Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is going into the Markets at Town Center

New restaurant planned for former Whisky River spot at St. Johns Town Center

By Roger Bull Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 4:40 pm | updated Wed, Jun 24, 2015 @ 5:48 am

Whisky River, the restaurant/nightclub concept launched by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, is seen at its former spot at the St. Johns Town Center.
Whisky River, the restaurant/nightclub concept launched by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, is seen at its former spot at the St. Johns Town Center.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is going into the Markets at Town Center spot where Whisky River closed last year.

The chain, based in suburban Chicago, has four elements to its concept: The restaurant, a full-service bar, a private barrel-aging room and a tasting room with gift shop.

It does have a winery in Orland Park, Ill., using grapes purchased from California, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Washington.

The winery and restaurant’s almond sparkling wine in its best seller, CEO and founder Tim McEnery told the Wall Street Journal last year.

“The second best-selling wine is our Pinot Noir,” he said. “That speaks to our range of consumers.”

The restaurant refers to itself as “upscale casual,” and its website shows $11 burgers to $34 steaks.

Its online reviews range from 3½ to 4½ stars.

The first Cooper’s Hawk opened in 2005 and it now has 19 restaurants including three in Florida: two in Orlando and one in Tampa.

“We won’t open a restaurant unless we can get to $10 million,” McEnery told the Wall Street Journal, referring to a location’s potential annual revenue.

Gillett Construction has the contract for the transformation at 4850 Big Island Drive: $2,670,112 and 13,200 square feet.

Whisky River, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., closed in January 2014 while owing more than $140,000 in back rent.

Love beets at Cooper’s Hawk

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants is celebrating spring with a new menu.

They are offering almost two dozen items, including the Burrata, Golden Beet & Arugula Bruschetta. Chefs are even willing to share the recipe. But, they are available if you would rather have someone else do the cooking.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery
1146 Town & Country Crossing Drive
Town & Country, MO 60317

Burrata, Golden Beet & Arugula Bruschetta

· 1 loaf of soft Italian bread
· 3 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
· 5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
· 3 golden beets
· 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
· 1 tsp water
· 1 pinch kosher salt
· 1 cup baby arugula
· Juice from half of a lemon
· 5 oz. burrata cheese
· Kosher salt and black pepper to taste


· To prepare the roasted beets, rub each beet with olive oil and kosher salt. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and roast beets in a covered pan for an hour until you can easily stick a knife though. Cool, then use a clean towel to rub off skin. Set aside.

· Slice Italian bread in to half inch thick pieces. Brush both sides of bread with soft butter and grill on both sides until crispy, with visible grill marks.

· Place ricotta cheese in a bowl and whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

· Cut the grilled bread in half and spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese on each piece and top with a thin layer of sliced golden beets.

· In a small bowl, combine arugula, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Mix well until even coated. Place salad on top of golden beet slices and press down lightly.

· Cut the burrata into even quarters and delicately place two pieces of burrata per bruschetta.

· Finish with fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

The Man with the Plan

The Man with the Plan – Sonya Chudgar – June 2015 – FSR Magazine

Tim McEnery, who began sketching out the plan for his winery and restaurant concept at the age of 24, always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur—though he acknowledges that could’ve been anything from a foodservice brand to “a cool car wash.”<br />

Tim McEnery, who began sketching out the plan for his winery and restaurant concept at the age of 24, always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur—though he acknowledges that could’ve been anything from a foodservice brand to “a cool car wash.” KARL BREWICK

The founder and CEO of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Tim McEnery the nation’s fifth-largest winery outside California, has 19 units approaching $10 million in sales volume apiece, and projects $150 million in revenues this year—and he’s just getting started.

A few weeks ago, Tim McEnery was at a supermarket in the suburbs of Chicago, perusing the cereal aisle, shopping basket dangled nonchalantly over the crook of his elbow. He glanced from name to name on the shelves—did he want his favorite, Frosted Flakes, or a more robust wheat bite?—while tugging on his polo, which had a logo of a delicate white feather in the corner, along with a few inscrutable words that dissolved into a wrinkle.

In the midst of his crucial breakfast decision, a teenager, no more than 15 years old, suddenly spoke up next to him. “Do you work at Cooper’s Hawk? That’s my favorite restaurant!”

McEnery looked up, taken aback. The polo had given him away. But he started a jovial conversation with the youth, discussing their mutual appreciation of the restaurant, and then the transaction ended as quickly as it had begun. Never once did McEnery let on to the teenager that he doesn’t just work at Cooper’s Hawk; he is founder and CEO of the 19-unit company that projects revenues of $150 million this year.

For a company that owns its own winery, the fifth-largest outside California, the success is credible. By placing equal emphasis on food and beverage, and amassing a 130,000-member wine club, the demand for more Cooper’s Hawk units is growing.

“In five years, we’ll probably be at 40–50 restaurants, I think, but the number isn’t the goal,” McEnery says. “Doing it well and keeping it interesting is the goal.”

Humble yet confident, McEnery is doing nothing if not keeping things interesting. He has created a restaurant company that relies on consumers’ growing fascination with wine, banking on their desire to join a wine club that encourages them to come to the restaurant to pick up an exclusive bottle each month, and perhaps dine there while they’re on premise. McEnery’s proclivity for entrepreneurship and his understanding of consumer preferences are fueling his business and gaining him looks from around the industry.

“We have people picking up their wines of the month who just got done working at the car wash all the way up to some incredible executives,” McEnery, 38, says. “It’s really across the board with the wine club, which makes me very excited.”

The varied demographics participating in the wine club echoes the customers who dine at Cooper’s Hawk. As McEnery says, he hears teenagers at the grocery store call Cooper’s Hawk their favorite restaurant, and he also sees everyone from families with little kids, ladies out shopping, business professionals, and couples come by to grab a bite or sip varietals for hours.

“We did it early on accident, but now we do it purposefully: Whether it’s the menu, the wine program, the design—everything is built for approachability and providing something for everyone. I know there are a lot of marketing people who say, ‘You can’t do something for everyone; you have to pick who your audience is going to be and design it that way,’” he adds. “But there’s nothing cookie cutter about what we’re doing at Cooper’s Hawk.”


Crain’s Chicago – Fast Fifty



Location: Countryside
2014 revenue: $117.4 million
Five-year growth: 425%
Local employees: 468
Total employees: 1,259
Profitable? Yes
What it does: Operates a winery and restaurant chain; distributes wine through its wine club
How it grew: Opening more restaurants and keeping menus fresh and relevant; adding members to its wine club, making it one of the largest in the country


Crain’s annual roundup of the fastest-growing Chicago companies could be one of the best indicators of the marketplace.

We present 50 companies that achieved impressive gains over a five-year period, highlighting companies that are new to the list. Crain’s reporters and researchers studied each company and asked probing questions of CEOs to figure out how they grew. What did each company do to achieve impressive gains? And how do they plan to sustain them?

10 Years of Success at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Everybody has to start somewhere, and for Tim McEnery, founder and CEO of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, it all began with washing dishes at the age of 11.

Now nearing the ten-year anniversary of a dream come true, his journey goes to show that hard work — and a little bit of wine — really does pay off.

Indianapolis, IN - Dining

Indianapolis, IN – Dining

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

By high school McEnery worked his way up to becoming a restaurant manager. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hotel management, he became the general manager of a country club; later, he joined Lynfred Winery in Illinois to learn the wine trade.

Arlington Heights, IL - Private Party Room

Arlington Heights, IL – Private Party Room

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

The epiphany came when McEnery and his wife were wine tasting in Illinois. While hopping from winery to winery, he noticed that few of them had restaurant components.

Tim McEnery of Cooper's Hawk

Tim McEnery of Cooper’s Hawk

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

“During the early days of Cooper’s Hawk’s inception, I would wake up two hours early to make sure that my business plan and ideas were solid before pitching the idea to investors,” says McEnery. “It’s always a tough sell in the hospitality industry but after a few investors meetings, I was able to secure backing and ten years ago, the idea of Cooper’s Hawk came to fruition.”

Barrel Room

Barrel Room

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

With over 50 different varietals ranging from sparkling almond wine to Lux Meritage, as well as the standards such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cooper’s Hawk produced over 260,000 cases of wine last year. Sourced from grapes from the best vineyards in Michigan, California, and Washington, Cooper’s Hawk also developed a number of international blends such as the upcoming Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as putting a great amount of focus on the winery’s eco efforts.

Barrel Reserve

Barrel Reserve

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

“We saved over 215 tons of glass from landfills with the help of our bottle recycling machine,” states McEnery.

Because the main idea of Cooper’s Hawk is to have every meal paired to a corresponding wine, the menu is laid out with a bin number for each dish plus a suggested wine pairing. For example, the menu offering of red wine-braised short ribs with mustard sauce, Mary’s potatoes, roasted vegetables, and crispy onion strings is paired with Cooper’s Hawk’s Bin 94 Cabernet Zinfandel.

Wine Grapes Being Processed

Wine Grapes Being Processed

Photo Courtesy of Cooper’s Hawk

This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of McEnery opening Cooper’s Hawk, and now 19 of the restaurants are scattered across the country. To honor the decade anniversary, McEnery is releasing a limited edition “Decadence Magnum” bottle for Cooper’s Hawk’s wine club members.

Cooper’s Hawk opens in Oak Lawn By Bob Bong – Chicago Tribune

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant opened its eighth Illinois location this week at 4830 W. 111th St. in Oak Lawn’s Stony Creek Promenade shopping center.

The Countryside-based chain opened the 11,000-square-foot location Monday. The new restaurant will offer indoor and outdoor seating and a large private dining room that can accommodate up to 275 guests.

Signature dishes at Cooper’s Hawk include Ahi Tuna Tacos, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, Shrimp Campanelle and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.

It is the chain’s 19th location nationwide. It opened its first location in Orland Park in 2005 and since has expanded to Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“I’m thrilled to be opening our 19th location in Oak Lawn and feel privileged for the opportunity to extend the Cooper’s Hawk community in an area so close to where I grew up,” founder Tim McEnery, a south suburban native, said in a release.

Hours at the Oak Lawn location will be from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Try these spring appetizers and wine pairings are your next springtime get-together

RICHMOND, Va – Chef Matt McMillin, of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, served up two savory spring appetizers with his Burrata, Proscuitto, and Baby Arugula Bruschetta and Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese. These two tasty finger foods can stand on their own, but once paired with Cooper’s Hawk signature wines, the taste is a springtime slam dunk. For more information visit online

Burrata, Proscuitto, & Baby Arugula Bruschetta – Whipped Ricotta, Oven-Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Balsamic Glaze


  • 1 loaf of soft Italian bread
  • 3 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
  • 5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • 6 slices of prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz. burrata cheese
  • 12 oven roasted grape tomatoes
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze


  1. Slice Italian bread in to half inch thick pieces. Brush both sides of bread with soft butter and grill on both sides until crispy, with visible grill marks.
  2. Place ricotta cheese in a bowl and whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Season with fresh salt and ground pepper. Fold in chopped parsley and basil.
  3. With a small spatula or spoon, place an even, thin layer of whipped ricotta on the bruschetta.
  4. In a small bowl, combine arugula, juice from half lemon, and extra-virgin olive oil with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Mix well until evenly coated. Place arugula salad evenly on top of each piece of bruschetta, pressing down lightly to adhere.
  5. Next, year the prosciutto into long strips and evenly distribute between all of the bruschetta.
  6. Cut each burrata into 4 even quarters, keeping the soft center of the cheese within its firm outer layer.
  7. Delicately place 3 pieces of the cut burrata per bruschetta, firm side down on top of the arugula.
  8. Garnish each bruschetta with oven roasted tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese – Arugula, Candied Walnuts, Balsamic Glaze, Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • 2 oz. whipped goat cheese (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup baby arugula
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt  & black pepper
  • 3 oz. red beets (roasted and large-diced) – marinated in 1 ½ Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp water, 2 tsp sugar and a pinch of kosher salt)
  • 3 oz. golden beets (roasted and large-diced) – marinated in 1 ½ Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp water, 2 tsp sugar and a pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 1/3 cup candied walnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Begin by spreading a line of whipped goat cheese down the center of the plate.
  2. Place arugula along the center of the plate and drizzle with lemon, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Place both the red and golden beets across the plate on top of the arugula and whipped goat cheese.
  4. Season the beets by sprinkling eening with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Drizzle the plate with balsamic glaze and olive oil.
  6. Finish with candied walnuts.

Whipped Goat Cheese


  • 3 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream


  1. Place goat cheese, white pepper, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  2. When soft and smooth, add sour cream and whisk until sour cream is mixed in and smooth (don’t overmix!)

Tip: the cheese should have a whipped-cream consistency/look

Cooper’s Hawk Prepares for Biggest Opening Yet on Monday

Oak Lawn location opens for lunch at 11 a.m. Get a sneak peak at the menu.

Caption: Tim McEnery, CEO, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

When other kids were playing baseball or building forts, Tim McEnery was reading restaurant trade magazines.

Just a few days before opening day of his 19th Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, McEnery was overseeing the final details at the Oak Lawn location, which opens at 11 a.m. Monday at Stony Creek Promenade at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.

Monday’s opening in Oak Lawn is shaping up to the biggest in the restaurant group’s history.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever been so busy, so fast,” McEnery said.

With the restaurant group’s flagship a few towns away in Orland Park, Oak Lawn is the second Cooper’s Hawk location in the south suburbs.

“We try to look at what made Orland Park successful and two big things came to mind, demographics and the quantity of people. These are good, fun, South Side people,” McEnery said. “When this development became available, we looked at this site very closely and thought it would be wonderful to come out here.”

McEnery is no stranger to the south suburbs. He grew up in Orland Park, practically onSilver Lakes Golf Course, and graduated from Marist High School before heading to Purdue University. One thing he knew, he wanted to own his own business, be it a restaurant, car wash or a gas station.

“I’ve been invited to speak with Marist students a couple of times,” he said. “It’s surreal when you get to come back to your school and people care about what you say.”

His first job in the restaurant business was washing dishes at his aunt and uncle’s restaurant at Green Garden Country Club in Frankfort when he was 11. He hasn’t stopped working since.

“I never played sports, working was my thing,” McEnery said. “I love the pace and all the fun, crazy people in the restaurant business. It has been incredible.”

Described as a daredevil in the restaurant industry by Wall Street Journal, McEnery opened his first restaurant in Orland Park in 2005 before he was 30. He and his talented team have turned Cooper’s Hawk into a $121 million empire with a 130,000-member wine club.

“It’s a wild ride to say the least,” he said. “All I wanted to do was make sure that [Orland Park] was successful. Cooper’s Hawk is a growth company and what we’re really focused on is that we get good at growing and opening restaurants.”

The 10,000-square-foot space has a different layout than the Orland Park location, including a Napa-style tasting room, dining room and indoor bar. The outdoor seating area looks across a retention pond with shooting fountains toward Cicero Avenue. The patio is also heated during cooler weather and has a fire pit.

The menu offers modern American casual dining, which could mean such entrees as the maple, mustard and pretzel-crusted boneless pork chop ($21.99), or pistachio-crusted grouper ($25.99). The restaurant also offers burgers, sandwiches, appetizers with a twist, such as Cooper’s Hawk calamari, and chopped salads starting at $9.99.(Patch has included the menu.)

Cuisine is paired with the restaurant’s own hand-crafted wines, with most by-the-glass selections going for $6.50 to $8.50. The most expensive bottle is $48, with the average price around $25.

McEnery told Wall Street Journal last year that the restaurant group doesn’t open a new Cooper’s Hawk unless the location shows a potential annual revenue of $10 million, which speaks to the potential of Oak Lawn’s long awaited Stony Creek Promenade.

Even before the doors have opened, 100 wine club members have stopped by to collect their wine of the month bottles.

“This is about as excited as I’ve ever been,” McEnery said. “I’m always excited when we open a new restaurant but here is just so special because my mom grew up a block down the street.”

For local Cooper’s Hawk fans, they’ll no longer need to schlep to Orland Park to pick up their wine of the month selections.

Piada, Cooper’s Hawk presented with 2015 Buzzed About Brands Awards


Kelly Killian, Editor on May 15, 2015

Fast casual’s Piada Italian Street Food and casual dining’s Cooper’s Hawk were honored Thursday by the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group and Restaurant Business magazine with 2015 Buzzed About Brands Awards, a recognition of the buzz they have created through social media and marketing.

The awards, now in their second year, were created by MEG to single out chains that have caught the attention not only of consumers, but also their peers in the industry. Also factored into the selection are the candidate’s approaches to generating new business.

Columbus, Ohio-based Piada has been closely watched by the industry because of its popularity among consumers. Operators praise the operational innovations that deliver fresh, customized Italian sandwiches and pastas quickly at tabs around $10 per person.

Countryside, Illinois-based Cooper’s Hawk is often cited by other casual-dining operators as a brand that has differentiated itself in a sector prone to sameness, in part through an ambitious wine program.  It does not maintain a marketing budget.

CEO Chris Doody of Piada and Tim McEnery of Cooper’s Hawk both were on hand to accept the awards and share their insights about differentiation, growth and connecting with consumers during a panel discussion.

Both men acknowledge that the most creative marketing efforts won’t be successful without an innovative brand behind them. “It’s more about the food, design and whole experience and genuine hospitality,” said Doody, who also founded the Bravo Brio casual dining chain with his brother Rick. “If we take care of our guests coming in, word of mouth is going to drive our marketing strategy.”

To stand out from the competition in fast casual, Doody said, his approach with Piada has been to take a little of what casual dining does very well and do that in fast casual. “What we’re really trying to create is a fine fast casual segment,” he said.

“Modern casual” is the term Cooper’s Hawk ascribes to its restaurant-retail-winery hybrid, which aims to differentiate itself with a proprietary, tiered wine club designed to attract both novice and sophisticated drinkers. Membership in the club has grown from 1,400 in 2006 to 130,000, due first and foremost to the quality of the wine, McEnery says he’s learned from customer surveys.

But a little prompting doesn’t hurt, he told the room full of restaurant marketers at the MEG conference. “If you were to look at our P&L, our advertising and marketing line is zero,” said McEnery. He says Cooper’s Hawk, instead, focuses on what grabs people’s attention. “[Everyone’s] trying to weave people’s daily patterns into the restaurant,” he says. “We do that with the monthly wine club,” he said, giving people a reason to come back into the restaurant.