When restaurateur Matt Dillon closed Pioneer Square spot Bar Sajor this summer, it sounded as if he'd be passing the space to another owner. But after Copal opened last month (see the November 23 update), it eventually became clear that Dillon was a co-owner of the new Latin American eatery, a relief for fans of his prodigious talents.
Now there’s finally official word about the restaurant, courtesy of a press release from Dillon. In addition to the smell of smoldering copal resin, expect to get the aromas of roasted meats and smoky vegetables: "The menu is inspired by the vibrant flavors and ingredients spanning Latin America with everything cooked over the flames and hot coals of the wood oven."
As noted previously, the menu comprises dishes like barbacoa and poblano tacos, watermelon salad, grilled Salvadoran cheese, smoked pumpkin quesadilla, smoked pork in banana leaves, and rotisserie chicken. A drinks list has a section of alcohol-free agua frescas, a couple of local beers on draft alongside the usual mass-produced suspects in bottles, as well as a half-dozen house cocktails that lean tropical, like a green macaw with gin and maraschino liqueur, a pear pisco sour, and, of course, a margarita.
Copal is open every day except Sunday, with weekday lunch counter-service plus table service for dinner Monday through Saturday. There will be special hours for game days, with the possibility of tailgate parties, and a forthcoming morning service with fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies. Dillon and company will also add a weekend brunch in early 2017, monthly late night parties, and open the upstairs loft lounge and private event space soon.
Partners in the venture include Eric Fisher, who handles the branding for all of Dillon's restaurants; Chris Rice, who has worked with Kimpton hotels and at Tavolata; and Emma Schwartzman, who was design consultant for the Ballard Pizza Company and Bar Cotto. The chef is Taber Turpin, who founded the late Taco Gringos, the popular late-night walk-up window taken over by Kedai Makan and now occupied by Tortas Condesa. And the general manager is Erin Counts, who previously managed Bar Ferdinand.
323 Occidental Ave. S, (206) 682-1117, website. Open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.