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Copper Barrel On State

Hampshire's Gathering Place

By: Jeanie MayerDreymiller-3.jpg

The area’s hottest new eatery is calling downtown Hampshire its home.  The Copper Barrel on state offers an upscale vibe, a friendly atmosphere and a carefully curated menu that offers traditional American cuisine with a number of smokehouse specialties.  The tantalizing signature lunch and dinner menus, full-service bar and fun community-focused event nights have kept the tables full and the customers coming back for more since opening in the fall of 2018.

Owners Kristie Perez and Michelle Bunkowske have a long history with the Village and the restaurant business.  The pair met nearly 20 years ago when they both worked as bartenders at the Red Ox.  They formed a friendship and talked about one day opening a restaurant together.  Kristie and her husband, Aaron, own and operate the Lodge in Wasco.  She said they were planning to open another restaurant and had been looking in Hampshire when she decided to team up with Michelle and open the Copper Barrel.

“We knew we wanted to be in Hampshire.  We have developed so many close relationships and friendships here.  Hampshire has so many loyal customers,” Michelle said.

Dining-RoomV6.JPGThe restaurant was designed by the owners, along with Michelle’s long-time partner, Randy Stevenson of Embassy Construction.  The décor incorporates barrel art, historic photos of the village and trendy architecture that includes a glass garage door that opens to allow for al fresco dining in the summer months.  The owners credit Randy and Embassy Construction for making their design dreams and plans into reality.

The Copper Barrel offers something for everyone.  The restaurant caters to the lunch crowd and welcomes those who want to stop off for a drink after work.  They are also the place to go for date nights, family nights and for adults who are looking for a fun place to hang out with friends after 9:00pm.

The menu offers an array of selections with appetizers starting at just $6 for a plate of savory smoked bacon wrapped asparagus.  They offer delicious tacos featuring fish, shrimp, chicken or mouth-watering brisket; sandwiches and salads with both unique and time-honored flavor profiles, and signature entrees that include locally sourced, hand-cut ribeye, batter-fried walleye and lip-smacking, come-back-for-more lobster ravioli.  One of the most popular items on the menu is the Friday night fish fry.

The staff at the Copper Barrel smoke their own meats on site daily and offer mouth-watering select smokehouse specialties like ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey and salmon.  Kristie’s dad, Andy Stover, brought his years of experience smoking meats to the restaurant and trained the staff at Copper Barrel in the art of smoking meat.  They are also focused on using locally-sourced meat and produce whenever possible.  They offer meats, cheeses and sausages from Dreymiller & Kray of Hampshire, some of their sauces come from Uncle Dougie’s in Union and desserts are provided by Prairieview Farmer’s Market and Distinctive Catering by Debi of Genoa.  Fresh produce for the restaurant comes courtesy of Chris Toufexis of Elgin Produce.Interior-Seating.JPG

Not only do patrons enjoy a great meal at a fair price, they also have a lot of fun.  The owners feature event nights on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Interactive games like themed-trivia with teams, paint parties and music bingo get the crowd involved.  They offer live music, DJs and karaoke and are always up for suggestions.  

Copper Barrel on State is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 1:00 am, Sunday, 11:00am to 11:00pm and is closed on Mondays.


About This BusinessSign2.jpg

Name:  Copper Barrel on State
Owners:  Michelle Bunkowske and Kristie Perez
Location:  172 S. State, Hampshire
Hours:  Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 1:00am, Sunday from 11am to 11pm, Closed Mondays
Phone:  (224) 218-1300

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