Passenger Pick of the Month
Copper Falls Steakhouse
Celebrating the anniversary of their tenth year, Copper Falls has established itself as one of Cayman’s best restaurants. As this month’s Passenger Pick of the Month, we wanted to learn more about the story behind Copper Falls, so recently we caught up with owner Frank Fleiger.
PP: Interesting name for a steakhouse, so how did you choose “Copper Falls”?
FF: We were considering many different names, while browsing the Internet and came upon a site which sold beautiful copper waterfall pieces. That’s when we realized that would be the design for our steakhouse and we created the restaurant around that theme.
PP: We noticed 3 different copper water falls in the restaurant. Neat atmosphere. Tell us what brought you to Cayman.
FF: I first came here on vacation in ’96. With 24 years of restaurant management experience, I was offered a job and came back a few weeks later ready to work. I then fell in love with my future wife Dianne, married in 2002. I managed a trio of restaurants and eventually opened Copper Falls Steakhouse, April 2005.
PP: What led to you start Copper Falls?
FF: I’m a steak lover. I grew up in Canada on Alberta AAA beef. As a kid, in mid winter mom would ask me to go out and cook steaks for the family. I’d go outside, clear the snow off the grill, light it and then right back inside to warm up. Later I’d go outside, throw the steaks on the grill, then right back inside to warm up. 3 minutes afterwards I’m back outside to flip the steaks.
PP:Then right back inside to warm up?
FF: You got it! So I grew up on steak. And I’ve always wanted to start a steakhouse. And the weather in Cayman is a bit warmer!
PP: Many passengers say you serve the best steak on the island. What is your secret to the perfect steak?
FF: The perfect steak secret: Quality meat cooked to the perfect temperature.
PP: Maggie Quinn, who works for Certified Angus Beef, is frequently on my flight and told me, “Copper Falls buys the very best beef.”
FF: We certainly appreciate Maggie. Our Angus beef is aged 28-35 days, which breaks down the enzymes, making the steak feel like it melts in your mouth. All our steaks are hand cut every day, except the Porter House. We just add a little salt and pepper and then it’s on the grill. We don’t mask the flavor by adding bacon, sauces, etc.
PP: Passengers feel you are one of the best values on the island because you include extras: a cocktail and two sides with every meal...Why so generous?
FF: One thing that bugged me about north American steakhouses is that everything is a la cart. We wanted to be different.
PP: So that’s where you got the idea.
FF: Yes, our concept is that you get added value by having two sides and a drink included in the price of entrees. There are not many restaurants in the world that include a drink with each and every entrée.
PP: It’s definitely working. You seem to have a terrific following of locals.
FF: About 50% of our clientele are locals.
PP: You and Dianne are quite the team! What roles do you each play?
FF: Dianne is in charge of the books and all paper work dealing with the restaurant. I take care of operations, although we come together when dealing with just about anything that pertains to the restaurant.
PP: How do you stay so reliable with your service and food?
FF: The key is consistency. It must be great every time: service, food, atmosphere. It’s paying attention to detail. We have terrific servers with 10-15 years of experience. We are very lucky in that many of our team members have been with us for many years, some of whom have been with us from the start. Sergio, our award winning bartender, has been here from day 1. Its familiar faces and getting to know them that keep our loyal guests returning time and time again.
PP: Tell us about your Executive Chef.
FF: Chef Marcus has been with us for the last 6 years and has the same beliefs about food as we do: serve the best quality ingredients, prepared to the guests liking, and do it consistently.
PP: When you launched Copper Falls, you experienced quite an unexpected “development phase”. Tell us about that.
FF: Hurricane Ivan hit in September 2004, shortly before we signed the deal for this place. We had 5 feet of water on the walls. After 6 months of extensive renovation, we opened in April 2005.
PP: What was the biggest challenge?
FF: Biggest challenge after Ivan was to take our time to do it right. It was not easy considering the damage that was done to the island and our restaurant but we did the best we could to put together the restaurant you see today and of course we are very happy with the end result. While the hurricane was horrible, it did give us the opportunity to rebuild it the way we wanted.
PP: We like the creative yet simple menu. Besides seven cuts of steak and a 12 ounce rack of lamb, we see such delicious entrées as a Parmesan and Dijon Crusted Chicken with a garlic demi glaze, Crispy Salmon with a light Mediterranean sauce or a 12 ounce Pork Chop with homemade applesauce.
FF: Thanks. We try to keep our menu simple and stay away from the fancy names. In fact, we were just awarded the 2014 Trip Advisor “Certificate of Excellence”. Only 10% of businesses achieve this. We’re really proud of this accomplishment.
PP: As you should be. Friends, for an outstanding steak, what many of our passengers say is the best on island, don’t miss the Copper Falls experience. And ask for Frank!
Copper Falls Steakhouse
43 Canal Point Road
(across from The Strand shopping plaza)