After a massive renovation of an historic downtown Belleville building, the Eichholz family has been operating the Copper Fire Bar and Eatery for just over a month.
“It’s all about the experience. We want everyone who walks in here to get excited about having something different in Belleville,” said Renae Eichholz, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Mark Eichholz, and their son, Brett Eichholz.
If you plan on visiting the restaurant at 200 E. Main St., here are five things to know:
The Copper Fire menu is scheduled to be updated this month.
“We haven’t expanded our menu completely yet, that’s in the works,” Renae Eichholz said. “We will be having daily food specials and drink specials.”
There will be some additions to the current menu and some subtractions based on customer responses “and our own taste buds,” Mark Eichholz said. Also, Copper Fire expects to offer a light night menu.
Along with changes to the menu, the restaurant plans to register with the Nowait app. This free app will allow people to get their names on the Copper Fire waiting list.
When you check in with Nowait, you can see how long the current wait time is at a restaurant. Nowait says it will text you “as soon as your table is ready.”
Copper Fire takes reservations for groups of five or more and also for a private dining room that seats up to 12 and has a window to the kitchen. The restaurant can serve 150 people inside and 36 on the outdoor sidewalk seating.
For more information, call 618-235-5010 or check out the Copper Fire page on Facebook or its website at thecopperfire.com. The hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m.
Popular items so far
Burgers; beef brisket with au jus; beef Wellington; “drunken,” or brined, chicken; lobster Rangoons; BBQ shrimp and sausage and chili have been some of the popular menu items ordered by Copper Fire customers.
The top two favorite specialty cocktails are the Bali Bali, which includes two types of rum, gin, cognac, passion fruit, pineapple and orange juice; and the blueberry pomegranate Long Island, which includes vodka, gin and rum.
‘High tech’ ovens
The Copper Fire kitchen does not use traditional restaurant-style ovens.
Instead, it is equipped with what Renae Eichholz described as “high tech” Unox ovens made in Italy. The ovens circulate heat and introduce steam into the oven.
Brett Eichholz said restaurants usually use the Unox ovens as a complement to traditional ovens instead of using them exclusively.
“I think we’ve come a long way,” Renae Eichholz said about the Copper Fire’s use of the Unox ovens.
The former department store building has plenty of room for expansion and the Eichholz family has some ideas on how to use the space.
“We’d like to open that second floor up,” Mark Eichholz said.
The second floor is situated toward the back of the building and it does not cover the current restaurant and bar space on the first floor.
The initial plans call for a new stairway from the first floor of the restaurant to the second floor. The building already has an elevator.
The second floor is now covered with a wall but that would be removed and replaced with a railing so diners on the second floor could overlook the first floor.
Brett Eichholz said the second-floor work may be done next year.
This space may be remodeled to accommodate 75 to 100 people and could be reserved for events such as a class reunion.
Long before this phase begins, the restaurant plans to continue adding to the artwork already on display.
“The décor is a work in progress,” Renae Eichholz said. They expect to get new pieces this weekend during Art on the Square.
Main Street connection
Copper Fire is not Renae Eichholz’s first venture on Main Street in downtown Belleville.
She has operated her medical billing firm, Precision Practice Management, at 218A W. Main St. for 24 years, just four blocks from Copper Fire.
“I love Belleville. This is why we did this,” she said about opening Copper Fire. “We’ve owned this building for several years and had the opportunity to do something on our own.”