Copperhead Saloon snaps back
New owners reopen Stratford bar and grill
STRATFORD — When the original owners opened Copperhead Saloon & Grill, 802 Iowa Highway175, they surely didn’t envision a global pandemic, a burglary and a fire impacting the business. But over the course of one year, each of those unfortunate events became reality.
Jeff Bergman and Larry Swank opened the restaurant in September of 2019. In March of 2020, restrictions from COVID-19 shut the establishment down. Then in August of 2020, the restaurant was burglarized and caught fire.
The owners had plans to eventually reopen, but instead sold to current owners Mike and Patti Glynn, of Boone.
“We stepped in and said we wanted it,” Patti Glynn said.
The restaurant was remodeled with new tables and chairs. Glynn’s company, Servicemaster Restoration By Moorman, of Boone, was responsible for the restoration. She sold Servicemaster, of Ames, to be able to get into the restaurant business.
“We spent a lot of time and energy here,” said Patti Glynn.
The restaurant reopened in March.
Mike Glynn moved to Iowa from Wisconsin about 15 years ago.
“I came here to build pole barns and drink beer,” he said. “That was the promise my buddy made me.”
He met Patti Glynn nine years ago.
“We met standing room only at Toby-K’s Hideaway (in Boone),” Mike Glynn recalled. “She just stood next to me.”
The couple had always wanted to own a restaurant. Mike Glynn had done some bartending for the Old Goat Barn in Ackley.
“We were looking for a tavern anyway,” Mike Glynn said. “This came across us and we said, ‘OK, give it a shot.'”
He added, “The previous owners work a lot on the pipeline so they needed someone local to take it over.”
The couple decided to stick with the name and outdoor theme of the restaurant.
“It was already done,” Mike Glynn said. “It was already beautiful. The name was already established as well. It already looked good. It already sounded good. There was several people in the community that helped build it.”
The name itself was borrowed from the previous owners’ favorite bar in Louisiana. They worked on the pipeline while in that state.
“They were down in Louisiana and there was a place called Copperhead they liked going to,” said local Travis Sonksen.
The large, inviting lodge-like dining room area is decorated with mounts of deer and elk. The walls are made of hemlock wood, giving the restaurant a rustic look.
Jared Berglund, of Dayton, was instrumental in the initial construction of the restaurant. Berglund and several members of the community spent about two and a half years working on it.
Berglund runs a concrete business in Stratford.
“The previous owner is a good friend of ours, so we were helping out,” Berglund said.
The building was originally built in 1969. It first opened as a Chrysler car dealership before later becoming home to telemarketing company and then a gun store, according to Berglund.
“When we first started (construction), it was a gun barn and there were people that lived in the south half of it,” Berglund recalled. “The north half sold guns, fishing, tackle that kind of thing.”
The interior was gutted. The 8 foot tall ceilings were raised up to be about twice that height.
“We took it clear up,” Berglund said.
The kitchen along with two bathrooms were remodeled. Landscaping was done around the property.
“There was a ton of people who helped,” Berglund said.
The food portions at Copperhead are generous. The menu includes steak and a variety of specialty burgers.
The Portabella mushrooms, rich in flavor, have become a signature item of the restaurant.
Wednesdays are steak nights — with both sirloin and ribeye available. Tacos are served on Tuesday nights.
Mike Glynn said the aged steak has become increasingly popular.
“The aged ribeye,” he said. “I put it on the grill and it was the best thing I’ve had in my life, hands down. There hasn’t been one person come through here that can say anything different.”
Sandwiches include Reuben, fish, Philly and others. The bacon bourbon burger is a favorite of Patti Glynn’s. That comes served on a brioche bun with choice of cheese and barbecue sauce. The burger is served with a side of onion rings.
Patti Glynn prides herself on customer service. She will often greet customers with a “Hey y’all,” as they enter the business.
The biggest challenge, she said, has been letting people know the Copperhead Saloon is operating again.
The restaurant seats 114 people. About 20 people are employed at Copperhead.
“We have workers from mostly Stratford, but some from Fort Dodge, some from Ogden, a couple from Boone and even some from Ames,” Patti Glynn said.
Wednesday nights get busy as that is also bike night. Live music is booked on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“We get a lot of motorcycles that come through,” Patti Glynn said. “And the river is nearby. A lot of bikes and side by sides.”
Patti Glynn has enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere created at Copperhead.
“What makes me smile — we have some regulars and I am a kid person. We have coloring books, the kids give me high fives. The family atmosphere we create. Knowing people by name. Families don’t mind bringing their kids here. It’s a fun environment.
“During the day people can come in and relax. We have a patio. At night it turns from restaurant/bar to a live entertainment bar. We are trying to bring what the old bars and restaurants used to be. Trying to bring that back. A local, fun place.”