I finally stopped by Coopers on 5th to see what all of the fuss was about. I’d heard from numerous friends that this was a nice little Valley Junction neighborhood restaurant and I’ve read a number of positive reviews as well. After a very nice lunch I can say that Coopers is a very good American interpretation of an English pub. By that I mean that while it does not pretend to be an English pub, it successfully serves the same purpose, providing solid comfort food with a full bar for drinks. This is unlike the typical American neighborhood bar where more often than not the beer is Bud and the food is fried.
The latest incarnation seems to be reasonably similar to previous versions. It is fairly small and comfortable, with room for one larger party, tables for several couples, a few large booths and several stools along the small bar. I have a vague memory of a previous restaurant/bar was here that served some top-shelf absinthe cocktails not long after absinthe was legalized in the U.S.
I tried the Cielo Burger ($9) which is a half-pound of beef topped with Tuscan seasoned roasted red peppers, grilled onions, melted cheese and herb whipped mayo. It is finished with a Parmesan herb cheese crisp. Everyone in the party was quite satisfied.
Based on the crowd on the Saturday that we visited, it seems that Coopers is well positioned to serve the Valley Junction shopping crowd. Most of the diners I saw seemed to be of the shopper variety. If Coopers can also draw some traffic during the evenings when the junk stores close then it ought to do well.