Copperwood Tavern, Shirlington

Copperwood Tavern, Shirlington

It’s no secret that Washington, D.C. was recently coined the “Restaurant City of the Year,” by Bon Appetite magazine. But with the endless amount of dining options that are available inside the city limits, both DC-natives and visitors alike often forget that a world exists outside of the perimeters of the nation’s capitol – and a quite impressive one at that.

We were lucky enough to sneak away from the hustle and bustle of a busy work week to experience the Village at Shirlington – a quaint and charming collection of boutique shops and restaurants in the D.C. suburbs of Arlington, Virginia.

One restaurant in particular caught our eye (and our very hungry tummies) after a long and stressful work day.

Copperwood Tavern, a new American-style eatery that recently planted its roots in Shirlington, serves locally sourced American fare small plates, meat plates, high-end pub grub & one scrumptious brunch in its rustic, cabin-style digs.

Working with local farms including True Farms (VA), Rappahannock River Company (VA), Highbourne Deer Farms (PA), and others, this farm-to-table oasis features some of the most unique and satisfying comfort foods that the DC suburbs have to offer.

Additionally, Copperwood Tavern is a beer, wine, and spirits lover’s dream. The restaurant’s 30-ft bar offers 24 kinds of draft beer, 30 small-batch whiskeys, a superb wine selection, and southern Virginia’s famous white whiskey, otherwise known as moonshine, that you can also order right at your table. Yes, we said that correctly: moonshine.

We were lucky enough to try multiple dishes prepared by Executive Chef James Duke, and cocktails currently featured on Copperwood’s extensive menu, which we will highlight below. (Hat tip: Make sure you read this post hungry!)

As any proper dinner experience should start, we were served a couple rounds of cocktails (it is also worth noting the adorable names that Copperwood has coined each of the cocktails featured on their menu).

We first tried “The Southern Sparkler” which contained Georgia Peach Moonshine, House made Pear Syrup, and Sparkling Wine. It was a refreshing burst of fruity flavor that was the perfect drink for end-of-summer weather.

Copperwood Tavern 1

Being southern girls at heart, we also had to try one of the many different selections of whiskey that Copperwood offers. We opted to try the “Jefferson’s Groth Cask,” a 90-proof bourbon that is extra matured in French oak barrels. It was the smoothest, richest bourbon-whiskey we’ve ever sipped on, and we say that without having to add water or sugar.

Copperwood Tavern 2

For bites, the waiter served us a plate of warm and fluffy sweet corn bread muffins with a side of honey orange butter (it has fresh orange bitters in the butter, folks!) Certainly not a typical plate of bread and butter, but in all the right ways.

Copperwood Tavern 3

We were also served a gorgeously arranged plate of “Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Burratta,” that consisted of colorful and juicy sliced heirloom tomatoes that came to rest over a bed of fresh basil pesto, and was topped with a giant ball of creamy burratta cheese.


For our first course of many, we were each served a plate of creamy, dreamy, piping hot “Spring Spaghetti Squash” that featured a bed spaghetti squash “noodles” topped with firm slices of heirloom tomatoes, softly grilled green onions and red peppers, micro greens, and melted grana cheese.  All of the components worked together in perfect harmony to create one of the most magical and unique dishes we have ever been served for dinner.


Our second course consisted of two plates of Copperwood’s “Rockfish 23” that featured a juicy filet of rockfish topped with romesco sauce, habanero micro greens, and charred lemon slices over a bed of beautiful bright green basil oil. For our readers who are pescatarian or simply prefer fish over red meat or chicken, this dish is pure perfection.


Our third and final main dish that was served consisted of an impressive cut of dry-aged ribeye steak cooked medium rare and topped with burgundy sauce and hand churned herb butter. As an added bonus, a bowl of button mushrooms marinated in beer-butter sauce served as the perfect accompaniment to the juicy red meat.


Just as our pants were bursting at the seams, Copperwood’s extremely talented pastry chef, Brandon Blomquist, made a visit to our table to present some of his beautiful (and most importantly edible) works of dessert art.

Petit versions of some of Copperwood’s most popular sweets made a debut:

“Southern Pecan Pie,” with a delicious deep dish nut crust base, and topped with Bowman Brothers bourbon caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream;


“Summer Berry Cheesecake,” with creamy cheesecake and gooey hibiscus swirl served over a crisp bed of ginger crust and topped with a white chocolate-covered gooseberry; and


“Flourless Chocolate Trio” cake, with Minted Raspberry, Milk Chocolate Mouse, and Raspberry Couli (a thick pureed fruit sauce).


For patrons located a bit further outside of the immediate DC suburbs who would still like to experience the fresh ingredients and locally sourced produce Copperwood offers, the restaurant recently opened up second, larger location in Ashburn, Virginia in One Loudoun at 20465 Exchange Street.

To help support a local business that believes in supporting local farmers  and economies while educating its customers on the importance of consuming foods fresh and rich in nutrients, stop by one of Copperwood Tavern’s two locations today. Don’t forget to tell them the East Coast Contessas sent you.

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  • Rebecca Bryant

    What a gorgeous plated meal. I bet it tasted just as good and it looked. I love when chefs take pride in presentation as they do taste.

    September 22, 2016 at 8:54 am
  • Karen Coghlan

    I would love to eat there… Everything looks delicious…

    September 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm
  • Mrs Major Hoff

    Thank you so much for sharing this! We sometimes fly into DC or VA and had no idea where to eat or where to go. This looks fabulous. I’ll add it to our list of places for our next visit. Thanks so much!

    September 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm
  • amer

    I can’t wait to go back to DC. You’re right amazing restaurants. All your pictures look tasty.

    September 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm
  • terristeffes

    That dessert! Wow! I want to devour all of them! Which was your favorite?

    September 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm
  • Michelle Myers

    Finding a new restaurant is always a treat and the cheesecake looks delicious! Glad you found such a lovely dining spot!

    September 22, 2016 at 9:40 pm
  • Kim

    Such pretty plates! All of that looks so good. I’m horrible about food blogging because I just dig in!

    September 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm
  • almostindianwife

    Oh wow. This all looks amazing!! I agree with Kim! My husband is always taking pictures of his food and I’m usually already half way done when he starts!

    September 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm
  • taylorannes95

    Those look great!!! I always forget to take a picture of my food before I eat it 🙂 I am sure you enjoyed those drinks!

    September 23, 2016 at 12:25 am
  • Esme Sy

    All the food looks amazing. I bet they’re all delicious. I wish we lived closer.

    September 23, 2016 at 1:19 am
  • Roxanne

    Gorgeous photos! Isn’t it amazing what luxury food can be- it’s almost like eating art!

    September 23, 2016 at 8:36 am
  • tp keane

    wow, that food looks so amazing. I’ve never been to copperwood before, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for one near me.

    September 23, 2016 at 9:02 am
  • Heather

    Well I am officially hungry now. This looks amazing! I might have to make some cornbread muffins today…

    September 23, 2016 at 10:31 am
  • Amanda Love

    I had no idea DC was names restaurant city of the year. I love trying out different restaurants and it would be nice to pay DC a visit some time soon! I’m glad you enjoyed your dining experience here at Copperwood. The food looks incredible.

    September 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm
  • Julie @ Girl on the Move

    I love discovering new restaurants and I particularly like going out in DC…this definitely makes me miss living on the east coast!

    September 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm
  • Liz Da Ponteiz

    I was in Washington, DC a few years ago and really enjoyed the city. The restaurants stood out as we had a great experience at every place we went to. Great pics! Looks like you found a gem.

    September 23, 2016 at 6:33 pm
  • CourtneyLynne

    Omg every last dish looks absolutely amazing!!!!! We visit DC often so I will have to try some of these dishes myself!

    September 23, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Nicole Escat

    Wow! I want all of these foods. I want to go there and indulge!

    September 24, 2016 at 8:53 am
  • The Belly Rules The Mind

    The treats look amazing. We moved from there a couple years ago. Definitely miss the food scene but no the traffic.

    September 24, 2016 at 10:07 pm
  • Rachel Catherine

    Wow! that looks like an amazing meal. The butter for the cornbread sounds so good, but everything looks really delicious.

    September 24, 2016 at 10:27 pm
  • Amber NElson

    That looks really fancy. I love cornbread! I haven’t had it in years though!

    September 25, 2016 at 5:22 pm
  • Mistle

    All of this food looks amazing!! I am needing a steak now!!!

    September 25, 2016 at 6:40 pm
  • Whitney S.

    All of this looks so amazing!! I would love to eat all of this right now. Nom Nom Nom!!

    September 26, 2016 at 9:31 pm


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