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Pull up to the bar at the brand-new Coperta in Curtis Park and ask for a Negroni on tap. Bar manager Jonathan Feuersanger will pour you one in a four-ounce juice glass and pass it across the wooden bar top. The cocktail—and the very glass itself—is a perfect introduction to siblings Paul and Aileen Reilly’s Italian restaurant.
Coperta, which means “blanket” in Italian, sits in the former Jonesy’s location in Curtis Park. The space has the feel of an Italian home, thanks to built-in Hoosier cabinets fit with antiques and a sideboard cabinet left behind by the Jonesy’s crew. And those juice glasses that Feuersanger uses to serve his sidecar-size cocktails? Those were also Jonesy’s. The point is, that despite having opened on Monday, July 25, Coperta already feels familiar.
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This translates to the food as well, especially for those who have traveled to Rome or southern Italy. The menu, divided into antipasti, primi, secondi, and contori, reflects the simple, seasonal cuisine that the region is so well known for. There are small plates such as fritto misto with shrimp, squid, and whiting; pastas like spaghetti cacio e pepe, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, and cavatelli ragu; and wood-fired meats and fish.
And then there’s mozzarella: a fresh, pulled-to-order version made with milk from grass-fed cows and a D.O.P. certified version made with buffalo milk and imported from Italy. Choose either (or both for comparison’s sake) with accouterments like bread, marmelatta, and celery relish. Order a round for the table, or, better yet, secure a spot at the five-seat Mozz Bar and watch the antipasti crew stretch and make the cheese. No doubt, these seats will quickly become Coperta’s most coveted. They offer prime viewing and eating, and the sense of being tucked into the fold of the restaurant.
400 E. 20th Ave., 720-749-4666