Copper Coin: New West Seattle restaurant coming to ex-Porterhouse space

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“A good neighborhood joint.”

That’s how Aaron Shepherd explained his future Admiral District restaurant, the Copper Coin, to a passerby who peeked in while he was working today.

We in fact got first word of the Copper Coin via another passerby, WSB Forums member “twobottles,” who started a discussion wondering what was going in at the former Porterhouse space; another member, “Admiral935,” then added a little more info, and we picked up the research from there.

Aaron already owns a successful restaurant north of the city, and says he’d been looking around for a new place for a few years, but even the neighborhood where he lives – Ballard – didn’t offer just the right spot.

West Seattle did.

So here’s his plan:

First, we should mention that the restaurant he co-owns to the north is Hill’s Neighborhood Restaurant in Richmond Beach. And per his online bio, restaurant-running runs in his family – you might have heard of the Shepherd family business, Red Mill Burgers.

Burgers and fish tacos are popular items on the Hill’s menu and will be offered here, he says, though some of the high-end items that are favorites there – the famous lamb shank, for example – will likely only make occasional appearances. The menu will feature “really intelligent recipes” prepared with fresh ingredients.

Beverages will be important, and the space’s 20-plus pre-existing taps are in fact shaping part of his plan. While Hill’s has a strong wine focus, Aaron expects beer to have a higher profile here, and is planning on offering wine on tap – which he says can bring higher quality wine at a lower price, like a Chardonnay offered at Hill’s that goes for $10/glass but if served from the bottle would likely go for double that, and then some.

Right now, it’s time for interior work. A new water heater was being installed in the back while we talked with him in the front of the house. But the space has “good bones,” he says, so he’s not doing a total overhaul of the ex-Porterhouse, though he expects new paint, lighting, and floor grinding/staining to make a big difference.

We asked about his inspiration for the name Copper Coin. Multiple sources, he smiles – including the “Galaxy Gold” retro paint the Space Needle is sporting in this half-century anniversary year – which reminds him of copper – as well as Copper River salmon, plus the fact the “k” sound of Copper Coin is shared by some of the most successful brands in history – like Coca-Cola.

Depending on how fast his liquor-license application moves, he is hoping to open Copper Coin in early October – “we’re shooting for October 1st.” And he’s in it for the long haul, saying he noticed that West Seattle has “large holes dug for apartment buildings” and expecting those future residents, as well as the people here now, to continue to be hungry and thirsty for good food and drink.

70 Replies to "Copper Coin: New West Seattle restaurant coming to ex-Porterhouse space"

  • NeoYogi August 16, 2012 (2:28 pm)

    NICE! He should probably burn some sage in there though :) Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • k August 16, 2012 (2:28 pm)

    Best of luck and welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Admiral Janeway August 16, 2012 (2:29 pm)

    Welcome to WS, Aaron. Looking forward to the opening of the Copper Coin.

  • Ian August 16, 2012 (2:36 pm)

    Now living in North Admiral makes me very excited for a new place going in that spot. This already seems like it could be prefect for it without knowing much!

  • Petunia August 16, 2012 (2:36 pm)

    yay! that’s exciting! Best wishes!

  • Sharon Marbut August 16, 2012 (2:41 pm)

    I live in West Seattle and work in Shoreline…Hill’s is a great restaurant!

  • Roadking54 August 16, 2012 (2:44 pm)

    Awesome news! It was sad to see The Porterhouse go, but welcome a new bar full of Northwest beer taps! It would be great if he could improve the patio portion and enlarge the bar area!

  • Ms. Picky August 16, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    Welcome! We’ll be sure to stop in once you’re open.

  • Monica Skov August 16, 2012 (3:00 pm)

    Congratulations and welcome to the neighborhood. We can’t wait to pop in for a visit!!!!

  • Mark August 16, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    Great news! Welcome to the ‘hood!

  • mrsB August 16, 2012 (3:32 pm)

    $10 for a glass of “on tap” chardonnay sounds rather pricey and I don’t think even high end restaurants charge more than “double that and then some ” for a glass poured from a bottle. Could those numbers have been misquoted?

    • WSB August 16, 2012 (3:34 pm)

      (adding now that I am at a full keyboard) That’s what he said. Co-publisher Patrick, who was with me, heard the same thing. So there’s no such thing as a $25 glass of wine? Even at a really expensive restaurant? My beverage of choice these days is plain old iced tea with lemon, so I haven’t looked at wine lists in a long long time. The point anyway was that having wine on tap would facilitate more affordable prices for really, really good wine – I’m sorry I didn’t ask for specifics on the Chardonnay he mentioned as an example, such as vintage and winemaker, but I’ll e-mail him to ask – TR

  • Guy August 16, 2012 (3:46 pm)

    Good job WSB!

  • Smythe August 16, 2012 (3:50 pm)

    Assuming 4 glasses poured from their priciest listed bottle, the figure comes out to $21.50 per glass before tip.

  • nichole August 16, 2012 (4:03 pm)

    $6 for a glass of 14 hands merlot is $4 less a glass then a pizza place in the area I dined at a few days ago!

  • Tucker August 16, 2012 (4:16 pm)

    I liked that space when the Blackbird was there. Somehow I never got over to the Porterhouse. Welcome and here’s to success. Salud!

  • Alki Flower August 16, 2012 (4:23 pm)

    So excited for a new spot in the hood! And I completely agree with Yogi.

  • Allison August 16, 2012 (4:24 pm)

    Congrats and welcome to the neighborhood! Can’t wait to try it out!

  • Joe August 16, 2012 (4:33 pm)

    We will get you so excited about West Seattle that you’ll live here before you know it. Good luck…looking forward to trying you out.

  • mrsB August 16, 2012 (4:33 pm)

    Smythe, it would be somewhat unusual for an $85 bottle of wine to be sold by the glass.

  • Admiral935 August 16, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    Porterhouse had the same wine on tap, if its Proletariat that CC is doing, as does a couple other Admiral joints – same Walla Walla brand maybe a different varietal per location. $10 white, $11 Cab per glass. It’s good stuff but for me a rare splurg. Anyway, it’s nothing new going back two years!

    It looks like we might have a winner with this new guy!

  • Lindsey August 16, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    Yea! I’ve been hoping that spot would get scooped up soon. I miss Porterhouse, but look forward to Copper Coin.

  • WorldCitizen August 16, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    $25 in definitely not unheard of for a glass pour. However, those glasses are usually found in high-end wine-centric restaurants/wine bars….Reidel glassware, proper storage and high service standards usually justify these types of wines being poured. It would be cool if he can make it work.

  • Smythe August 16, 2012 (4:53 pm)

    I never said an 85$ bottle was being sold by the glass “mrsB”. That is the price per glass when you buy the bottle. Continue bickering if it makes you feel better about yourself but try to work on your reading comprehension.

  • jiggers August 16, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    You have to have a benjamin on you nowdays if you go out to eat and drink.

  • Jeff August 16, 2012 (5:32 pm)

    Welcome to the ‘Hood! My wife and I really miss Porterhouse. It hit the sweet spot for us as a casual, yet high quality restaurant with a great atmosphere. (Until they downgraded the menu at the end.) Sounds like Copper Coin could hit that mark for us again. Please keep the great beer selection!

  • W Sea Neighbor August 16, 2012 (5:39 pm)

    Welcome to the neighborhood–looking forward to trying out Copper Coin! Any reason why you aren’t planning to offer any “higher-end” fare on other than a limited basis? Hopefully you aren’t just assuming that people in West Seattle aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate it. That would be a gross misconception.

  • Stu August 16, 2012 (5:50 pm)

    Please Please Please offer a version of the Red Mill bacon burger on the menu.

  • RP August 16, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Hooray! Welcome to the neighborhood, Aaron! And we’ll definitely be backing up our welcome with a meal at the Copper Coin as soon as your doors open…looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us!

  • MaryCooks August 16, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    OMG! I moved from West Seattle to walking distance of Hill’s this past April. Hill’s is our new favorite restaurant (reminds us of one near and dear to our hearts which closed early this year in WS). The food is amazing and the drinks are great. I’m glad you guys will get to experience some (more) awesomeness. Please support your local, non-chain restaurants. They work hard to earn your respect, and dollars.

  • newnative August 16, 2012 (7:26 pm)

    The wine taps allow wine to be opened, recorked and stored, so to speak, so that otherwise high end wine can be sold by the glass. Then they can sell it with less waste and pass the savings to us.

  • Margaret Law August 16, 2012 (7:27 pm)

    Sounds like Copper Coin’s got some Big Shoes to fill (never mind wine glasses!) Welcome to the ‘hood, nonetheless, from a newly-relocated Delawarean. (Home state of VEEP Joe Biden, who admittedly suffers from an extreme case of foot in mouth disease, bless his heart…)

  • Warren Black August 16, 2012 (8:00 pm)

    Best of luck, CC! (Also, it’s summer now but make sure somebody takes a look at the roof. Hint, hint.)

  • DCO August 16, 2012 (8:07 pm)

    Ditto to Hill’s being a great restaurant!

  • NW Momma August 16, 2012 (8:45 pm)

    The things we liked about porterhouse- kid friendly & beer selection. Never super impressed with the food. Hope this place can distinguish itself from Elliot bay but still be kid friendly.

  • Nancy Carroll August 16, 2012 (9:12 pm)

    Exciting news! I wonder if he’d consider also having a spot where the Avalon/Cafe Revo was.

  • Brontosaurus August 16, 2012 (10:16 pm)

    Welcome to West Seattle! Can’t wait to try out Copper Coin. Just don’t anyone tell him that one of those “holes in the ground” has been around for a long time :-)

  • Kristen August 16, 2012 (10:31 pm)


  • Mike August 16, 2012 (10:48 pm)

    awesome, will it have the mountain of bacon like Red Mill? I <3 the mountain of bacon.

  • jiggers August 17, 2012 (2:31 am)

    Definetly has that Ballard twang to it…

  • Chrisd August 17, 2012 (6:32 am)

    Paint the outside.

  • 56bricks August 17, 2012 (7:11 am)

    I miss Ballard. And West Seattle .Too old to be a hipster. And too poor to be one and stay here. But I still am.

  • 44th Neighbor August 17, 2012 (7:48 am)

    Wonderful news! I can’t wait to try it out… My two thoughts: My fave thing about Porterhouse was that it had great kids food (not the regular frozen chicken strips and Kraft mac & cheese restaurants typically offer). Please be kid-friendly! Also, if you can rip off that fish n’ chips recipe from Red Mill Totem House, my heart is yours!

  • dawsonct August 17, 2012 (8:18 am)

    I don’t know about that place for a restaurant, Nancy C. It seems that locations not surrounded by neighborhoods and foot traffic don’t do too well unless there is some sort of a draw. The Chelan and Luna Park do well, because they are diners and have fairly low overhead and a relatively high profit margin (and the Chelan has a bar. BIG bonus for the restaurant owner). Fine dining has very narrow profit margins, as they tend to purchase much higher quality ingredients in much smaller quantities, and they sometimes pay their cooks more. Not always.
    I think a more successful restaurant in that place would be some type of “single item” restaurant, like BBQ, desserts, burgers (hey Zippy’s!), or a very authentic ethnic restaurant serving food not easily available in the rest of the city. I think the food at that place will need to be exeptional and somewhat unusual for it to ever succeed as a restaurant.

    And, as usual, Jiggers comment makes absolutely zero sense. Why change after all this time, eh, Jiggers?

  • Jordan August 17, 2012 (8:22 am)

    I tend to avoid the Admiral district like the plague, but if they bring in the equivalent of the Red Mill burger, I will have to start making at least monthly pilgrimages up there.

  • Nick August 17, 2012 (8:47 am)

    ill be sure to give it a try once its open

  • Ann August 17, 2012 (9:16 am)

    Great news! Please give us some healthy kid meal options – even just a simple side of raw veggies to go along with the usual fare will be an improvement. Then we can ejoy your delicious food without feeling too guilty that the only veg the kids get is ketchup!

  • sun*e August 17, 2012 (9:23 am)

    Welcome to the ‘hood. I’ve always liked this building and thought it was in a great location. Don’t know why it seems to have a rotating door of restaurants but I hope this one is a hit and sticks around. We’ll be sure to check it out.

  • jiggers August 17, 2012 (9:25 am)

    dawsonct, change? I never liked Ballard. What are you reffering to anyways? I like to drink white/red whatevr wine occssionally like you guys here too, but prices have got way out of control for a stupid glass 8- 10 bucks a glass average? You need a $100 on you just to go out and be merry. Who wants to worry about how much to spend? That takes the fun out of the night out. Which means I hardly go out at all anymore. More power to the new owners if they can charge a high markup and have people buy it. Lets see how long these guys last at that spot.

  • dsa August 17, 2012 (9:43 am)

    Is this going to be a fast food burger place with a beer and wine license or a restaurant?

  • mrdarling August 17, 2012 (9:51 am)

    i forget… am i contractually obligated to work at every new west seattle restaurant? can i just hang out at this one?

  • Chris August 17, 2012 (10:14 am)

    Aaron, hope you’re reading these. Too many restaraunts have failed there, hence the sage burning. Look at Circa, always a jammed neighborhood joint, cozy with comfort food, popular and successful. With your experience, determination, menu ideas and bar development sounds like you have the right formula. BUT, something’s wrong with the flow of your space contributing to the last few failed attempts. One enters and then what? Please extend the seating across from the bar to break up the big open space so people can drop in and not be in limbo. My favorite place in SF was Il Bistro, jammed up front and they made a killing on apps and bevs in the front bar/waiting area. The seating was further in, cozy, great place for food, drink, R&R. We’d love it if a place can succeed there so good luck and thanks for investing in West Seattle.

  • Stu August 17, 2012 (11:28 am)

    Aaron, the reason Porterhouse didn’t last was their food was awful and their service was terrible. Pull up the WSB thread when they closed and you will see a lot of comments about how bad they were. A good restaurant will do great in this location. As an earlier commenter mentioned Circa is always packed. One comment, you should try to keep prices moderate, not cheap. Expensive restaurants don’t seem to survive in neighborhoods like West Seattle. Most people don’t want to spend a lot of money on a Tues, Weds, Thurs night. Pricing like Eliot Bay, Circa, Budka Ruska, etc. do well.

  • Curiouser August 17, 2012 (12:34 pm)

    Sounds like the Copper Coin will be a great addition. I’m hoping they will have some gluten-free options to go along with the great wine. ;-)

  • Ken August 17, 2012 (12:44 pm)

    Best of luck with the new endeavor! One piece of advice tho: please fix the cooking ventilation system so customers don’t come out of there smelling like the kitchen. This problem has plagued every restaurant there that I can remember.

  • LivesInWS August 17, 2012 (2:24 pm)

    Keep the outside paint job! It’ll go with the “Copper Coin” idea.

  • Barnaby August 17, 2012 (2:50 pm)

    Woot! Very excited to see this!! We love the space and look forward to being regular customers.

    I’d love to see a menu that includes a lot of local/seasonal ingredients…thinking of the menus at Quinn’s and Boat Street Cafe.

    Good luck!

  • twobottles August 17, 2012 (5:40 pm)

    I’d love to see all those taps used for local beers (Georgetown brewery, Big Al’s, etc)

  • WTF August 17, 2012 (6:01 pm)

    Welcome to the ‘hood. One piece of advice and those who came before you will say the same thing:

    And, if part of the plan is to charge $10 a glass for tap wine, rethink your strategy. Please!!!

  • MikeRussellFoto August 17, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    @newnative – generally, when people refer to “wine on tap” they are talking about “keg wines.” The system you are referring to is definitely a very different animal. And yeah, those systems are designed more for high-end wines. (RN74 has this system and you can spend $30+/glass on an aged wine, if you choose.)
    Keg wines are not high-end, generally speaking. And sadly, it’s a new trend around town. Frankly, I wish he’d focus more on (non-keg) wines rather than turning it into yet another beer joint in West Seattle. But that’s just my opinion. :-)
    Any word on whether it will be a full bar or just wine/beer?

  • Kyle August 17, 2012 (6:26 pm)

    Welcome Aaron! Don’t let those tap handles go to waste! Focus on the beer!!

  • Harry Reems August 17, 2012 (8:09 pm)

    Hope they serve Bud Light in cans. And I hope they serve plenty of gluten.

  • jiggers August 18, 2012 (7:12 am)

    That is a great location to open an eatery of some sort. And best of luck to them It’s visible and easy to find. The prior places that were in that spot in why they couldn’t last let a good oppurunity go. Part of the problem is that most restaurant owners shouldn’t be owning in the first place and have no clue what they are diving into even if they were working as a cook, bartender or other before. If you aren’t ready to be at work 16 hours a day as an owner and expect someone else to tackle your problems, you’ll fail. If you can’t communicate with your employees and have no proper social skillz you’ll fail. If you aren’t a people person you’ll fail. If you don’t know how to market yourself without spending a dime you aren’t gonna last long. You can’t treat this as an punch in, punch out job. There’s more going against you than for you. It is a passion of love that has very little reward to it. But it can be done. Last but least, you must provide value to your customer if you want return. Oh yeah.. and if you aren’t going to give better service than your competition, good luck. Look around the nieghborhood and see what they aren’t offering that you can. That helps..

  • dawsonct August 19, 2012 (10:44 am)

    My refference in my previous post, jiggers, was about your propensity to post negative, substance-free posts, the ones like your 8/18 7:12 post are rare and welcome indeed.Some excellent suggestions. I’m thinking that this guy, who is already running a successful restaurant, understands the workload.
    Of course, the same could have been said by the owners of the Porterhouse who, when I interviewed for a kitchen job a few years ago, didn’t seem to be to interested in the food, or how to pair it with all the great beer they sold. In a place of that size, they couldn’t afford to make the food an afterthought. We see the results.

    BTW, I didn’t get any indication from the article that the ONLY wine by the glass will be on a tap system.

  • alkijack August 19, 2012 (10:53 am)

    Welcome to the hood. Keep the distinctive beers on tap – no PBR, Rainier, Bud or Miller. Better yet, re-hire Krista to run the bar!

  • jiggers August 19, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    I call it like I see it dawsonct. I already looked into the owners Bio and read he already has knowledge in running a business. My last post was basically to everyone who is a wannabee owner. I’ve been in far too many places that are horrible in Seattle. I don’t know how they stay open for that long. I know that people here won’t complain and just leave.Nobody wants to be the bad guy.

  • Myr-myr August 19, 2012 (1:54 pm)

    OMG, I hope that the lamb shank is fabulous. I was talking with a friend just yesterday about how much I missed a classic roasted fall-off-the-bone lamb dish here.

  • JCH August 22, 2012 (9:53 am)

    Congrats to the new owner of this restaurant! A few requests from a person who eats out A LOT in Admiral, b/c we live here.

    1) Please take your inspiration from Circa, but do your own take on dishes (and don’t offer what they already do — though I know you have to have a burger). I say this for two reasons: We love Circa, and are incredibly impressed with the food it turns out in a small space. That said, the menu doesn’t change very often — which is both why we go and why we get bored. Their sandwiches/burgers are winners, their entrees also nice. Their prices are moderate (not cheap, not insane). But you have an option to offer some NEW entrees that are good and not also for sale everywhere else on the block. The lamb shank sounds good. How about a roasted chicken? How about shrimp and grits? An Italian sausage or other sausage plate? A braise people won’t bother to do themselves? How about an interesting salad with protein (not just a caesar with chicken, how about something with salmon… or Asian-style etc.) Serve vegetables. Serve some inventive bar snacks that aren’t fried. Make home-made salad dressing and serve a good salad — always serve a good salad. Remember the seasons — I will never forget being in The Bohemian on an 85-degree day and they were hawking the same melted-cheese-on-potatoes raclette dish that was nice in winter but nauseating on a day like that… they were attached to serving that stuff, even in summer.

    2) Wine. For the love of God, and I would say this to any beer-centric place, GET GOOD WINE. My husband loves beer; I love wine. Places invariably focus on one at the expense of the other — maybe this is b/c of distributors or laziness. But do not make wine an afterthought b/c you have taps. That Proletariat tap wine is simply not that good and people charge $10-11 for it. Cask acros the street now has it — so we’re covered at the Admiral/California corner for our Proletariat (and also some other cask-based wine). Do some tastings with wine drinkers — and I mean foodie/food snob wine drinkers — before opening… Go look at the wine list at Phoenecia or Fresh Bistro — not cheap — but people drink it b/c they put some thought into it. Keep in mind, for every beer person who walks in (often that’s a guy paying $4-7 per beer) there is often a wine person with them (often that’s his date/wife, paying $8-12 per glass of wine — and you know what, most good wine is now $9-11/glass — so have some in that range, I’d rather pay up for good than get stuck with $7/glass swill). If wine drinkers look at your list and opt for beer, you are losing $$ — and the wine half of the dining party won’t want to go to your restaurant. Get the wine right. Porterhouse staff couldn’t even tell me the names of the wines they served, so little care did they give the wine. “We have merlot or pinot” — it didn’t matter to them.

    OK, wishing you the best in that spot. Just reporting in from the lives-in-Admiral front with what I’d love to see you do in your place. Circa but bigger, with better wine.

  • S September 3, 2012 (1:02 pm)

    JCH… took the words right out of my mouth. Fingers crossed for the foodie/wine drinkers tasting!

    Copper Coin – wishing you the best of luck in Admiral. We will def. check you guys out!

  • DBP September 4, 2012 (7:21 pm)

    Advice for all the ordinary (not wealthy) people in WS who still like to eat out once in a while:
    1. Go to a nice place and share an entree and appetizer with a friend.
    2. Drink water.
    3. If you must drink alcohol, buy a nice bottle of wine at QFC (not Met Market) on your way home.
    Note: Restaurants of all kinds make most of their profit from drinks, and their prices reflect that fact. If you’re a moderate-income person, don’t sweat it. Just let the wealthy patrons buy lots of fancy drinks and keep the place in business. You can still enjoy the food.

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