Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Copper Rill Restaurant opens in old Rutabaga's location

Jud Wilcox and Shandi Fujimoto, who opened Copper Rill Restaurant on Saturday night in the old Rutabaga's location.
Those of you who mourned the passing of Rutabaga's on River Parkway will be glad to know that a new restaurant, Copper Rill, has opened there and that the chef, Jud Wilcox, used to handle the dinner menu for Rutabaga's.

Wilcox and his partner, Shandi Fujimoto, opened the restaurant Saturday and are bringing it up to speed this week. While Wilcox worked for Rutabaga's in the days when it was owned by Wesley Beard, most recently he was at Whitewater Grill.

He received his culinary training at Johnson & Wales University near Providence, R.I., where he was also on the wrestling team ("It was the only college in the country with a culinary school and a wrestling team, so it's where I went," he said.) He spent four years as a chef tournade for the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., consulting in restaurants and kitchens for executive chef Ziggy Eisenberger.

The key to a successful restaurant is having the right people. "Staffing is huge," he said. "And just caring about what you do."

Although he learned the fundamentals of classic French cooking in college, the menu at Copper Rill is broader and more eclectic, ranging from mahi-mahi tacos ($11) to filet mignon ($28). The Web site is not active yet, but the menus will be posted as soon as it is, Fujimoto said.

To whet your curiosity (and perhaps your appetite), here is Copper Rill's lunch menu: