When a restaurant is closed for two and a half years, it almost always stays closed. Not so with Copia Urban Winery
, which returned this summer 30 months after an arson fire gutted it. Get a sneak preview of my review after the jump.
Simply to step inside Copia is to understand what a gap the fire left in the loft district. The restaurant is enormous. You enter into the bar and lounge, which by itself is bigger than many of the restaurants I've reviewed in recent months. A thick glass partition through which water ceaselessly falls separates the bar from the main dining room. This is a large, airy space, its décor drab and hotel lobby-esque, with a view on one end onto Washington Avenue, on the other into the open kitchen.
As large as Copia's dining room is, it has nothing on the patio. Dubbed the "wine garden," the space does indeed capture the scope, if not the ambiance, of a European beer garden. It can accommodate well over 100 diners. There are fireplaces, flat-screen TV sets and a decorative pool. The combination of four walls and open sky creates its own microclimate, with a strong breeze. Is there a threat of rain? No problem. A switch is flipped, and a roof slides into place!
What about the food? Visit the RFT restaurant page
late tomorrow afternoon or check back here Wednesday morning to see what I think.
1122 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO