Buena Vista, California’s Oldest Premium Winery Partners with Cooper’s Hawk, a New Generation of Wine Lovers

Two innovators partner to create one great wine

“Working with Buena Vista Winery and Jean-Charles has been one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in winemaking.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a leader in modern casual dining is known for their award winning wines and home of the largest wine club in America. Today, they are excited to announce their latest collaboration with Buena Vista, California’s oldest winery and one of the first new world wineries in the country. The yearlong project comes at a momentous time for Cooper’s Hawk as they celebrate their 200,000 wine club member milestone this month.

The partnership between the wineries produced the 11th Anniversary Cooper’s Hawk “Collaboration” wine, which celebrates the combined innovation of two wineries – both committed to bringing a dynamic energy to the wine industry. Jean-Charles Boisset, President of Buena Vista Winery, best known for his family’s deep roots in crafting European wine, embodies the best of old and new world wine. Tim McEnery, CEO and founder of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, is the face of a new generation of wine enthusiasts. Together, they crafted a wine that honors California’s tradition of bold, full-bodied wines. “Collaboration” is a rich, deep wine loaded with aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cherry, plum and baking spices. It has firm and well-rounded tannins and an exceptionally long finish that can stand up to any beef dish. Although balanced to drink now, this blend will age well for another four to six years. Cooper’s Hawk will bottle 15k cases of wine as their 11th Anniversary Wine of the Month this October.

Tim McEnery shared, “Working with Buena Vista Winery and Jean-Charles has been one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in winemaking. The historical significance of Buena Vista and its 150 year-old tradition is awe-inspiring. I’m honored to be able to bottle the experience and share it with our Wine Club. The Club has helped chart our course in winemaking, and I am confident that our members will embrace the addition of a classic California wine.”

Buena Vista Winery was founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy upon realizing the great potential in Sonoma for world-class wine. He went on to create the first gravity flow winery, excavated the first wine cave and brought in over 200 different varietals from Europe in an effort to create the best wine. From then, he began to call himself The Count of Buena Vista to celebrate his commitment to California wine. In 2011, Buena Vista became part of the Boisset Collection, a producer and importer of fine wines based in Burgundy, France. President, Jean-Charles Boisset was touched by the historical importance of Buena Vista and California’s wine region and has continued to uphold the vision that Count Agoston Haraszthy shared some 150 years ago. Jean-Charles has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to the wine community and has received honors from The French America Foundation, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Meiningers, Decanter Magazine and more.

Jean-Charles Boisset was quoted, “Collaboration is what makes the wine world vibrate and brings a transcendental vision to people’s emotional style, taste and senses. Bringing history and the future together allowed us to re-imagine the wine world. I’m incredibly grateful to Tim and his team, who added another dimension of imagination and inspiration to Buena Vista’s style. The influence and joy shared in crafting this wine will certainly be enjoyed by the Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club. This wine is about power and a vortex of energy that has never been felt before. Together we toast to the future of Tim and his team at Cooper’s Hawk and to collaboration at large.”

The collaboration between Cooper’s Hawk and Buena Vista will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 27 at Danada House in Wheaton, Illinois from 6:30-9:30pm. Cooper’s Hawk wine club members will enjoy an inspired menu compliments of Cooper’s Hawk Chef Matt McMillin served alongside thoughtful pairings from both wineries. The evening will feature a few surprises including a “fireside chat” with Cooper’s Hawk Founder Tim McEnery and Buena Vista President Jean-Charles Boisset. Both will share personal stories about their adventures in wine making and experience working together. Each guest will leave with a bottle of wine signed by both McEnery and Boisset.

ABOUT BUENA VISTA WINERY
Buena Vista Winery is California’s first premium winery; it was founded in 1857 by Hungarian immigrant Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista.” Possessing a deep regard for the significance of Buena Vista’s place in California wine history, Jean-Charles Boisset purchased Buena Vista in April 2011 and added the winery to the Boisset Collection. Today, Boisset has returned Buena Vista Winery to its original glory with the complete restoration and re-opening of the historic property. The wines are achieving new heights under Winemaker Brian Maloney and Consulting Winemaker David Ramey. Buena Vista Winery is located at 18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, CA. For more information, please visit http://www.buenavistawinery.com.

ABOUT COOPER’S HAWK WINERY & RESTAURANTS
Cooper’s Hawk is a unique combination of restaurant, winery, Napa-style tasting room, and artisanal retail market. The concept partners with some of the best grape growers in the world to craft the Cooper’s Hawk wine collection, winner of nearly 400 awards. Cooper’s Hawk is home to the country’s largest Wine Club, a member club offering exclusive wines, events, and privileges. Helmed by CEO/Founder Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk was first opened in Orland Park, Illinois in 2005. Operations have since expanded to 24 locations throughout Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin, with five additional units slated for construction through 2017.

Full article available – http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13697535.htm

50 Best Restaurants 2016

If you’re a wine lover, this is the place for you. Dozens of wines from the Illinois winery are available to sample. But the focus is also on the food to pair with your wine. The upscale chain restaurant — the first in Maryland — carefully includes bin numbers of bottles to complement each dish. We were pleased with the quality of our dishes, from the Asian pork-belly tostadas and Mexican drunken shrimp wrapped in bacon to a soy-ginger salmon and the superb short-rib risotto. And don’t go home empty handed. There’s an onsite tasting room and gift shop. (Baltimore Sun Best Restaurants 2016)

Full article available http://dish.baltimoresun.com/restaurant/257-coopers-hawk-restaurant-and-winery/

How Cooper’s Hawk Cultivates Customer Loyalty While Making Wine and Food Easy

How Cooper’s Hawk Cultivates Customer Loyalty While Making Wine and Food Easy

How Cooper’s Hawk Cultivates Customer Loyalty While Making Wine and Food Easy

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this page

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has some of the most loyal fans. In addition to offering its own wines with its New American cuisine, the upscale-dining chain also operates one of the country’s largest wine clubs.

Members tend to be highly loyal because they receive more than just monthly wine deliveries. They can attend exclusive tasting events and even travel around the world for wine experiences with Cooper’s Hawk staff acting as guides.

How did a chain of 24 locations build such a passionate following in 11 years? Its success stems from the original vision: to provide guests with a memorable, easy-to-enjoy experience with wine and food.

Food Made For Wine

Cooper’s Hawk founder/CEO Tim McEnery, who has a background in restaurant management, recalls his initial inspiration for the business in 2002. He was at a winery for a tasting one evening with his wife Dana. “While enjoying a wine tasting, we searched the nearby area for restaurant reservations and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to eat and continue drinking this wine?’” he remembers.

At the time, “Many wineries had small, limited menus and through research, I didn’t find any connected to a full-service restaurant,” he adds. Three years later, McEnery, then 29, opened the first Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Orland Park, IL, where the company is now headquartered.

Cooper’s Hawk today counts locations in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia. A Coconut Creek, FL, location is scheduled to open in November; four to five additional units are slated for 2017.

The brand’s focus remains on making wine-and-food pairings approachable and understandable. All locations include large, onsite tasting rooms (922 sq. ft. on average), plus menus that pair each plate with a specific wine.

Private-Label Wines

Cooper’s Hawk sells its wines in its restaurants and tasting rooms, and directly to members of the wine club. None of the bottles are distributed to outside businesses. “We’re basically the wine version of a brew pub,” says winemaker Rob Warren.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-22-16-pm

Cooper’s Hawk sells its wines in its restaurants and tasting rooms, and directly to members of the wine club.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-32-03-pm

Founder/CEO Tim McEnery was inspired to start Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants in 2002 after realizing that no wineries were connected to a full-service restaurant.

The company does not grow its own grapes; it buys them from about 20 west coast wineries and trucks them to a 32,000-sq.-ft. facility in Countryside, IL. Cooper’s Hawk will bring in international vineyards for special bottlings a few times each year. These might include malbec from Argentina, sangiovese from Italy, and varietals from New Zealand and Australia.

McEnery and Warren select the wineries for these bottlings, and are heavily involved in the process. Warren oversees production of about 425,000 cases of Cooper’s Hawk wine a year. His wines typically age for six to 18 months in oak barrels.

Partner vineyards are selectively chosen for their regions, the structures and aromatics of their grapes, production capabilities and their attitudes. “We’re very persnickety. We want to be in control of our grapes once we get them, and that’s a passion we want to share with the venues we chose,” Warren explains. “When you tour a vineyard and meet the people there, you can tell pretty quickly how much they really care about what they’re doing.”

Once a winery is onboard, its harvested grapes are loaded into refrigerated trucks and driven to Cooper’s Hawk’s facility. Fruit usually arrives two to three weeks after harvest; it’s then destemmed, crushed, fermented, aged, blended and bottled.

Wide Range Of Varietals

The many styles Cooper’s Hawk produces run the gamut. From sparkling rosé, prosecco and moscato, to sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and gewürztraminer, to pinot noir, shiraz and petite syrah. All these and more are available in the restaurants by the glass for $6.50 to $8.75, and by the bottle for $25.99 to $30.99.

For dessert, Cooper’s Hawk makes Ice Wine ($9.50 for a glass, $37.99 for a 375-ml. bottle) and Nightjar, a port-style wine ($8 a glass; $27.99 a bottle). There are also lux offerings for those who want premium pours, including the Lux sparkling ($9.50 a glass, $37.99 a bottle) and the Lux pinot noir ($13 a glass; $47.99 a bottle).

Balanced Experiences

Winemaker Warren and Matt McMillin, vice president of culinary and beverage innovation, collaborate on the seasonally changing Cooper’s Hawk menus. McMillin and Warren systematically match every dish with a specific wine identified on the menu by its BIN number.

When pairing food and wine, they consider how many times each bottle appears on the menu. They try to get all the wines involved; any that have recently received awards or accolades are sure to be featured.

One recommended menu pairing (pictured atop) is the red-wine-braised short ribs with mustard sauce, Mary’s potatoes, roasted vegetables and crispy onion strings ($24.99) with the Cooper’s Hawk cabernet zinfandel ($8.75 a glass; $30.99 a bottle).

“The spiciness of the zin and the tannins of the cab cut through the fatiness of the short ribs,” Warren notes. “Food tastes better with that balance, that synergy. The whole becomes better than the parts.”

Another suggested match is the gnocchi carbonara with pancetta, chicken, sage and peas in a parmesan garlic cream sauce ($18.99) with the Cooper’s Hawk Lux chardonnay ($10.50 a glass; $37.99 a bottle). An Italian family business in Chicago makes the gnocchi and ships it frozen to Cooper’s Hawk locations.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-26-06-pm

Another suggested match is the gnocchi carbonara with pancetta, chicken, sage and peas in a parmesan garlic cream sauce ($18.99) with the Cooper’s Hawk Lux chardonnay ($10.50 a glass; $37.99 a bottle).

“The rich, creamy, buttery sauce and the chardonnay is a match made in heaven,” McMillin says. “Like any pairing, the key is balance.”

Having now worked together for six years at Cooper’s Hawk, McMillin and Warren say that they can anticipate each other’s pairings when creating new dishes or wines.

“I’ll recall a cauliflower purée dish and tell him that I’m thinking of doing a new take on it, and he’ll already have the perfect wine pairing in mind,” McMillin says. “There’s not as much guesswork anymore.”

Cocktails With A Twist

While the main focus is wine, Cooper’s Hawk also offers beer and boasts an extensive cocktail menu. Updated once or twice a year, the list includes 11 Martinis and a dozen craft cocktails.

“Not everyone drinks wine,” McMillin says. “Or they may want to start their meal off with a cocktail before switching to wine. So our goal is to deliver as good of an experience with our cocktails as we would with our wine and food.”

Cooper’s Hawk pours fresh juices and makes its own mixes from scratch. The chain uses craft-level spirits in its drinks (though it does stock well spirits), and frequently incorporates its wine into the cocktails. “We like to do really simple cocktails that are straightforward with a slight twist,” McMillin explains.

For instance, the Cooper’s Hawk Margarita ($10) is made with Cazadores reposado tequila, triple sec, sour, passion fruit and sparkling wine. The Bin 61 Sour ($9.50) mixes Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemon sour and the Nightjar port. Jen’s French Martini ($11.25) uses with Effen vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur and sparkling wine.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-28-51-pm

The Cooper’s Hawk Margarita ($10) is made with Cazadores reposado tequila, triple sec, sour, passion fruit and sparkling wine.

The Margarita is a top seller, McMillin adds, and a good representation of how Cooper’s Hawk approaches cocktails. “It comes down to the balance,” he explains. “You have fresh-squeezed lime juice and tequila of a good quality. We finish it off with our blanc de blanc and passion fruit.” The cocktail “has that exotic flavor and aroma without being too strange.”

Join The Club

Launching a wine club was always part of the Cooper’s Hawk plan. “It gives us an opportunity to offer perks and create loyalty with members,” explains McEnery.

The club now boasts about 200,000 members, who each month receive one to two bottles of Cooper’s Hawk wine, depending on the plan they purchase.

There are four options: Variety members get alternating red and white wine varietals; subscribers of the Red Club or White Club receive just those types,; and members of the Sweet Club receive only sweet wines.

Members who live near a Cooper’s Hawk location can pick up bottles in person for $18.99 or $35.99 each month, for one or two bottles, respectively. (The Sweet Club wines are $16.99 to $31.99). Wines can also be shipped for monthly dues of $79.99 to $139.99.

The wine club began with basic offerings, Warren says, and evolved organically. Now members can get unique blends and varietals, such as chenin blanc viognier or syrah petite sirah.

Other offerings may include collaborations like a wine project with Buena Vista Winery, the oldest premium winery in California, or Cooper’s Hawk’s interpretation of familiar blends such as GSM or BDX (Bordeaux-style blend).

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-27-47-pm

“Everything we do is about creating value,” explains Matt McMillin. “These clubs and events all keep people connected and make superfans out of guests.”

Wine Events

The wine club members also receive regular invitations to special events and tastings, points towards Cooper’s Hawk rewards, and invitations for Wine Club trips that take fans across the globe.

The special events include higher-end pairing dinners, which plate five-to-six dishes alongside pours from the Cooper’s Hawk lux line of wine. A recent dinner featuring chef Emily Ellyn paired a farmer’s market salad with viognier, home-made ricotta-taleggio ravioli with barbera and strawberry rhubarb meringue tarlets with rhubarb wine.These events also enable the company to seek feedback from their fans on any new foods and wines.

“Everything we do is about creating value,” explains McMillin. “These clubs and events all keep people connected and make superfans out of guests.”

Wine club members can also have access to Cooper’s Hawk executives. “Rob talks directly with Wine Club members on a regular basis. Some of them travel all over the world and send photos to me,” McMillin says. “And they’re also inviting their friends into the wine club,” he adds.

McMillin recalls a particular Wine Club trip that came to influence others that followed. He was in Portugal with about 20 members staying on a mountainside hotel.

After a group activity, guests had the options of returning to the hotel and then heading out on their own for dinner, or having McMillin and his staff procure local wine and food for an impromptu mountainside picnic. Everyone chose the latter.

Word of the resulting dinner circulated through the wine-club membership. Now the trips typically include a similar, spur-of-the-moment group activity. “It speaks to the fabric of what we do,” McMillin says. “We create entertaining experiences that people remember and crave.”

Educating the Whole Team

The servers at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants must be well versed with the wines to provide a high level of service and engaging customer experience. Warren explains that many staff are Cooper’s Hawk superfans themselves, making them proficient with wines on the menu if guests have questions.

Our staffers education goes beyond mere passion: Servers and tasting-room attendants sample Cooper’s Hawk wines every day before the lunch and dinner shifts. These “community meetings” take place in each restaurant, and focus on wine-of-the-month offerings, their chef-pairing recommendations and other current specials. “Our staff are always thinking about wine and food pairings,” says McMillin.

It’s not just servers that benefit from a wine education, however. The Cooper’s Hawk offices, or “restaurant support center” as its called, also hold community meetings once a month. At some, Warren will lead participants through tastings, working his way through all the departments.

“That way, everyone understands a little bit better about what everyone else does here at Cooper’s Hawk,” Warren explains.

Encouraging Experimentation

Wine-centric customers today love to explore, McEnery says.Millennials in particular have a world view on international wines, along with an increased openness to different wines and wine education, he notes.

Cooper’s Hawk plays into this curiosity and experimentation by presenting guests with multiple opportunities to taste different bottles.

Servers will pour a sample by request for guests in the restaurant, ensuring that what they order matches their palate’s preference. And for the adventurous or curious drinker, Cooper’s Hawk offers six different wine flights.

On the current menu, the sparkling flight ($13.99) consists of blanc de blanc, sparkling rosé, almond and raspberry wines (a chardonnay base with flavoring); the white flight ($13.99) is sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, Cooper’s Hawk White, and chardonnay; the red flight ($14.99) is sangiovese, zinfandel, petite sirah, and cabernet sauvignon; the lux ($18.99) is lux chardonnay, lux pinot noir, lux cabernet sauvignon and lux meritage; and a dessert flight ($12.99) comes with rhubarb, sweet red, raspberry and blueberry wines.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-30-32-pm

The red wine flight ($14.99) is sangiovese, zinfandel, petite sirah, and cabernet sauvignon.

Guests can also create their own flight of four wines for $15.99. “Every time I’m in a restaurant, I always see a few people ordering flights,” Warren says. “It gives people the opportunity to experiment with wines and food.”

Which plays into something Warren believes is at the heart of Cooper’s Hawk: consumer education.

“We try to provide as wonderful a learning experience as possible for people,” he  says. “And we try to be as unintimidating about it as possible.”

That means offering as much education as guests want “and providing as many samples as we can,” Warren says. “That’s something that you can’t get at any wine shop.”

Full article available at http://cheersonline.com/2016/09/22/how-coopers-hawk-cultivates-customer-loyalty-while-making-wine-and-food-easy/2/

Cooper’s Hawk at Liberty Center: Wine, Dine, and Unwind

Cooper’s Hawk at Liberty Center: Wine, Dine, and Unwind

When you think of fun, creative ideas for an intimate date night, wining and dining may not be the first thing that comes to mind. The brand new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant at Liberty Center, however, just might change your opinion.

Cooper’s Hawk is a national chain with internationally recognized wines; in fact, their Lux Pinot Noir just won an impressive 99 points at an international wine competition in California. Yet, the Cooper’s Hawk location in Liberty Center has a local flair and intimate atmosphere that make the experience feel like more than just dinner — it feels like something special. In other words, it makes for a perfect date destination.Cooper's Hawk Tasting Room Liberty Center

Immediately upon entering, you find yourself in the tasting room, which makes it clear that the focus at Cooper’s Hawk is on wine (they even offer a number of retail items, which all compliment the wine lifestyle in some way). I was greeted by a wine attendant named, Jasmine, who was friendly, knowledgeable and offered great suggestions based on my personal tastes. I started with a Blanc de Blanc, which was a good way to get acclimated with what Cooper’s Hawk has to offer. The real star of the evening, however, was the Lux Pinot Noir — it just may be one of the best wines I’ve ever tasted in my life.Wine at Cooper's Hawk

Best of all, Cooper’s Hawk offers wine tastings that make for a fun, highly interactive date idea whether you and your date are already wine aficionados or are just now getting into it. Tastings consist of up to eight 1-ounce pours of a variety of wines, and attendants are trained to ask questions and give suggestions that will tailor the experience to your preferences. The selection of wines also changes every month, making this an excellent destination for a return date in the future.

Cooper's Hawk Bar at Liberty Center

While Cooper’s Hawk is a winery at heart, it also has a lot to offer even if you or your date do not like wine. The restaurant keeps a variety of beers from local breweries on tap, and also has an innovative cocktail list featuring specialties such as the Back Porch Lemon Tea.

Most important of all, of course, is the food. One of the first things you notice about the food is how much care is put into it, in both preparation and taste. Cooper’s Hawk features a scratch kitchen, and as soon as my appetizers were set on the table, I could definitely tell.

Asian Pork Belly Tostadas at Cooper's Hawk

My personal favorite was the Gnocchi Carbonara, but the award-winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas (pictured above) were also excellent. And what’s a date without dessert? The restaurant also features a fully stocked truffle case with all kinds of sweets (made fresh daily) to serve as the perfect end cap to a date night.

Desserts at Cooper's Hawk

One of the best parts about Cooper’s Hawk is its location in the Liberty Center, which puts it in walking distance from just about anything you could want on a date. Liberty Center also features a number of events — including live music on Thursday nights, a farmer’s market on Fridays and a Funny Bone Comedy Club, which is open on the weekends — that help to make Cooper’s Hawk either a great destination for your entire date or the perfect way to kick your night off.Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant at Liberty Center

Overall, I give Cooper’s Hawk at Liberty Center a $$ for price and ♥♥♥ for romance. Regardless of your experience level with wine, the restaurant’s delicious food, intimate atmosphere and local flair make it a promising date night destination for both wine aficionados and newbies alike.

Full article available - https://datenightcincinnati.com/wine-dine-and-unwind-at-coopers-hawk-at-liberty-center/

These 10 up-and-coming restaurant chains are taking over America

Everyone knows the names of the biggest restaurant chains in America — McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell. But there’s a pack of up-and-comers ready to take their place.

On Tuesday, Nation’s Restaurant News released its annual Next 20 list, ranking restaurants on the edge of breaking into — and potentially taking over — the restaurant industry. Chains are ranked in terms of US systemwide sales and make the list if they aren’t among the 200 largest restaurant chains in America by systemwide sales, but are still brands that consumers need to know.

These 10 brands are on the cusp of a breakthrough:

2. Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

Systemwide sales in US: $147.9 million (+26.30%)
US locations: 20 (+11.11%)

The wine-centric chain has figured out how to find its niche in the casual dining industry, producing 50 wines and 15 specialty blends. It also has a wine of the month club, with discounts and wine trips.

Please visit the full article: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-chains-about-to-take-over-america-2016-8/#2-coopers-hawk-winery-and-restaurant-9

The Next 20: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant Casual-dining brand targets wine lovers with tasting room, retail shop

Cooper’s Hawk offers a full menu with suggested wine pairings and also sells its own branded wine retail.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants isn’t so much a casual-dining concept as it is a lifestyle chain for wine lovers.

The Countrywide, Ill.-based concept surged again in the Latest Year, putting it high in the Next 20, and on the cusp of the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 largest restaurant chains in the country.

Domestic systemwide sales at Cooper’s Hawk rose 26.3 percent, to $147.9 million, in the Latest Year.

Unit count rose 11.1 percent, to 20 locations, all of them large, high-volume operations: Estimated sales per location rose 6.4 percent in the Latest Year, to $7.8 million.

Tim and Dana McEnery opened the first Cooper’s Hawk in Orland Park, Ill., in 2005, combining a winery and restaurant with a Napa-style tasting room where customers can sample the brand’s own wines.

 

The menu of wine-friendly fare includes such dishes as blackened ahi tuna, above, braised short rib and gnocchi bolognese. Photo: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

“There’s so much competition in this industry,” Tim McEnery said in 2010. The winery “does separate us from the average upscale-casual restaurant, as does the diversification of our revenue streams with the wine tasting room and the retail portion.” 

The chain makes its own wine at a production facility in Countryside. The winery produces 50 wines that are sold in Cooper’s Hawk restaurants. It also has a Wine of the Month Club, whose members can receive a bottle of wine each month and discounts on wine purchases for a monthly fee.

While Cooper’s Hawk is known for its wine, it’s still a restaurant. On the menu are dishes like short rib risotto, pistachio-crusted grouper and gnocchi bolognese with braised short rib. It also offers lunch entrées, sandwiches and salads.

The menu, of course, recommends what wines pair best with each item.

Keys to Success

The winery: No large-scale chain does wine quite the way Cooper’s Hawk does. The company’s production facility in Illinois makes wine and ships it across the country, with 50 wines and as many as 15 specialty blends.

Retailing: Cooper’s Hawk has a significant retail business. Its restaurants include Napa-style tasting rooms where customers can sample from a rotating selection of wines. It also has a Wine of the Month Club, where customers can get a bottle of wine a month and discounts for a monthly fee.

Patience: Cooper’s Hawk has been a hot name in the restaurant business for years, but has kept a patient approach to expansion, adding locations as real estate becomes available. That has ensured strong, steady growth for years.

Please visit the full article: http://nrn.com/next-20/next-20-cooper-s-hawk-winery-restaurant

Flavorful Feedback

Original article: https://www.fsrmagazine.com/chain-restaurants/flavorful-feedback

Flavorful Feedback

Cooper’s Hawk CEO Tim McEnery enjoys a meal with his father, a self-described burger connoisseur. The restaurant group draws menu inspiration from a multitude of places, in this case, naming a recent addition—The Leonard Burger—for McEnery’s father.<br /><br />

Cooper’s Hawk CEO Tim McEnery enjoys a meal with his father, a self-described burger connoisseur. The restaurant group draws menu inspiration from a multitude of places, in this case, naming a recent addition—The Leonard Burger—for McEnery’s father. COOPER’S HAWK WINERY & RESTAURANTS

It didn’t take long for Matt McMillin to understand what he was getting himself into. “The first time I walked onto a bus, one of the wine club members said, ‘Hey, it’s great to meet you. When are you bringing the Thai Flatbread back,” McMillin recalls, laughing. “So everybody always has their favorites, you know?”

The executive chef and vice president of beverage and culinary innovation at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has a few more opinions to sift through than most. The 160,000-plus members of the 22-unit restaurant group’s celebrated wine club are given a chance to directly affect the brand’s culture. Perhaps most notably, feedback is pointed right in the place where guests praise and complain quite often: the food.

In March, Cooper’s Hawk unveiled its spring menu. The brand, which began in Orland Park, Illinois, in 2005, and has since spread to locations in Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin, typically executes one major menu overhaul a year. This one was built from the outside in. After addressing the initial questions—what’s selling, trending, and being ignored—McMillin says the company started listening to crowd noise. For research, there’s one big wine club event each month, as well as destination trips that blend Cooper’s Hawk brass into the mix.

“I was in Portugal last May with a group of 20, and they’re real vocal,” McMillin explains. “So not only are we dining together, having a great experience together, but it’s an opportunity for me as a chef to hang out with the heavy users of our brand who give us a tremendous amount of feedback.”

A trip this past year to New England let club members sample cuisine from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard. The experience, dotted with servings of lobster rolls and shrimp boils, prompted a wine clubber to suggest a themed dinner to punctuate the experience. Hence, a base for the Toast to the Coast dinner in March was formed. “We did different courses from all of the different areas that we visited and it was crazy popular,” McMillin says.

Don’t be surprised if something similar follows McMillin’s spring trip to the Southern Coast of Italy, which he took with 35 members. “I’m going to be sending pictures and ideas back to my research team and we’re going to craft a menu from all the places we went to,” he notes. Similarly, CEO and founder Tim McEnery is also traveling to Canada with a group.

McMillin says Cooper’s Hawk also takes into account user reviews, such as comments left on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but that nothing quite beats face-to-face feedback. “It inspires this idea of making [the brand] their own and making it something special where the guest feels their voice is heard. What restaurant can guests go to and feel heard, where they can make an impact on some decisions that are going on with the company?” McMillin says. “That’s the beauty of the wine club. It’s the lifeblood of what we do.”

Cooper’s Hawk pairs wine with contemporary American food

Aurora Beacon-News

Those looking for upscale dining and a Napa-style tasting room will find that and more at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant located in north Naperville in the Freedom Commons plaza.

“We create community, and we do that through taking care of people,” said Kat Szeszak, general manager of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Naperville. “Whether it’s taking care of our team members who then take care of our guests, creating community is our mission.”

Since 2011, Cooper’s Hawk in Naperville has been serving fresh contemporary American fare infused with flavors from around the world along with award-winning wines. In addition, the company’s wine club — where members receive the winemaker’s newly released wine each month, among other perks — keeps growing in popularity.

The company’s winery is located in Countryside, Illinois, where they craft nearly 50 varietals of artisanal wines that are served at its restaurants and distributed to its wine club members.

Here’s the dish on this local treasure.

What’s on the menu? Whether you’re hankering for an appetizer, salad, entree or dessert, the restaurant’s vast menu offers something for everyone. Each dish is made fresh and from scratch, “incorporating peak-of-season ingredients,” and is listed with a bin number to guide you to the perfect wine match. From a classic cheeseburger to a trio of medallions — and everything in between — Cooper’s Hawk delivers. In addition to a gluten-free menu, there is a Life Balance menu — where each dish is under 600 calories. But don’t forget the sweets, because along with house-made desserts, they offer confections including chocolate-covered strawberries, truffles and cheesecake lollipops.

About the owner: Tim McEnery is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. An industry veteran who started as a dishwasher at the age of 11, McEnery held positions at Aramark and the Lynfred Winery before launching Cooper’s Hawk in 2005 at the age of 29. He currently resides in Roselle with his wife Dana and their two children.

A mission statement or philosophy? Led by McEnery’s passion for food, wine hospitality and people, Cooper’s Hawk is all about a “culture of community,” as evidenced by its wine club members, guests and employees. The first Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened in 2005 in Orland Park, and there are now 23 locations around the U.S., including eight in Illinois.

What’s the decor like? Cooper’s Hawk has neutral tones and high-end finishes that provide a hip atmosphere. With sleek exposed brick and stone, sleek black tables, comfortable upholstered booths and an impressive bar, it’s upscale yet comfortable.

Food specialties: Whether their popular Asian pork belly tostadas appetizer to Dana’s (named for Tim’s wife) Parmesan-crusted chicken entree, each dish is designed to pair perfectly with one of Cooper’s Hawk’s hand-crafted wines. Another favorite is the shrimp campanelle pasta with sausage, caramelized onion and a tomato-Parmesan cream sauce.

We’re different because: The Cooper’s Hawk concept combines four unique components under one roof: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room/retail gift store.

Extras: Outdoor seating is available when weather permits. In addition to catering, they can host your private party or event. Their wine club members enjoy exclusive events, rewards, discounts and gifts.

Price range: Appetizers range from around $9 to $13, sandwiches and hearty salads start around $11. Entrees like Dana’s Parmesan-crusted chicken are $17.99 and desserts are around $8.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is located at 1740 Freedom Dr. in Naperville. The tasting room and restaurant are open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go to coopershawkwinery.com.

Jane Donahue is a freelance writer.

At Cooper’s Hawk in Annapolis, wine takes center stage but food impresses, too

Full article available here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/bs-lt-coopers-hawk-review-20160714-story.html

Wine lovers, rejoice. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is the place for you.

The two-story space in the Annapolis Towne Centre features a lower-level tasting room, along with a restaurant, bar and outdoor patio on the upper floor.

Cooper’s Hawk pairs varietals with New American cuisine in an inviting, casual setting. It is not your typical mall restaurant, and there’s not a wine snob in sight.

The chain opened its first Maryland location in May, making it the company’s 23rd in the country. It is named for a winery in Illinois that gets its grapes from California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan vineyards.

There’s no doubt about the restaurant’s commitment to wine; each dish on the menu has a bin number next to it as a suggested pairing.

On a recent Tuesday evening, the restaurant was packed. We arrived without reservations and were told we would have to wait a half-hour to be seated.

We headed to the bar, where a jovial crew of bartenders explained the restaurant’s concept and allowed us to try a few wines before we decided on a glass of Cooper’s Hawk Lux Meritage, a red described as “full-bodied and refined.”

Several imbibers around us were enjoying wines decanted in large glass vessels at their tables.

If vino isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options, from specialty cocktails to craft beer and nonalcoholic beverages.

We were seated in the main dining room in a timely manner. It has an understated sophistication with soothing earth shades, wood pillars and beams, romantic lighting and bold paintings of grapes and vineyards.

We didn’t see much of our server that night. He stopped by occasionally, but the rest of the staff filled in when necessary.

A round of bronzed pretzel bread with creamy butter was a good start to the meal.

The Asian pork-belly tostadas appetizer featured five open-faced morsels. Each round was stacked with slices of pork belly adorned with slivers of scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro and radishes tempered with a sweet chili barbecue sauce.

Another dish, the Mexican drunken shrimp wrapped in bacon, capitalized on Tex-Mex flavors with a tequila lime butter sauce and a bed of fresh guacamole supporting the five fat shrimp.

In addition to other appetizers such as Thai lettuce wraps, calamari and crispy crab beignets, the kitchen turns out several kinds of bruschetta and flatbreads to get your meal underway.

Our main meals, with a few exceptions, showed care and thoughtfulness. The soy-ginger salmon was a finely seasoned specimen. Wasabi-buttered potatoes with a touch of zing and a crunchy Asian slaw were great complements to the fish.

We added a side of steamed asparagus. It was cooked to a nice crisp-tender stage, but the presentation was disappointing. The stalks were thrown willy-nilly on a plate like a pile of discarded lumber.

We can’t think of enough positive adjectives to describe the short-rib risotto. The carnaroli rice was like a multitude of juicy pearls laced with shreds of tender beef, mushrooms, onions, shaved Parmesan, white wine and a fragrant hint of white truffle oil. We paired it with a generous side dish of tender grilled broccoli.

The house-made desserts were a great exit from savory to sweet.

The ooey-gooey butter cake lived up to its intriguing name. The miniature round of buttery yellow cake sat in a pool of citrus cream surrounded by balsamic-glazed berries. A simple sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar and a strawberry on top completed the splendid dessert.

Even if you are not a fan of bananas, you’ll succumb to this version of an old-fashioned English treat. An individual-size banoffee pie was stellar, with a graham-cracker crust, banana slices, a toffee filling and a thick pillow of fresh whipped cream.

And, yes, the desserts came with wine suggestions.

It might have taken Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant a while to get to Maryland — the first location opened in 2005 — but we’re glad it finally found us.

You don’t want to miss this fun experience, especially if you’re a wine drinker.

New restaurant at Liberty Center hiring nearly 200

Original article: http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/new-restaurant-at-liberty-center-hiring-nearly-200/nrk4H/

New restaurant at Liberty Center hiring nearly 200

 New restaurant at Liberty Center hiring nearly 200 photo

The Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant location in Naples, Fla. Photo from Cooper’s Hawk Facebook page

By Eric Schwartzberg

Staff Writer

Among the Butler County businesses looking for employees this week is Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, which is scheduled to open Aug. 22 at 7490 Bales Street, Liberty Twp. in Liberty Center.

The modern casual restaurant expects to hire nearly 200 new staff members for the new location, its second in the Greater Cincinnati area and the 24th location overall for the expanding restaurant group.

Cooper’s Hawk will include four components under one roof: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room and retail gift store. Each Cooper’s Hawk location is distinctive in layout and décor, Liberty Center officials said.

Restaurant officials said their looking to hire “fresh, talented team members with a passion for food, wine, and hospitality.”

Both full-time and part-time positions are available for its kitchen and front-of-house, including line cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, houseworkers (server’s assistant), tasting room attendants, servers, hosts, and bartenders.

In conjunction with the opening, Cooper’s Hawk will host a hiring fair from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Tuesday and Wednesday in a temporary hiring office just outside of the restaurant.

Interested candidates who are unable to attend may also apply online by visiting www.coopershawkwinery.com and click on “careers” in the upper right corner.

Founded in Orland Park, Ill. in 2005, Cooper’s Hawk now has 24 locations throughout Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin, with one additional unit slated for construction through end of 2016.

It has earned ‘Breakout Brand’ and ‘Hot Concept’ accolades by Nation’s Restaurant News.