On the southeast corner of Excelsior Boulevard and Eden Prairie Road in the quiet-ish Minnetonka neighborhood of Glen Lake, the former Dairy Queen is now a bold, stylish, dark gray building bearing the name Copper Cow.
Owners Chris and Danielle Bjorling saw potential in the building, and a need for something different in the community. The Bjorlings know about potential. For the past five years, they’ve owned and operated the Copper Hen on Minneapolis’ famed Eat Street. Last summer, they also opened Gray Fox Coffee and Wine on Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
Copper Hen (the “sister restaurant”) is decidedly more feminine than “brother restaurant” Copper Cow. Copper Hen’s menu offers soups and sandwiches, gorgeous gourmet plates and “couture” cocktails, all featuring beautiful, thoughtfully combined seasonal ingredients. The chic, rustic décor exudes European charm. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to order a second brunch cocktail, take longer lunches, and spend many happy hours just soaking it all in.
The Copper Hen is also an intimate wedding and private event venue, complete with the loveliest in-house catering and cakes. The cakes (and cupcakes) are something to behold. Adorned with sweet sprinkles, fancy flourishes and liqueur-filled pipettes, they’re divinely dreamy and decadent. (By the way, many of their sweet and savory recipes are available in The Copper Hen Cookbook.)
All success aside, the Bjorlings aren’t ones to rest on their laurels. Chris and Danielle saw a need for something different in the suburbs, and once again, they covered all the details when designing and building Copper Cow.
In contrast to Copper Hen, Copper Cow’s interior is darker, structured and more masculine. As you enter the building, the streamlined kitchen shines, and the highly polished copper bar top glows. Tables and booths are set up to accommodate parties of up to 20. At any time of day, you’ll find people of all ages and communities enjoying themselves at those tables. Copper Cow is a friendly place for business lunches, girlfriend get-togethers, family dinners with the kids, night caps and everything in between.
For those who appreciate refined (but not overdone) craft cocktails and local beers, the bar knocks it out of the park. Of Copper Cow’s bar program, Danielle Bjorling says, “We really wanted an elevated cocktail program that cut to the chase and supported our menu in a different way than our shakes. We feel Justin really delivered with bold flavors and approachable options for everyone.”
Head bartender Justin Barron (formerly of Eat Street Social) definitely delivers on Copper Cow’s cocktail menu. His favorites include the Old Fashioned, the spicy/sweet margarita-like Huntsman, and the beautiful seasonal sangrias. Their Minnesota Mule features a fabulous housemade ginger syrup versus a standard ginger beer. All syrups and sauces are made in-house, and the garnishes are fresh as can be.
While you might have heard all about Copper Cow’s Instagram-worthy donut burger, deep fried burger (which is kind of like eating fries and a burger in the same bite, but not overly heavy or greasy) and beautiful boozy shakes, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy on the lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus.
Head chef Kyle Darling (formerly of Rock Elm and Holman’s Table) created a long, delicious list of apps and sides that take this burger joint to the next level. Their veggie-forward kale slaw with heirloom carrots, snap peas, broccoli and green cabbage, all tossed in a light poppy seed dressing, is divine, and makes an excellent side for the fried chicken sandwich. If you like Brussels sprouts, you’ll love Copper Cow’s crispy Brussels sprouts with apple cider gastrique, toasted marcona almonds, and crème fraiche.
And fear not, fry lovers! The menu includes some seriously delicious house-cut fries, and the ketchup is made in-house, too. Indulge a little more and try the truffle fries with truffle and roasted garlic aioli.
Minnetonka is embracing Copper Cow with open arms. Those from outside the area (and those who follow @coppercowkitchen on Facebook or Instagram) happily make the trip for the now-famous burgers and shakes, and the many other delicious menu items.
Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch waits can be long during prime times. But you can usually find a seat by arriving a little earlier or later.
One particularly sentimental community favorite: The Bjorlings not only kept the old Dairy Queen ice cream counter and drive-thru window, but they built Copper Cow’s service model around them. Peruse and order from the to-go menu online, and pick up your order at the drive-thru window.