On Jan. 5, when the former health-care industry professional opened her present from attorney husband Mike Butterworth, she opened the doors to the Copper Monkey (725 Conti St., 527-0868), a 24/7 French Quarter bar with an adventurous food menu.
"A lot of people come in here expecting bar food," says Butterworth. "But then we serve them rib-eyes and crabs, and they leave really impressed."
The Butterworths partnered with another couple, Johnny and Tina Robards, veterans of the French Quarter service-industry scene, who provide expertise for the venture.
"[Owning our own place] is something we've been wanting to do for a long time," says Johnny Robards, who, like his wife Tina, has been a bartender on Bourbon Street for years. "This opportunity became available, so we went for it."
Patrons enjoy food and drink in a courtyard filled with French Quarter charm. The Copper Monkey also hosts crawfish, shrimp or crab boils (depending on the season) there on Fridays and holds private, catered parties.
Inside, tables line a wall where house specials are written out in chalk: $2 Miller High Life, daily food specials such as stuffed crab shells and, unique to Copper Monkey, Monkey Buns, a beignet-like dessert filled with banana cream that's a family recipe of chef Joe "Kiss" Villella. Classic rock from David Bowie and the Police comes from the jukebox, though Robards says the day starts with jazz and blues in the music rotation. Robards' brother Jason mans the bar, which holds 23 bottled beers and a wide range of liquors. On Fridays, an iced-down bucket of five domestic beers is $10; five imported beers is $15.
Though he is always thrilled to see tourists and out-of-state workers, Robards' focus in on serving locals, with particular attention to friends and peers in the service industry.
"We have great steak prices," he says. "We stick to local prices, because that's who we're dealing with."
Get Some Counseling
Family Resources of New Orleans, a nonprofit certified housing-counseling agency, will conduct a first-time homebuyers training class on Oct. 14 and 21 at 817 N. Claiborne Ave. Call 822-8519 for details.