Social Media Matters: #KCRW has right recipe for social success


Kiran Ross
Contributing Writer

If you dined at any number of Kansas City-area restaurants in mid- to late January, you likely saw special menus or signage proclaiming Jan. 17-26 as Kansas City Restaurant Week.

Foodies and casual diners alike know that KC is one of the best-kept secrets. (The Zagat Survey has called Kansas City the No. 1 dining bargain of all the major cities it reviews.) The simple mission of Restaurant Week? Spotlight Kansas City as one of the country’s premier dining destinations, support the local culinary community, and give donations to local charities.

Two founding sponsors created Kansas City Restaurant Week: the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association. They were joined by native Kansas Citian Derek Gale, Harvesters and other area organizations, as well as online restaurant reservations partner OpenTable. This year, 10 percent of sales for each meal ordered were donated to a combination of three local charities: Harvesters — The Community Food Network, the KC Regional Destination Development Foundation and the Greater KC Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. In 2013, more than $175,000 was raised for these three charities. KC Restaurant Week diners ordered from special prix-fixe menus at participating restaurants. Multi-course lunches were $15, and dinners were $33.

If you paid attention to social media during Restaurant Week, it was suggested that you use the hashtag #KCRW2014 along with your Foursquare or Facebook checkin, or when tagging your photo-worthy meals on Instagram.

You see, social media is a BIG part of Restaurant Week, and the folks behind the scenes that drive the social media efforts continue to impress. Mobile is an integral part of the Restaurant Week experience — you can download the KCRW Mobile App, search for restaurants by name/location/cuisine and go on to make an advance reservation using Open Table. It’s all rather seamless and encourages multiple restaurant visits during the celebration.

Whenever I dined out, I noticed near-capacity crowds, and local restauranteurs couldn’t have been more pleased. A real win-win.

So, how successful was the event from a social media perspective? As it turns out, very. According to Travis Joyal, a principal at the celebration’s agency of record, Page Communications, social media use continued to grow and engage on multiple levels.

“The contests, the hashtag (#KCRW2014) and content received huge responses,” Joyal said. “The level of media generated grew as well. We were extremely pleased, and the numbers continue to roll in.”

A few highlights:

• Page views to the KCRW website numbered 780,913 for the 10-day event, a 72 percent increase from 2013.

• Many restaurants’ pages garnered more than 7,000 page views. One restaurant logged a massive 11,238 page views. (These numbers represent clicks on the member page, not clicks on menus.)

• Mobile app downloads hit an all-time high: 17,783 (up 413 percent from Day 1 in 2012)

The restaurants themselves are citing social media as a huge component of KCRW and recognizing its importance in the overall PR and marketing strategy of the event. “In social media, we have seen so many people mentioning Restaurant Week as the driving factor to visit Cooper’s Hawk,” said Melanie Pierce, manager of marketing communications, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant. “Restaurant Week is something we definitely want to do every year!”

The social success can be attributed to several things, which may merit consideration in your organization (where appropriate):

• Cause marketing works. People will support something they believe in. Harvesters is a Kansas City fixture and people will get behind a charity that directly and positively impacts our city’s hungry citizens.

• People like sharing their experiences with others. By nature, eating out is a social event, as evidenced by the myriad Foursquare and Facebook check-ins and Instagram uploads. (For you retail-facing businesses out there — shopping can be very social, too! Have you ever seen photos or videos of people’s “hauls?” California teen Bethany Mota has “hauling” figured out. Read more about the young millionaire here.)

• Find and use an effective hashtag. The use of a well-publicized hashtag (#KCRW2014) made it easy for people to follow along and engage with others about restaurants, menus, reviews, chefs, etc. Hashtags work well with Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook.

• A clear, easy-to-use mobile app was available. It was a simple process for Kansas Citians to download the app, search for and find participating restaurants, and make an advance reservation. There was no need to call the restaurant ahead of time — everything could be accomplished via mobile, which is where it’s at! (See our previous column on the topic.)

• Paid advertising on social platforms works. The KCRW team used Facebook Promoted (“Boosted”) Posts and Page ads as well as Twitter Promoted Tweets to gain maximum exposure to a targeted online audience. TARGET > PAY > ADJUST

The numbers are still rolling in, but #KCRW2014 was record-breaking on many fronts. Congratulations to the organizers and to all participating restaurants. I’m already looking forward to next year’s socially savvy deliciousness!

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Hits and misses at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

By STEVE PAUL
The Kansas City Star

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant gets some serious kudos for its makeover of the Plaza space that formerly housed the 810 Zone.

With glass accents, trimmed limestone columns, woodlike veneers and wine barrels, the place has a kind of sleek corporate sheen, befitting a small and expanding chain, born eight years ago outside Chicago and built around the concept of an upscale Napa Valley wine purveyor.

You might feel a little sense of dislocation when you walk in.

There’s a retail store with fancy cork pullers, decanters and wine-culture odds and ends for sale. (“It reminds me of Cracker Barrel,” one of my young, wisecracking friends said on her first visit.) There’s a stand-up bar for wine tastings.

Farther in is a good-looking full-service bar with a dining area of high and low tables. Then up the open staircase (or an elevator) is a multilevel warren of dining rooms, each scaled nicely to give the overall sprawling space a sense of intimacy at your table.

Then comes the spiel.

At the outset, your eager server will explain everything to you in a fast fountain of words: how Cooper’s Hawk makes its own wines, how chefs and winemakers teamed up to create dishes with a specific wine in mind (look for the bin numbers to find the one that goes with your food), yada yada. You might feel exhausted by the time you start looking over the menu, which in itself is an eye-glazing romp of all-over-the-place American-fusion tastes.

The Cooper’s Hawk strategy — judging by its food and its wines — seems to be “something for everyone.” The menu is peppered with a wide variety of Asian-influenced dishes as well as Mexican, Italian and American Midwestern tastes. And the wine ranges from the most cloying of sweet reds and fruit wines to some elegant and sophisticated pours.

On my first visit, with my regular dining companion, She Who Is Not Easily Pleased, we spent some wait time on a Saturday night sipping the monthly selection of wines at the tasting kiosk ($7 a person). I felt kind of trapped and not just because Cooper’s Hawk products are the only wines served.

For a while we were surrounded by a proselytizing member of the restaurant’s wine club and a wobbly, drunk college student. But I dutifully made my way through a half dozen small samples, a couple of which I’d probably try again. I had no interest in the almond-flavored bubbly at the end, but luckily, sort of, by the time we got to that one our table was ready.

We came from that dinner with emphatically mixed feelings, especially after an encounter with a hardly edible dish of canneloni — it was way too salty, and the pasta was way underdone. When we mentioned it to the manager, he said he understood our displeasure. Just the day before, he’d complained to the kitchen that there wasn’t enough salt in a vat of stock. Maybe they’d overcompensated. In any case, he took the dish off the bill.

We had been pleasantly surprised by an appetizer of Asian BBQ pork belly nachos, a lively mix of textures (crispy tortillas, tender braised pork belly) and distinct flavors (tangy radish, chili sauce). But I had an issue with my bowl of short rib risotto: the meat was not quite tender enough inside and had a crust that was too chewy by half, suggesting that the short rib had either been undercooked or had sat too long in a post-prep state before being reheated to serve.

I gave the place some shakeout time before going back.

Then, for lunch one day I downed a Zin burger — a half-pound patty of ground Angus topped by zinfandel-braised onions and a slice of Gruyere. I lost track of how many times the chatty server mentioned how fantastic that one was, but it was just OK. And I was not too impressed with the funky Asian slaw on the side — I’m not sure if it was the julienned cabbage and bell peppers or the soy ginger sauce they were tossed in, but I left most of it on the plate; I could’ve had fries, but no, I was trying to be good.

So I had a sense of dread recently going back for dinner.

Pleasant surprise: Despite a few issues, things turned out much better than expected.

Some mild alarms went off round my table of five serious eaters when a couple of our appetizers came to the table somewhat short of hot. Yet the Mexican drunken shrimp had its attractive qualities — fresh avocado and a spiky tequila-lime butter sauce — although with a mere sliver of bacon on each tender shrimp, all of us experienced a momentary longing for crispy bacon-wrapped Paco shrimp, a standard-setting version that was a bar staple at the late great JJ’s.

A platter of chicken-stuffed mushrooms also came out a bit tepid, and, despite one of the longest ingredient lists I’ve ever seen, more than one of my table mates judged the dish to be disappointingly bland. The ground chicken filling hardly showed off the promised seasonings and accents. (For the record: “Slow-Roasted Chicken Rubbed with Traditional Mexican Spices and Savory Chiles, Chicken Chorizo, Pepperjack Cheese, and Cilantro. Stuffed in Jumbo White Mushrooms. Served with a Chipotle Tomato Sauce, Crispy Tortilla Strips, and Sour Cream.”)

We were very much impressed by that night’s special: a Parmesan-crusted grilled flounder. Fresh fish arrives daily, we were told, and the flaky fillet was allowed to speak for itself beneath a very light coat of cheese. The achievement here bodes well for the pistachio-crusted grouper on the main menu, which I have not yet sampled.

Jambalaya, with chicken, shrimp and spicy cubes of andouille sausage, was rich, filling and vibrant. We shared a plate of gnocchi pomodoro as a communal side dish and liked the house-made, ricotta-light dumpling and its velvety coating of tomato sauce.

Other dishes met mostly medium expectations, though each fell short of perfection: Scallops were slightly undercooked and lacked a crispy cap, but that didn’t detract much from the savory package, including asparagus spears and tarragon wine butter sauce. Flatiron steak frites had a lot going for it, including crispy, seasoned fries, though the meat came out much closer to rare than medium rare as ordered. The red wine mustard short ribs were a cut above my early experience with short rib risotto, and the mustard beurre blanc gave a sassy edge to the bed of roasted vegetables and potatoes, along with the fried onion strings on top.

We never got around to checking bin numbers and trying to pair suggested wines with each dish. We tended to order what we thought we liked, sampled a range of tastes at various price points, and, lo and behold, the better glasses went quite well with whatever we found on our plates. As it should ever be. The point being, you don’t need to feel like you’re on a forced march through a Cooper’s Hawk wine experience.

As it turned out, our fivesome had quite a good time around the table for three hours or more, and, it seemed, we closed the joint down without even realizing it.

Star ratings

Food: * *  A solid variety of new American fusion tastes comes out of an industrial-oriented kitchen not always hitting on all cylinders.

Service: * * 1/2 Friendly, eager, fairly well trained and sometimes overly enthusiastic.

Atmosphere: * * *  A good looking place with surprising opportunities for intimate dining.

Star code: * Fair, * * Good, * * * Excellent, * * * * Extraordinary

Restaurant hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30: a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

Entree average (including nightly specials): $$

Vegetarian options: Lots of salad options, portobello sandwich, caprese panini, roasted eggplant ravioli, plus “life balance” and gluten-free menus.

Handicapped accessible: A ramp on the hillside Broadway entrance; elevator access to upper floors.

Parking: Street or nearby Plaza garages.

Kids: A kids menu includes some typical offerings such as hot dogs, a burger and mac and cheese ($5.99 each), plus a junior filet for $13.99.

Noise level: There’s a general buzz befitting a large place, but good table spacing gives you some privacy.

Reservations: Recommended on weekends; by phone.

Price code: $ Average entree under $10; $$ under $20; $$$ under $30; $$$$ over $30.

Code of ethics: Starred reviews are written after a minimum of two visits to a restaurant. When required, reservations are made in a name other than the reviewer’s. The Star pays for review meals.

Recommended

Ahi tuna tacos: $11.99

Asian BBQ pork belly nachos: $8.99

Gnocchi pomodoro: $14.99

Jambalaya: $17.99

Sea scallops: $25.99

Key lime pie: $6.99

What to drink

A full bar and a craft cocktail list are available, as well as a short list of draft and bottled beers, including an ale made by Cooper’s Hawk. When it comes to wine, though, snobs (OK, that’s kind of me, too) must get over the fact that their only options are wines made and labeled by Cooper’s Hawk. But the menu lists 45 varieties, available by the glass or bottle (mostly under $30), plus a lineup of various sangrias and a bellini.

Among the best I tasted were Lux Chardonnay, a serious glass of seasoned-fruit flavors ($9.50 a glass, $37.99 a bottle), a pretty solid Barbera ($8.50, $29.99), and the Winemaker’s Barrel Reserve, a Bordeaux-style blend available only by the glass and straight from an on-site barrel ($8.75). Unlike a lot of people, I happen to like well-made dessert wines, so I tried Cooper’s Hawk Ice Wine, and though it lacked the kind of viscosity you find in major-league versions, it gave a pleasant punctuation on a big meal.

NEW Happy Hour At Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant Will Feature 45 Wines By The Glass And $6.99 Appetizers

Nation’s Restaurant News Names Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos Top Menu Trendsetter for 2013 MenuMasters Award; Also named 2013 “Breakout Brand”

Kansas City, Mo. – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will roll out a new happy hour on March 11 featuring $6.99 appetizers and $5.00 wines and wine specialty drinks, providing three hours of social networking and imbibing on the Country Club Plaza. Cooper’s Hawk happy hour will run three hours, from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. The happy hour appetizers will feature 12 selections, including the Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos, which on Wednesday were announced as the winner in the “Menu Trendsetter” category in Nation’s Restaurant News 2013 MenuMasters Awards. Nation’s Restaurant News also named Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant a “Breakout Brand” in January 2013.

In addition to the featured appetizers, all 45 of Cooper’s Hawk’s private label wines, including Cooper’s Hawk’s Lux selections, and wine specialty drinks will be available for $5.00. Cooper’s Hawk private label wines are available only at its restaurants. Recently, Cooper’s Hawk’s Riesling, available on the happy hour menu, was awarded a gold prize at the Florida State Fair International Wine Competition.

COOPER’S HAWK HAPPY HOUR APPETIZERS MENU:

All appetizers are $6.99. Menu available upon request.

Crispy Shrimp

Jumbo shrimp wrapped with shredded crispy phyllo dough, served with sweet Thai chili and sesame mustard dipping sauces

Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos

Thin, crisp tortillas topped with Shanghai-braised pork bell, scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro, radish, and sweet chili BBQ sauce

Over the Border Egg Rolls

Southwest chicken, corn and black bean relish, cilantro, and our trio of cheeses all wrapped up in an egg roll and served with tomatillo salsa, cilantro ranch dressing, cashew dipping sauce, and Asian slaw

Ahi Tuna Tacos

Mini crispy corn tortillas filled with citrus slaw, sriracha cream, Pico de Gallo, and sliced blackened ahi tuna. Garnished with Avocado, cilantro, and wasabi cream

Chicken Potstickers

Blend of chicken, ginger, cabbage, sesame, and soy served with sweet and spicy mustard sauce and our classic ginger soy sauce

Mexican Drunken Shrimp

Shrimp wrapped in bacon and served in a tequila lime butter sauce with fresh guacamole

Tenderloin Sliders

Sliced beef tenderloin, crispy onion strings, and Dijon mayo

Thai Chicken Flatbread

Rotisserie chicken, cashew sauce, mozzarella, roasted cashews, chopped cilantro drizzled with peanut vinaigrette

Caprese Flatbread

Ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, julienne basil, pesto, and a sprinkle of balsamic reduction

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

Rotisserie chicken, tossed in buffalo sauce with mozzarella cheese, red onion, and crumbled bleu cheese

Sweet Chili Calamari

Tender rings of calamari, fried tempura style. Tossed in our mango-chili-ponzu sauce with a touch of spicy mayo

Chicken Al Pastor Stuffed Mushrooms

Slow-roasted chicken rubbed with traditional Mexican spices and savory chilies, chicken chorizo, pepperjack cheese, and cilantro, stuffed in jumbo white mushrooms. Served with a chipotle tomato sauce, crispy tortilla strips, and sour cream

COOPER’S HAWK PRIVATE LABLE WINES:

All 45 of Cooper’s Hawk’s private label wines are $5.00 per glass during happy hour. Full wine list available upon request.

Riesling
Chardonnay
Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Noir
Barbera

Winemaker’s Barrel Reserve

All Cooper’s Hawk Lux Wines

All Sparkling Wines

COOPER’S HAWK HAPPY HOUR WINE SPECIALTY DRINKS:

All wine specialty drinks are $5.00. Menu available upon request.

Sangria

Classic, delicious, and made with our own red wines

White Sangria

A twist on the classic with white wine and tropical flavors

Peach Sangria

An awesome blend of wine, peaches, and our secret ingredients

Raspberry Sangria

A new blend of raspberries, wine, and fruit juices

Passion Fruit Sangria

Tropical fruit juices mixed with our own wines

Cooper’s Hawk Bellini

Peach Nectar and Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

Service Hours

In addition to happy hour, Cooper’s Hawk offers a lunch and dinner service, a full-service bar, Sunday brunch menu, gluten-free menu, and a Life Balance menu with options all under 600 calories. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant offers lunch and dinner seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch is served from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cooper’s Hawk (wine) tasting room opens at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. on Sunday and shares the same closing hours as the restaurant. Bar hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. through 12:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.

New Sunday Brunch Offered at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant As It Enters Third Month of Business

Space Offers More Than 13,000 Square Feet Of Space To Accommodate Sunday Brunchers

Kansas City, Mo. – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, the restaurant’s only location in Missouri on the Country Club Plaza, has added  Sunday brunch to its contemporary-American menu. Cooper’s Hawk Sunday brunch is now available every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. In only its third month of operations, Cooper’s Hawk Sunday brunch announcement surrounds timely relevancy as the month of February is National Breakfast Month. Brunching gets better as each brunch entrée purchase comes with a complimentary mimosa, Bellini or glass or sparkling wine. Kids receive a complimentary glass of orange juice with each entrée ordered from the kids’ brunch menu. Cooper’s Hawk kids’ brunch menu is available to children 12 and under.

COOPER’S HAWK BRUNCH MENU:

Brunch (Includes a complimentary mimosa, Bellini or glass of sparkling wine)

Full kids menu available upon request

Napa-Style Brunch

Baked French Toast with Apples and Dried Cherries, Scrambled Eggs, Country Potatoes, Fresh Fruit, and Your Choice of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon or Vermont Maple Sage Sausage Links

Greek Yogurt With Fresh Fruit & Granola

Chobani Greek Yogurt, Vanilla Almond Toasted Granola, Fresh Fruit, and a Touch of Pure Maple Syrup

Cooper’s Hawk Eggs Benedict

Two Poached Eggs, Nueske’s Canadian Bacon, English Muffin, and Hollandaise. Served with a Side of Fresh Fruit

Huevos Rancheros

Crispy Potatoes Simmered in Roasted Ranchero Sauce with Chicken Chorizo, Grilled Chicken Al Pastor, Cheddar Jack Cheese, Crispy Tortillas, Pico de Gallo, Sliced Avocado, and Sour Cream. Served with Two Sunny Side Eggs

Baked French Toast with Apples and Dried Cherries

Served with Whipped Butter, Fire-Roasted Apples, Caramel, Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, and a Side of Fresh Fruit

Three Little Pigs

Three Toasted Brioche Rolls with Scrambled Eggs and Tillamood Cheddar, Each Featuring One of the Following: Canadian Bacon, Maple Sausage, and Applewood Smoked Bacon. Served with a Side of Fresh Fruit

The rest of Cooper’s Hawk menu features unique contemporary-American dishes with bin numbers listed next to each item on the menu, guiding guests to their selection’s perfect wine match. In addition to lunch and dinner service, Cooper’s Hawk offers a full-service bar, gluten-free menu and a Life Balance menu with options all under 600 calories.

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Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant

Around the Block, Written By: Mary Bloch

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is the new kid on the Plaza, taking the space previously occupied by 810 Zone. Fortunately, no remnant of the former tenant remains. CHW executed a total redo and introduced a new concept in the process. Walking into the building, one first encounters a retail store. I was a little surprised by the commercialism, but was later told that the idea is to replicate a Napa winery, complete with tasting room and outlet to buy wine and accessories. The Napa theme isn’t far fetched. I interviewed corporate winemaker Rob Warren last month and he explained that while the wine itself is made in Illinois, most of their grapes are sourced from vineyards on the West coast, as well as some from Michigan. Perhaps Missouri grapes will be added to the lineup at some point?! P1000834

Before we had a chance to check out the merchandise, we were greeted by a server offering us a glass of bubbly from her tray. And because it was the first week of operation, staff members were swarming, some in training and others undoubtedly on loan from other CHW operations around the country. While roaming we noted that wine-tastings are available for a small fee, and all 15 varietals of Coopers Hawk wine are available for purchase. There were also a number of pretty cool wine accessories that would have made great stocking stuffers.Coopers Hawk

The check-in desk for a table is located behind the store, at the base of the steps which lead to the dining room and in front of the bar area. We were led upstairs to our booth, which was in one of many small dining areas, making the cavernous space seem more intimate and quiet than I would have thought possible. I did note that a couple of the rooms were too brightly lit, but we were seated in a room that was more appropriate for evening dining.Coopers Hawk

My visit had been set up by the CHW public relations firm and we received a complimentary meal. Our server was a college student who loved everything on the menu, making her recommendations a bit suspect, but she was attentive, friendly and well-intentioned.

We started with a bottle of Cabernet/Zinfandel which is described in the menu as being “full-bodied and jammy with aromas of black currant, pepper, and cherry.” Ordering a bottle of red wine triggers somewhat of a production–while our server went to get the bottle, another server brought to our table a huge decanter with a tap for releasing the wine into a glass. After opening the bottle, the server poured the wine over a glass ball which aerates the wine, cools it and releases the bouquet. Looking around the room I noticed one of those decanters on almost every table. Gimmicky? Perhaps, but it was a fun touch.Chicken Lettuce Wraps--Coopers Hawk

Word to the wise, many of the apps are for sharing; we ended up with way too much food. The lettuce wraps could have been a full meal on their own, and definitely a good item to share among 3 or 4 people. There were 5 individual tuna tacos to that order, again a fun appetizer to pass around the table.Tuna tacos--Coopers Hawk

The menu is huge. It’s one of those “something for everyone” type of menus. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, chicken, pork, beef, pasta and fish specialities fill the pages.

Though it’s probably a throwback to the 90s, I love fish with wasabi mashed potatoes, so I couldn’t resist the grilled salmon with those potatoes and Asian slaw. I like my salmon medium rare and it came to the table just as I requested. Visually, there was too much wasabi butter floating on top of the potatoes; I’d rather not see just how many calories I’m consuming, but the end result made me banish that image and just enjoy them.Salmon with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

My husband had the Angel Hair Neapolitano with Fresh Garlic, Chili Flakes, Rotisserie Roasted Chicken, Broccoli, San Marzano Tomato Sauce, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. For someone who loves pasta as much as he does, he was happy, but it wasn’t exceptional. He did have to ask for Parmesan, but he’s not shy…Angel Hair pasta with chicken--Coopers Hawk

I must have had pretzel rolls at 3 or 4 restaurants the week I dined at CHW. They certainly are the “it” bread of the moment. Here, they bring one large round loaf on a cutting board to the table for sharing.Pretzel Roll--Coopers Hawk

Of course we had to try dessert, so we picked the warm chocolate chip cookie in a skillet that had Reeces peanut butter cups baked in. Naturally it was topped with vanilla ice cream. Not a bad way to finish the meal before we rolled ourselves to the car.warm chocolate cookie with ice cream--Coopers Hawk

When dining at Coopers Hawk, the word “formulaic” comes to mind, but it works so I guess that’s something. If you’re looking for a nice meal, competent service and some good wine on the Plaza, add this to your list. It’s not a small, cozy independent restaurant but, except for a few restaurants like Classic Cup, you pretty much need to leave the Plaza to have that experience these days.

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant now open

Posted by ‘What You’re Missing KC!” on Monday, December 17, 2012                             Link to original source·

The new Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened on the Country Club Plaza on December 10th and is a one of kind venue here in Kansas City.

On the main level you will find a tasting room and a gift shop that includes wine related gifts and accessories, teas, chocolates and more. The upstairs features a full scale restaurant that has perfected a menu that pairs perfectly with all of the wines.I had a chance to attend a preview event and the wines are spectacular.  I also love that they are what I would call “semi-local” as all Cooper’s Hawks wines are made from grapes grown in the USA, with 80% coming from California and the rest from Washington and Oregon. Cooper’s Hawk Winter Red is my new favorite.  This spiced red wine has hints of mulling spices and citrus and is served warm. It is perfect to sip on a chilly evening by the fire. The Barrel Reserve is another delightful wine that is never bottled and served directly out of the barrel.

In addition to all of the wines, Cooper’s Hawk has some great cocktails as well, including the best Bloody Mary ever!  Brunch service starts in January and I would highly recommend accompanying their Bloody Mary with it. Dinner was served buffet style and had a variety of menu items. Everything was delicious and my favorite was the Gnocchi Carbonara. I also really enjoyed the maple crusted tenderloin and mashed potatoes and the pesto Caesar salad and…well I guess I like everything. I promise you can’t go wrong with any dish you choose.

Cooper’s Hawk is a great new addition to the KC food scene so be sure to check it out soon!

More detailed information is below from the official media release.

Kansas City, Mo. – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will open to the public on Monday, December 10 and introduce wine lovers and diners to its only location west of the Mississippi River and first winery and restaurant under one roof in Kansas City. Opening on Kansas City’s famed Country Club Plaza, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will provide guests the opportunity to experience the concept’s award-winning wines in a traditional winery setting alongside its full-service, contemporary-American restaurant. The Kansas City location will seat approximately 300 diners in a 13,397-square-foot space and offer private dining options and amenities. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant has employed more than 150 part- and full-time team members for its Kansas City location.

It will also house a Napa-style tasting room in which guests will be able to sample a rotating selection of Cooper’s Hawk wines. Cooper’s Hawk will also feature one of the country’s largest wine of the month clubs, offering subscribers monthly wines, special discounts, invitations to exclusive events, rewards, and annual domestic and international wine trips. Since opening its first concept in late 2005, Cooper’s Hawk has received more than 200 wine awards from various local, national and international wine competitions, including two Double Gold recognitions for its Barbera, a Gold Sweeps for the Pinot Noir, the Grand Star Award for the Gewurztraminer, and title of “Best U.S. Fruit Wine” at the 2007 Indy International Wine Competition for its Rhubarb fruit wine. More recently, Cooper’s Hawk’s Ice Wine received Double Gold at the 2010 Indy International Wine Competition and the Gold “Best Dessert Wine in Show” at the 2011 Mid-American Wine Competition. In January 2009, Cooper’s Hawk poured its wines at the Illinois Inaugural Gala in Washington D.C. and its Blanc de Blanc was exclusively selected for First Lady Michelle Obama’s toast.

The Cooper’s Hawk menu features unique contemporary-American 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 and Mustard Short Ribs, and Mexican Drunken Shrimp have quickly found popularity as the restaurant’s signature dishes. In addition to lunch and dinner service, Cooper’s Hawk offers a Sunday brunch, which will start in January, full-service bar, gluten-free menu, and a Life Balance menu with options all under 600 calories.

COOPER’S HAWK MENU:
Full menus including lunch, dinner, gluten-free, Life Balance, and brunch available upon request
Lunch, dinner, gluten-free, Life Balance menus offered daily. Brunch menu offered Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Distinctive items include:

Starters
Thai Lettuce Wraps, Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos, Blackened Ahi Tuna, Chicken Al Pastor Stuffed Mushrooms, Over the Border Egg Rolls, Sweet Chili Calamari, Chicken Potstickers, Mexican Drunken Shrimp

Soups & Salads
Caesar Pesto Chopped Salad, Chopped Blackened Cobb Salad, Napa Chopped Chicken Salad, BBQ Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad, Crab & Lobster Bisque, Tortilla Soup

Entrees
Chicken Giardiniera, Gnocchi Carbonara, Roasted Eggplant Ravioli, Soy Ginger Salmon, Seafood Cannelloni, Pistachio Crusted Grouper, Trio of Medallions, Red Wine Mustard Short Ribs, Flatiron Steak Frites

Burgers &Sandwiches
Zin Burger, Pepperjack Cheese with Jalapeno Bacon Burger, Black Bean Burger, Caprese Panini, Honey Smoked Turkey & Brie, Asian BBQ Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Desserts
Key Lime Pie, Banoffee Pie, Banana Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich, Truffles and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Gluten-Free Menu
Mexican Drunken Shrimp, Caesar Pesto Chopped Salad, Sea Scallops, Short Rib Risotto, Anne’s Chicken Saltimbocca, Southwest Chicken Sandwich, Napa Chopped Chicken Salad, Zin Burger

Life Balance Menu
Life Balance Chicken Potstickers, Life Balance BBQ Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad, Life Balance Ahi Tuna Tacos, Life Balance Zesty Giardiniera Burger, Life Balance Chocolate-Covered Strawberry

*Sunday Brunch (Includes a complimentary mimosa, Bellini or glass of sparkling wine)
Napa-Style Brunch, Baked French Toast with Apples and Dried Cherries, Three Little Pigs, Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit & Granola, Cooper’s Hawk Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros

*Sunday Brunch will begin in January.

Kansas City’s Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will be overseen by General Manager Chris Massengill, who fills the position with an education background in the hospitality industry paired with more than 10 years experience working in Chicago at Giordano’s Pizza, Beyond Events Catering and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Massengill started downtown Chicago’s P.F. Chang’s China Bistro as the front of house manager and ended his tenure there as operating partner.

Massengill will be joined on the management team by another Chicago transplant, Executive Kitchen Manager Nico Garay. Garay has worked at a variety of restaurant establishments throughout Chicago, including Outback Steakhouse, Macaroni Grill, Wild Fire, and Weber Grill.

Leading Cooper’s Hawk’s events and private dining will be Megan Rohde, who transferred to Kansas City from the Cooper’s Hawk in Brookfield, Wis. Rohde graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in Whitewater, Wis.  with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and went on to receive her Meeting & Event Planning certificate from Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis.

Rounding out the Cooper’s Hawk management staff is a face familiar to the Kansas City restaurant scene. John Hildebrand will act as the Kansas City location’s assistant general manager, continuing his more than 20 years in the Kansas City restaurant industry. Hildebrand’s tenure includes positions with Uno Chicago Grill, Trezo Vino, Trezo Mare, NoRTH, and most recently, Zócalo Mexican Cuisine & Tequileria.

Service Hours
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant offers lunch and dinner seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch is from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The tasting room opens at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. on Sunday and shares the same closing hours as the restaurant. Bar hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:00 a.m. through 12:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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 ten locations, with Kansas City, Mo. slated as its eleventh. The uniquely modern, yet casual dining experience coupled with an exclusive and active wine club has led to projected revenues over $75 million for 2012.

Cooper’s Hawk has earned over 200 wine awards in seven years and was named “Hot Concept 2010” winner by Nations Restaurant News. To learn more about Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, visit www.chwinery.com.