Best Of 2019

Best Restaurant Striving to Be Waste Free: Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Covington

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you’ve no doubt noticed there is a lot of waste in the kitchen. Chef Mitch Arens at Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Covington decided to make a serious effort to reduce the amount of collateral damage most chefs see as admissible by employing a “snout to tail” and “root to stem” approach that utilizes every available scrap. Arens, a Tri-State native, worked at New Orleans’ Cochon Butcher before returning home last year to take the helm of the Northern Kentucky eatery and brought with him that former restaurant’s eco ethos and focus on low-impact food. The menu reflects Arens’ intent with dishes like pesto made with carrot greens — which are often removed as part of cleaning the root vegetable, despite the fact that carrot greens are not only edible, but also impart a deep, delicious flavor. Along with turning pieces of veggies and unconventional cuts of meat into delicious entrées, like lamb neck ragu, there’s an effort to recycle food waste and source everything ethically and locally. Because they don’t have the space to butcher and store in house, Arens is working with local farms to see what meat they’re having a hard time moving to make sure that the entire animal is being utilized. And if you think “snout to tail” sounds barbarous, well, maybe you need to remember who your meal was before it hit your plate. Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar, 638 Madison Ave., Covington, hotelcovington.com.