LOUDONVILLE ─ The Copper Mug has created a fresh dining experience for customers with a renovated space and updated menus.
The fine-dining restaurant at Landoll’s Mohican Castle recently finished the renovation. The bright red walls are gone. Pictures and antiques from the Landoll family are now featured in the black-painted space.
General manager Anthony Garofalo said the business planned to construct a building for the restaurant until the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, making the project financially challenging. It instead invested the money in upgrading the place.
Local Amish craftsmen made shelves and completed the major works for Copper Mug. Garofalo said customers can check the history of the castle and the Landoll family at the restaurant, including pictures about the construction in the 1990s and a copper pot from the castle’s old restaurant, which burned down in 2008.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle originated from the founder Jim Landoll's love for European castles. The Copper Mug now showcases many of Landoll’s collections of children’s books. The founder was in the coloring books business for years.
The restaurant welcomes customers with its new lunch and dinner menus. Executive chef Alex Jacob said the new menus are more for an anniversary or a special occasion while the previous one was more casual.
“My goal is to bring people out here that aren't just coming here to eat. I mean, they want to see everything (at the castle) and they want to experience it,” he said.
Still, Copper Mug is not a restaurant where people have to dress up. Jacob and Garofalo both said they serve all kinds of customers.
“You have people come here that are in suits and ties, and then they're sitting next to somebody that's wearing camo pants. So, you have that flexibility to get the people out here that you want,” Jacob said.
Customers have been enjoying the new meals, Garofalo said. One of the popular appetizers is Pork Belly Banh Mi “Tacos.” The crispy pork belly goes in a steam bao bun with carrot, picked daikon and the restaurant’s “ninja sauce.”
Garofalo said the sauce is aioli-based. People will have a nice herb and cream taste at first and feel the spice from chili oil afterward.
Castle’s Famous Short Ribs is one of the restaurant’s signature items. Garofalo said the main recipe came from celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay, who brought his show Hotel Hell to Copper Mug and boosted the business several years ago.
Also on the new dinner menu is Schnizellandoll, a dish made with a thin schnitzel, ham, swiss and a creamy cheese sauce. Jacob said it’s something that Landoll’s son and the castle’s general manager, Jimmy, grew up eating.
Jacob said he was hesitant when tasked with putting schnitzel on the menu because he didn’t plan for it. But he successfully used all the ingredients and turned them into a fine dining meal.
Copper Mug’s business has picked up since opening for indoor dining, Garofalo said. The restaurant has benefited from “staycations” that people are taking amid the pandemic. However, some challenges remain.
Garofalo said the restaurant wants to expand its service team in response to the growing business. But getting quality servers is not easy at the moment. Neither is maintaining the extensive wine list.
The pandemic has affected the transportation of Copper Mug’s several items. Garofalo said it’s hard to get genuine champagne from France. Even some regular sparkling wine from the U.S. is hard to obtain. The servers can only try their best to explain it to the customers and hopefully, they can find something else for them.
The Copper Mug opens daily at 8:30 a.m. It closes at 8 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. More information could be found on the restaurant's website.