitchen ladder. “I started out in the business when I was 15 at the Twin Kiss in Elizabethtown and worked for many others over the years,” he says—from dishwasher and cook to assistant kitchen manager and executive chef, most recently at Fat Pigs in Lancaster. “I knew I could be an executive chef over and over again, working for someone else, but I needed to do this for myself, for my family.”
Beamenderfer’s goal with Copper Hill is simple: “food that people understand, with a few interesting and unique twists.” For example, instead of traditional coleslaw, Beamenderfer serves green apple slaw for a tangy but familiar crunch. With the shrimp and grits entrée, he switches things up by replacing the andouille sausage with chorizo and adding crab meat and cheddar cheese to the grits. At Copper Hill, everything is made from scratch. You’ll find no pre-made salad dressings, soups, sauces or “heat and eat” food. Even the chips and pickles are made in house. “Where’s the pride in throwing cheese sticks in the fryer?” he asks. His alternative is York Valley cheddar cheese curds, lightly breaded, fried and served with homemade cracked pepper ranch dressing or marinara sauce. “Our fish and chips, one of our most popular items, it’s simple, but we make our own beer batter, the fries are fresh cut fries and it’s served with our house made tartar sauce,” he adds.
“No matter where I’ve worked, burgers are always a top menu item. Here, they’re fresh, hand-made patties. Our flatbread pizzas are really popular, too, really any of the sandwiches. I try and keep in mind that we are on a golf course. When the golfers get done in the middle of the afternoon, they don’t want to ruin dinner, but they probably skipped lunch and had a beer or two, so the pizzas are a good option,” says Beamenderfer.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the warmer months, patrons can enjoy the outdoor patio. They have nightly dinner and drink specials—both their two for $20 menu on Tuesdays and $10 burger and beer menu on Thursdays are great deals. And, although breakfast during the week is a little slow, Copper Hill’s building a steady weekend brunch crowd by serving up generous portions of buttermilk pancakes, stuffed French toast, breakfast burritos, three egg omelets and corned beef hash. And if you’re looking for entertainment, you’ll find trivia on Monday nights and live music on Saturdays, featuring local singer/songwriters.
The bar showcases a fine selection of wines, bourbons and local beers such as Tröegs and Spring House. Copper Hill even has its own house amber ale made by Cox Brewing Company in Elizabethtown. “I try to use local whenever I can, not just the food. We carry Bluecoat gin from Philadelphia and white rye whiskey from Thistle Finch. It’s to a point where it’s not a struggle to use local food vendors, breweries and distilleries,” he says.
Customers can expect the menu to change with the seasons. “You have to keep it interesting, keep striving to do something new instead of punching in and punching out. It keeps everyone fresh and motivated,” says Beamenderfer, adding, “We’re off to a really good start, but we don’t want to get complacent.”
Copper Hill Public House
1 Crossland Pass, Millersville, PA