By Krin Mims
A little over three years ago, we moved to Hopkinsville, and I immediately asked locals where they loved to dine. Our first week here, we heard multiple times that we should visit Harper House, so after a hectic week of unpacking and settling in, we made our way downtown to see just what we’d been missing.
Owners Chris and Nelson Daniels have created a warm and exciting atmosphere with the constant anticipation of a remarkable dining experience. While the menu and décor changes seasonally, the cuisine’s excellence does not.
During our most recent dinner at Harper House, we found out that it was the final night of their summer menu. Our server, Drew, quickly explained some of the additions, and I was instantly ready to review the fall menu as well.
Drinks and appetizers made their way to the table and we noshed on the flatbread selection of the night with homemade cheese curds. The chef chose to create a flatbread with a teriyaki base and decorated with peppers, onions, mango and shrimp — it was grilled to perfection and gone in moments.
The cheese curds at Harper House deserve to be on a menu all on their own. They are that good. Hot, gooey, breaded morsels of bliss — so good that you’ll burn your tongue simply because patience isn’t a virtue when you’re staring them down.
They were situated in a small wire basket accompanied by my favorite Harper House condiment, the Homemade Barbeque Sauce. Served warm, the sauce was sweet, tangy, had a touch of heat and one ramekin wasn’t enough.
No meal at Harper House is complete without the complementary Sweet Cornbread made with local Sunflower Corn Meal. We always save room for those warm, triangles of cornbread happiness.
Knowing that the menu was changing the next day, we ordered some of our faithful favorites for the main course. We decided on Crispy BBQ Dipped Chicken served with mac and cheese and HH famous Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Low Country Shrimp and Grits.
The chicken was fried to perfection and hand-dipped in that BBQ Sauce. If you’ve never tried Harper House’s Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts, you just haven’t lived. These are sweet, savory, perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts that will melt in your mouth. The Shrimp & Grits never disappoint with creamy cheese grits made from locally produced corn meal, sautéed shrimp, crisp bacon and a broth of noticeable heat, fresh lemon and garlic. Your senses will sing!
Just moments before we left, Chris emerged from the kitchen with a copy of the new fall menu that would debut the next evening. With a tagline of “Get ready for a full belly and a smile,” I knew I had to give it a try.
We waited a week and returned to review the new selections — I’ll do whatever it takes to please my readers! The new menu included Mike’s Meatloaf, Braised Short Rib, Five Spice Baby Back Stack, Macadamia Mahi Mahi and more.
We couldn’t resist the Meatloaf or Short Rib, and both entrees took comfort food to a new level. We chose sides, such as Creamy Polenta, those irresistible Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Onion Strings. The meatloaf was stacked meticulously with layers of Texas toast, potatoes, meatloaf, crisp seasoned onion strings and dressed with rich gravy.
The short rib was cooked to the point that it practically dissolved in my mouth. Slow-cooked with a rich cognac sauce and accompanied perfectly with a savory polenta, it was the perfect fall/winter meal in a bowl.
Harper House can be enjoyed as a special date night, a family evening out or even a place to meet after work for appetizers and drinks by the bar. A large banquet room also serves beautifully for parties and meetings. I would suggest taking well-behaved children that are willing to politely sit through a nice meal. This is not the place for unhappy campers! Also, as with most experiences in life, you get what you pay for. Harper House delivers high-quality food with prices to match. The service, ambiance and warm welcomes accent this eclectic but comforting dining experience.
Cuisine: Fine dining
Location: 914 S. Main Street, Hopkinsville