Wine, Pork Belly & Artisan Cheese {Cooper’s Hawk}

Spork Orlando: Finding Orlando’s tastiest tables

I-Drive is getting all sorts of upgrades, from Yard House to the Orlando Eye, a once run-down tacky tourist area is taking a remarkable turn. It’s time to add Cooper’s Hawk, a uniquely modern, yet casual, dining experience to the list of I-Drive enhancements. Coupled with an exclusive and active wine club, Cooper’s Hawk was named “Breakout Brand 2013” and “Hot Concept 2010” byNations Restaurant News, and that’s not a title that comes easily in today’s competitive dining market.

The restaurant also features one of the country’s largest wine clubs, offering subscribers monthly wines, special discounts, invitations to exclusive events, rewards, and annual domestic and international wine trips. The Orlando location boasts an impressive menu in addition to a wine and cheese tasting area inside their wine-themed retail shop.

We visited Cooper’s Hawk before the grand opening and quickly found a few menu favorites. Beyond the menu, the space is expansive, impressive and perfect for a variety of evenings from a family meal to relaxing outside or catching a football game in the bar that’s packed with seating.

Here’s our “must order” picks for your next visit to Cooper’s Hawk:

  • Asian Pork Belly Tostados – I’m pretty picky about pork belly, but this appetizer was flavored to perfection with scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro, radishes and topped with a sweet chili BBQ sauce. I’d happily go back for this appetizer and a glass of champagne!
  • Chef Matt’s Monthly Cheese Tasting – Y’all, this cheese was fantastic! I love the idea of a rotating cheese and wine tasting on the main menu. I’ve sampled a lot of cheese in my time and I’d recommend this dish to start any meal at Cooper’s Hawk.
  • Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Flatbread – Crispy flatbread topped with mozzarella, roasted grape tomatoes, pesto, julienne basil and a balsamic glaze. Cooper’s Hawk knows how to serve a flatbread that’s perfectly crisp and layered with flavor.
  • Chicken Giardiniera – Parmesan breaded chicken with shaved parmesan. Sounds simple enough, but the chicken was tender and coated with the right amount of crispy goodness. Sometimes it’s nice to experience a non-Southern chicken, and this one’s a winner in our book.

Go experience Cooper’s Hawk for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! Cooper’s Hawk newest location is located at 8005 International Drive, Orlando, FL. For locations and menu details visit

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Cooper’s Hawk names new executives

Company plans for “next phase of growth”
Ron Ruggless, Nation’s Restaurant News

Phoebe McMillan, chief strategic officer

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has named several new executives and created a new chief strategic officer position.

The moves come as the Countryside, Ill.-based casual-dining operator sets the stage for “the next phase of growth throughout the country,” the company said in a news release earlier this month.

Cooper’s Hawk has welcomed Phoebe McMillan to the new role of chief strategic officer from her position as chief financial officer. Diana Garvis Purcel succeeds McMillan as CFO.

Most recently, Purcel was CFO at Famous Dave’s of America Inc., where she worked for more than 10 years. McMillan has been with Cooper’s Hawk for two years, as an adviser and then as CFO.

Diana Garvis Purcel, CFO

Other executive changes at Cooper’s Hawk include the naming of Ben Hummer as vice president of winery operations and Tara Snyder as vice president of learning and development.

Hummer most recently was senior vice president of operations at Seattle-based Precept Wine. Snyder most recently was senior director of leadership and development services at Bloomin’ Brands Inc., parent to the Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill brands.

“I am pleased that we are able to attract this level of talent and experience,” said Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk’s founder and chief executive, in a statement. “These four individuals will be instrumental in helping us achieve our goal of national expansion.”

The company said it plans to open five new Cooper’s Hawk restaurants through summer 2015 in Florida, Virginia and the Midwest.

Cooper’s Hawk, which first opened in 2005, currently has 15 locations.

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You Had Me at Merlot: Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant 11 Minutes from Orlando Attractions

Homes 4 uu Vacation Homes

There’s a brand new dining option in town! Just minutes from your favorite Orlando attractions, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant located at 8005 International Drive in Orlando is 12,400 square-feet of amazing indoor and outdoor seating. Do you have the whole family staying in your Homes4uu vacation home? Why not book one of their uniquely designed  winery-inspired party spaces? These spaces allow you to have the opportunity to experience the rich culture and timelessness of the winemaking world. Additionally, they feature special private party packages perfect for celebrations and group dining. The I-Drive location is the only one nation wide that will open daily at 6 a.m. and offer breakfast until 11 a.m. every day. The restaurant and tasting room will be open until 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and close at 9 p.m. on Sunday. Reservations are recommended. The bar will have extended hours, closing at 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday.

WINE PROGRAM: Cooper’s Hawk has a projected production of over 260,000 cases of wine for 2014. Truck loads packed with up to twenty tons of wine grapes and fruit from California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan are delivered from the vineyard to the winery door for production that takes places year-round. Since opening in late 2005, Cooper’s Hawk has received over 200 wine awards from various local, national, and international wine competitions.

FOOD PROGRAM: You will enjoy a modern, casual dining experience with warm service and a menu created with its own handcrafted wines in mind. The menu features unique dishes with bin numbers listed next to each item on the menu, guiding you to your selection’s perfect wine match. Known for their rich, distinctive sauces, items such as the Pistachio-Crusted Grouper, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, and Mexican Drunken Shrimp have quickly found popularity as the restaurant’s signature dishes.

WINE CLUB: Cooper’s Hawk has created an exclusive monthly wine club available only to subscribers. The program is available for $18.99 a month for one bottle per month, and can be picked up at any Cooper’s Hawk location, or delivered for an additional fee. It’s almost like bringing home a little bit of your vacation with you! Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club is one of the largest in the country and offers members exclusive classes, parties and events.

TASTING ROOM/GIFT STORE: Each Cooper’s Hawk location contains a Napa-style Tasting Room in which to sample the winery’s latest selections. A tasting includes eight pours and starts at $7. Additionally, guests can browse the gift shop for food and wine related items, as well as custom designed gift baskets. Check out Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants on Twitter, Facebook and at their website

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants new location

My Sweet Zepol
by Wanda Lopez

Grand opening! A second Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is opening today in Orlando Florida. This second location is in International Drive. Here’s a peek at Cooper’s Hawk Winery in Waterford Town Center.

When I heard that Cooper’s Hawk was opening a new location in Orlando, Florida I was very excited. Orlando’s second Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants will open on Monday, September 15 at 8005 International Drive. The 12,400+ square-foot restaurant will offer indoor and outdoor seating, with occupancy for more than 380 guests. Upon opening, the I-Drive restaurant will be the only Cooper’s Hawk location nationwide to serve breakfast daily.

(Me with Cara Mahler, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant General Manager)

Cooper’s Hawk boasts a modern, casual dining experience with warm service and a menu developed with its own handcrafted wines in mind. The menu features unique dishes with bin numbers listed next to each item on the menu, guiding guests to their selection’s perfect wine match. Known for their rich, distinctive sauces, items such as the Pistachio Crusted Grouper, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, and Mexican Drunken Shrimp have quickly found popularity as the restaurant’s signature dishes.

I am a personal fan of Cooper’s Hawk Winery Restaurants. It is a restaurant where you can get good wine and good food all under one roof. Cooper’s Hawk  is designed to give you a full winery experience. Everything from wine tasting, a fully loaded bar, an outdoor seating perfect for more casual gatherings, a large section for events (inside), a wide are for dining and the flow is absolutely seamless.

(friends: Adriana, Mariani, Gustavo and me)

(Variety of Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Cheesecakes made in house daily)

Can you tell I am excited? I am! Go and visit any of the two locations in Orlando Florida and enjoy a true winery experience, then come back and tell me all about it.

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant on I-Drive

Orlando Connections
by Jennifer Graddy

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant will open their second Orlando location on International Drive on 09/15.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened their first restaurant in the midwest in 2005 and now has 16 locations, each with a modern, casual warmth and elegance their guests have come to expect.  The Cooper’s Hawk menu includes something for everyone including appetizers such as the Mexican Drunken Shrimp, Asian Pork Belly Tostadas and Chef Matt’s Chess Platter.  They also offer a variety of salads, flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, steaks and seafood.
Cooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantCooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantCooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantCooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantCooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantAs the name implies, Cooper’s Hawk produces their own handcrafted wines from the top grapes around the country.  They also a Wine Club Membership which is an all inclusive program where you will not only receive their winmaker’s newly released wine each month, but will also enjoy many great benefits including invitations to members-only events, exclusive discounts, points on purchases and their Wine Club Newsletter with information on new wines, special events, and great recipes.

Cooper Hawk's Winery and Restaurant

Cooper Hawk's Winery and Restaurant

In addition to lunch and dinner, Cooper’s Hawk I-Drive will also offer a breakfast buffet as well as breakfast ala carte items.  If you’re looking for a nice casual atmosphere, some great food & wine, be sure to check out Cooper’s Hawk I-Drive.  They’ve got a great outdoor dining area so you can sit and people watch along International Drive.

Cooper Hawk's Winery and RestaurantCooper Hawk's Winery and Restaurant

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant Expands Corporate Team

Former Famous Dave’s of America, Inc., Precept Wine and Bloomin’ Brands Executives Join Cooper’s Hawk Team to Support Growth Plans

COUNTRYSIDE, Illinois, (Sep 3, 2014) – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a multi-unit winery, restaurant, and retail concept, celebrates the end of the summer season with the addition of four corporate executive team members to help propel the company into the next phase of growth throughout the country.

• Diana Garvis Purcel has joined the team as Chief Financial Officer. Purcel had previously been Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Secretary for the past 10 and a half years for Famous Dave’s of America, Inc., a public company with approximately $500 million in system-wide sales.

“I am honored to be joining Cooper’s Hawk as its CFO at such an exciting time,” she said. “Cooper’s Hawk is a dynamic brand that is uniquely positioned in the casual dining segment and [founder and CEO] Tim [McEnery] has done a tremendous job positioning the company for future expansion. I look forward to working with Tim and this talented team and contributing to the company’s next phase of growth and continued success.”

Purcel started her career with Arthur Anderson Co. more than 25 years ago, and has since earned top recognition for her professional work, including being twice named Top Woman in Finance in the state of Minnesota by Finance Commerce Magazine. A Tulane University graduate, Purcel also worked at Target Corporation, Damark International, Inc. and Paper Warehouse, Inc. During her tenure with Famous Dave’s Inc., she helped lead the company through extensive change as well as expansive unit, revenue and stock price growth.

• Phoebe McMillan has taken on the role of Chief Strategic Officer to help the company move forward on many critical and opportunistic initiatives. McMillan has been with Cooper’s Hawk for two years, both as an advisor and Chief Financial Officer. A graduate of Princeton University and The Kellogg Graduate School of Management, McMillan has more than 15 years of financial and strategic advisory experience working with high-growth restaurant companies throughout the country, most recently through her consulting firm, Restaurant Strategy.

• Ben Hummer, former Senior Vice President of Operations of Seattle’s Precept Wine, has been named Vice President of Winery Operations. Born and raised in Washington State, Hummer immersed himself in the packaging and beverage industries since attending Western Washington University. He first gained facilities and production management experience with Dasone Waters of North America and Campbell’s Soup. Hummer was introduced to the wine business with Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates as Supply Planner. For the last seven years, he oversaw all winemaking, bottling, logistics, and supply chain managment at Precept Wine, which included an annual production volume of more than 1 million cases.

• Tara Snyder, former Senior Director of Leadership and Development Services at Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., joins the team as Vice President of Learning and Development. Snyder has more than two decades of leadership and development experience. Since graduating from Virginia Tech, she has worked at large corporations throughout the nation, including Walt Disney World, Blockbuster, Inc., Starbucks Coffee Corporation, and Advanced Auto Parts. Most recently, Snyder’s two years with Bloomin’ Brands including her enterprise-wide training initiatives, which were adopted by corporate headquarters like Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, and Bonefish Grill.

The team expansion will support further plans for five new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant locations through summer 2015, including further expansion into the Virginia, Florida, and Midwest markets. Each new location will create more than 150 jobs for their respective communities.

“I am pleased that we are able to attract this level of talent and experience to Cooper’s Hawk,” said Tim McEnery, founder and CEO. “These four individuals will be instrumental in helping us achieve our goal of national expansion.”
All team members will work out of the Restaurant Support Center in Countryside, Illinois.
Today, Cooper’s Hawk produces more than 260,000 cases of wine per year, making it the fifth largest U.S. wine producer outside of California with projected revenues of more than $125 million for 2014.

About Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
An eclectic combination of winery, restaurants, and retail stores, Cooper’s Hawk is the brain-child of entrepreneur Tim McEnery, who opened the first winery and restaurant in 2005. Operations have since expanded to 15 locations, with International Drive in Orlando, Florida slated to open September 2014 as its 16th. The uniquely modern yet casual dining experience, coupled with an exclusive and active wine club, has led to more than 200 wine awards. In 2010, Cooper’s Hawk was named “Hot Concept” Winner by Nations Restaurant News. To learn more about Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, visit


Wine galore: An Inside look at International Drive’s Cooper’s Hawk

Reporter-Orlando Business Journal


Inside Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant on 8005 International Drive, visitors will have no trouble spotting a bottle.

The new location, which officially opens Sept. 15, carries about 527 cases of wine — more than 6,000 bottles that can be seen stored on walls all throughout the eatery. It’s almost like eating inside a large wine cellar.

“In a day, we go through 20 cases. In a weekend, we go through 40 to 50 cases,” said Cara MahlerCooper’s Hawk general manager of the I-Dive location.

The 12,400-square-foot eatery is part of Unicorp National Developments Inc.’s $200 million I-Shops project. The restaurant can seat up to 340 people, which includes indoor and outdoor seating with patio space.

The I-Drive location has 206 employees and saw an influx of about 2,000 applications to fill positions from waiters to chefs and hosts. And while this marks the 16th location for the Orland Park, Ill.-based chain, this is the chain’s second Central Florida location with its first local restaurant at Waterford Lakes Town Center.

And while Cooper’s Hawk specialty is wine with more than 40 different varieties to choose from, the restaurant also has a few signature dishes, as well.

Mahler said the most popular dish is Trio of Medallions, which is a series of three 3-ounce filets each topped with a different crust accompanied by Mary’s mashed potatoes and asparagus.

In addition, the restaurant sports a more than 60-item menu including a breakfast menu, which is a first for the chain.

Cooper’s Hawk Chef and Director of Culinary and Beverage Matt McMillan had been working on the breakfast menu items for about six months. Said Mahler, “They placed a test kitchen in one of our stores back in Chicago, and they have been practicing it for months.”

Cooper‘s Hawk Winery & Restaurant joins several other restaurants in the I-Shops development including BJ’s Restaurant & Brew House, Chuy’s Tex-Mex, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and LongHorn Steakhouse.

Check out the pictures to get an exclusive first look inside the restaurant and some of the menu items.

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Central Florida Lifestyle: Perfect Pairings

By Lyndsay Fogerty
Central Florida Lifestyle

Prepare to be wined and dined from the moment you step foot into Cooper’s Hawk Winery. The Chicago-based company, which features a menu developed with its own handcrafted wines in mind, has two Central Florida locations that offer something new — and a refreshing change of pace — to the Orlando dining scene. The restaurant in Waterford  Lakes opened to rave reviews in April, and its newest location — part of the restaurant boom of International Drive — will open in Southwest Orlando on September 15. The new  International Drive location will be the first in the company to offer breakfast and brunch options for guests.

If you haven’t noticed from the name, wine is a huge part of what
Cooper’s Hawk Winery is all about. The wines found on the menu are produced at the company’s Chicago headquarters, though grapes are sourced from vineyards across the country. This year, Cooper’s Hawk is projected to produce over 260,000 cases of wine for its 16 locations nationwide. Each location has a Napa-style tasting room so guests can sample the winery’s latest selections. A tasting includes eight pours and pricing begins at $7. To assist diners with pairings, a bin number is placed next to each item on the menu. This number guides guests to the perfect wine match for their dish of choice.

When it comes to the kitchen, a Cooper’s Hawk specialty is the gnocchi, and it comes in three flavorful varieties. Tossed with pancetta, chicken, sage, peas and a Parmesan garlic cream sauce, the Gnocchi Carbonara is hearty but not too heavy. In the Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash, the popular fall staple is the star with sage, brown butter cream and shaved Parmesan rounding out the dish. For more of a Mediterranean flavor, the Gnocchi with Braised Fennel & Herb Ricotta Dolce is tossed with artichokes, portabella mushrooms, kalamata olives, basil and tomatoes. Instead of the traditional potato gnocchi, Chef Matt McMillin makes the Cooper’s Hawk version with ricotta, a technique that makes it lighter and fluffier.

Joining signature dishes like Red Wine Braised Short Ribs and Mexican Drunken Shrimp on the menu are some guest favorites like the Maple, Mustard & PretzelCrusted Pork Medallions. In this dish, three sweet and savory pork medallions are served with Mary’s  potatoes and asparagus. Asian Pork Belly Tostadas top the list, too, because of its sweet and tangy flavors. Crispy tortillas are topped with melted cheese and a mixture of pork belly, sweet chili BBQ sauce, scallions, cilantro and crunchy radish. The Blackened Ahi
Tuna has a spicy sear that is cooled off with Asian slaw and cilantro citrus rice. The tuna comes on the traditional menu and the Life Balance menu, a unique twist where the dish is prepared so that it is under 600 calories. Appetizers, entrees and desserts come on the Life Balance Menu, but don’t worry that you’re missing out by going for the healthier option. The portions are still plenty and you’re sure to leave with a full belly. Glutenfree options are also available.

Make sure to save room for dessert. Each item on the dessert menu is made
in-house and is whole-heartedly splurgeworthy. With options like Chocolate Pretzel Bread Pudding and Banana Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich, you can’t go wrong. In the gift shop, decadent chocolate truffles (like chocolate cabernet, tiramisu and pistachio) line the bakery dessert case. Cheesecake lollipops and candied walnut turtles will also catch your attention. The chocolates and truffles from the bakery are available as a dessert option with or without a flight of wine pairings. You can also box up these sweet treats and take them home to savor later.

More than just flavorful food and wonderful wines, Cooper’s Hawk has also created an exclusive monthly wine club that is broken down into the Red Club, White Club, Variety
Club or Sweet Club. The Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club is one of the largest in the country and also offers members exclusive classes, parties and events. Members can pick up their  wine at any Cooper’s Hawk location or it can be delivered to their home for a fee.

Also, a gift shop at each property offers the bases for the sauces that you will find on the Cooper’s  Hawk menu. So if you find a dish that you just can’t get enough of, this gives you the opportunity to re-create it in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Whether you’re a foodie, a wino, or both, Cooper’s Hawk Winery is a
unique addition to the Central Florida dining scene that will quickly top your list of favorites.

For more information about Cooper’s Hawk Winery and for the Gnocchi Carbonara recipe, visit our website at

CH – CFL September issue 2014 1

Veni, Vidi, Vino

St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles

Conceived by Illinois wine enthusiasts Tim and Dana McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk marries the full-fledged winery – tastings and all – with a full-service restaurant. From the original location opened in 2005 in Orland Park, Ill., the concept has expanded to 15 winery/restaurants throughout the Midwest, including one in Town and Country, ideally situated equidistant from the Missouri wine country hubs of Hermann and Ste. Genevieve.

“Everything is created with the wine in mind – that’s what Cooper’s Hawk is known for,” explains Jason Longfield, chef at the Town and Country hotspot. “The food certainly stands on its own – we have great food, whether you plan to pair it not – but the wine complements it and enhances it.”

The menu runs the gamut from Italian-inspired dishes to others that lean decidedly Latin. “It’s a very eclectic menu – very expansive,” Longfield says, singling out the wildly popular Asian Pork Belly Tostadas appetizer. “It’s made with White Marble Farms pork belly, which is just the best pork belly, braised with star anise, cinnamon and some Asian flavors. …We probably serve more tostadas than almost anything else.”

That eclecticism is a good fit for Longfield, a St. Louis native weaned on his Italian grandfather’s Mediterranean tastes and mother’s frequent market stops on The Hill. He studied both culinary arts and business at Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina, and then opened Fisherman’s Quarters with a classmate fresh out of school. After later opening several restaurants for Nordstrom in L.A., he returned to The Lou, first with The Cheesecake Factory and then at Bristol Seafood Grill (he opened the Winghaven location), before landing at Cooper’s Hawk last fall.

The multi-region experience gave Longfield a firm grasp of how, and where, ingredients are best sourced to coax the most vibrant flavors out of every Cooper’s Hawk dish. “Ingredients are sourced where they’re best, wherever that is at a given time,” he says. “Like, Chicago is known for its meat, so the steaks come from Chicago. Then, we source locally when we can.”

Longfield will offer a taste of the diverse Cooper’s Hawk menu when he demonstrates red sangria and these three dishes at Cooking School on Tuesday, Sept. 9, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Construction Appliance. For reservations, call 636-230-9640 ext. 27.

The Cooking School Menu:
Asian Pork Belly Tostadas: Braised Midwest pork belly, glazed in Asian chile barbecue sauce and served on a housemade tostada. Longfield tops the sweet-savory meat with spicy sriracha pico de gallo, radish, avocado, scallions and cilantro, and a dollop of cool sour cream.

Dana’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken: The breading on this chicken gets its crunch from a mix of Parmesan and panko. It’s seared and served with a drizzle of beurre blanc (lemon-butter sauce) and a shredded potato-and-white-cheddar casserole baked with a cheddar-panko crust.

Banoffee Pie: A homemade graham cracker crust is layered with bananas and a toffee filling made from caramelized condensed milk, then finished with fresh whipped cream.

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