The Copper Coil Still & Grill

I have been jonesin’ to try The Copper Coil for ages. I walk by it downtown all the time – its groovy little patio looks especially rad in the summertime. Plus, it specializes in one of the best things on earth: BBQ.

It is very difficult for me to talk about BBQ without talking about my friend Tom. My friendship with Tom was built on a foundation of meat. I first met him during my dear Kappa days at the Mr Greek UBC event, where he was competing as Mr Beta Theta Pi. His talent was cooking meat – lamb, to be specific. Once the event wrapped up, I had a chance to try some of the leftover lamb. Quite simply, it was one of the most divine things I’d ever consumed. I can’t even remember if Tom won Mr Greek UBC, but I can confirm that he did win over my friendship. I discovered that Tom was a bona fide BBQ master and throughout our friendship, I have had the opportunity to sample all kinds of concoctions, perhaps the most notable of which was musk ox.

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I don’t seem to have many photos of myself and Tom readily accessible. This one from… 2005??… seems suitable

I digress. That has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post.

Cedric had been to The Copper Coil before we’d moved to Squamish and it had left a lukewarm impression on him, so whenever I tried to steer us in that direction, he usually tried (and succeeded) to steer us elsewhere. However, when we found out that our friend Erik (of the world famous Big Love Band) was playing at The Copper Coil, I knew it was FINALLY my time to enjoy some sweet, sweet BBQ to some toe tappin’ tunes.

We showed up around 7:30 on a Friday night – unsurprisingly, the place was packed. It’s not a huge restaurant, but we didn’t have to wait too long before a couple of spots opened up by the bar.

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The Big Love Band raising the roof

Looking around, my impression was that the place had real character. There was a bunch of cool guy stuff like a collection of beer tap thingies and model cars of varying degrees of old timiness.

I was famished and everything on the menu looked divine – but in hindsight, most of the offerings weren’t terribly different than the things you’d find at any good pub. It had all the essentials: wings, yam fries, pulled pork sandwich, burgers, poutine, a few salad options. There were a few items that you probably wouldn’t find at a typical restaurant, such as deep-fried Cajun pickles, smoked brisket (served on two buttermilk biscuits – brisket on biscuits, I like the sound of that), gumbo, and jambalaya.

The prices seemed a little steep – the gumbo is $22.95, the veggie burger is $15.95 – but they didn’t feel completely out of line with the Whistler pub prices that we’d become accustomed to paying.

I opted to go with the pulled pork sandwich. I LOVE a good pulled pork sandwich and I feel like pulled pork is a good meat by which to measure a BBQ place. Plus, it came served with curly fries. I LOVE CURLY FRIES! I don’t know of anywhere else in Whistler or Squamish that serves them.

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The food arrived. The fries were phenomenal. The sandwich was served on the shiniest darned brioche that I ever did see. The bottom bun couldn’t hope to support the glorious pile of meat, slaw, and sauce that it contained, so I ended up eating the sandwich with a knife and fork, which felt oddly pretentious.

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Because two angles of pulled pork taken in a dark bar with an iPhone camera is better than one

The pulled pork sandwich was good – very good. Cedric’s bison burger went over well, too.

And yet.

I liked The Copper Coil, but I can’t help but feel like they’re missing the opportunity to let their inner BBQ star really shine. The truth is, I can get a pulled pork sandwich at a lot of places. This was a good one, but was it that much more memorable than one from the Howe Sound brew pub across the road or from any of the apres hot spots in Whistler? Maybe – but only because of the killer curly fries.

As someone who knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about restaurants (i.e., my opinion is unbelievably unqualified), I feel that The Copper Coil should embrace its BBQness more aggressively. Give me collard greens and beans as sides! Serve me a deep fried chocolate bar on a stick for dessert! Serve the pulled park sans bun – let the meat do the talking! It’s so good – don’t let it become just another pulled pork sandwich. Let that shredded meat SHINE as it deserves to!

All in all, it was a fun night out. I can see myself coming back in the summer, nabbing a spot in the sun on the patio, and consuming curly fries with the level of adoration that I typically reserve for the waffle fries at GLC. Now excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

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