Since it opened in 2015, La Copine (French for “girlfriend”) has earned recognition as the hottest new American brunch spot and supper club in California’s High Desert.
As with many of the hippest brunch spots du jour, including Hanoi House in N.Y.C. and Farm Girl in London, La Copine is owned by a stylish and charming power couple. Once a “Chopped” contestant and now the brains behind the menu, Nikki Hill met singer-songwriter Claire Wadsworth in 2012, and the two eventually married in 2015. It was during their honeymoon in Joshua Tree, spent chasing tasty eats at local favorite Pappy & Harriet’s and sound baths at the famed Integratron, that they stumbled upon the location that would later house their first restaurant. The two went from life partners to business partners when they snapped up the property, moved out to the desert, and, within four months, opened the doors at La Copine.
Primarily operating as a simple brunch spot—open Thursday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.— diners can expect to wait for a table (reservations not accepted). With no set schedule for occasional supper clubs, interested parties would be wise to sign up for the mailing list or to call to inquire ahead of a visit. But in spite of the occasional lengthy wait time, the restaurant’s popularity continues to soar, particularly among roadtrippers headed for Barstow, Big Bear, Joshua Tree, or Las Vegas along an otherwise desolate stretch of State Route 247.
Ethically sourced meats and California-grown fruits and vegetables drive the crowds to this remote oasis. Despite the challenges of sourcing the organic, all-natural, seasonal ingredients found in their isolated kitchen, La Copine makes the majority of its offerings in-house (even sausage). The Salade Copine is a hit, with house-smoked Ōra King salmon, bibb lettuce, haricot verts, radish, and fried capers, all topped with a poached egg and caraway crème fraîche.
La Copine’s only neighbor, the Pioneertown General Store, takes up residence in the restaurant’s parking lot. A silver vintage trailer has been transformed into a supply shop on wheels, carrying essentials like first aid kits and allergy medications as well as handmade prints and seven-day spell candles. The general store features special vendors and local products, too, making it the perfect spot to kill time should you end up waiting in the desert sun for the area’s best brunch.