From the community: Tim McEnery Cooper’s Hawk Founder to Speak at Orland Chamber Meeting

By Community Contributor Mary A. Compton
Chicago Tribune/Orland Park Patch

At 11 years old Tim McEnery would stand in the kitchen of Green Garden Country Club washing dishes.

While other boys his age were playing baseball, he was dreaming of owning his own restaurant.

Today that boy Tim McEnery is now the Founder/CEO of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants.

” I always had a passion for the restaurant business,” said McEnery. ” I hoped one day I could start a business of my own. Never in a million years did I think it would be this.”

Catholic-educated, McEnery, raised in Orland Park spent eight years at St. Michaels, graduated Marist High School in 1994 and earned a Degree in hospitality management from Purdue University.

A motto from the university states: ” What we make moves the world forward.”

McEnery has certainly learned to live by this, with grace.

He hosts a wine golf outing each year that supports the Keep on Keeping on Foundation. This non-profit organization assists the special needs in the community.

Walking through the Cooper’s Hawk offices in Countryside, ( which he calls the restaurant support center) he makes sure he says hello to everyone. ” Every day I think about the 2300 people that work for Cooper’s Hawk. Bringing on all these great people has enabled us to do what we do, ” McEnery added.

Today there are 16 Cooper Hawk Winery and Restaurants in six states. Two more will be added by the end of the year, one in Springfield the other in Richmond Virginia.

South suburban residents are excited to see another Cooper’s Hawk in their own backyard, Oak Lawn. ” I’m excited about this one, it should be open around March ” McEnery said. ” I have no doubt that there could be 100 Cooper’s Hawks in the United States. What is most important to me is that we do it in the right way.”

” Growing up in Orland Park made a huge impact on my decision to open the first Cooper’s Hawk there. We had looked all over the Chicago area , there was only one guy crazy enough to give us a shot, it was in Orland Park,” McEnery said.

” Serendipity,” he said with a smile.

Orland Park welcomed Cooper’s Hawk with open arms. “Over the years Mayor Dan has been one of the best supporters of ours,” adds McEnery.

Mayor Dan McLaughlin feels the same way as he sent the comment;

“As mayor, I am especially proud of watching Tim McEnery grow up in Orland Park, make his dream a reality in his own hometown and become hugely successful. Cooper’s Hawk is a great restaurant, offering its own wines and a unique gift shop, making it truly a hot spot in the southwest suburbs. I am very happy that Cooper’s Hawk started in Orland Park and wish them continued success.”

What makes the place so unique? A variety of reasons, from the perfect tailored wine to an American cuisine that rivals any Chicago fine dining establishment.

The next four weeks are the busiest as grapes travel from California to Cooper’s Hawk plant and offices in Countryside Illinois. The grapes will go into the stemmer and then go into the tanks for fermentation.

One of McEnery’s favorite times. ” Tasting and smelling the wine is the most important thing that we do, to make sure they are the right quality,” he said.

Cooper’s Hawk features about fifty wines plus the twelve wines of the month.

” As McEnery points to the barrels, ” We do twelve different wines every year for the wine club. Occasionally we add a different style of wine. The wine club is where we do innovations, different blends.”

McEnery doesn’t let anything go to waste. Environmentally savvy, Cooper’s Hawk is the only winery that recycles their bottles.

” Obviously the concept of Cooper’s Hawk is very unique,” McEnery said. ” I always tell everyone in my meetings, coming up with the idea was the easiest that we’ve done, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to keep this going.”

Everyone in Cooper’s Hawk, from the server to the CFO, goes through fundamental wine training. It is a five day course for a new server but as McEnery explains ” the wine education continues daily, through the course of their career.”

Cooper’s Hawk boasts a full menu, from tortilla soup, ribs, steaks, gnocchi, even featuring a gluten free menu.

So what is Tim McEnery’s favorite dish? ” That’s like picking which of your kids you like best.”

” If I had to choose a favorite dish, today it would be Chicken Giardiniera. Cooper’s Hawk is a great place to go out for dinner, even if you don’t drink wine.

McEnery offers advice to those wanting to start a business. ” Once you get the first business going, everything falls into place. Persistence and hard work is number one. Then surround yourself with great people.”

Rob Wehmeier, successful business owner of Wehmeier Portraits and Orland Park Area Chamber President, encourages those to come and learn from Tim McEnery.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing his presentation at the Monthly
Member Meeting, said Wehmeier. ” I love the atmosphere that he created at his restaurant and have enjoyed our member event we have held there, it makes a memorable night for everyone. I am looking forward to hearing his story about how he as made such a recognizable brand.”

As McEnery prepares to speak at Silver Lake, his humble attitude speaks of his success.

” There have been so many people that have made us successful, whether it was the Orland Chamber or the Small Development Center at Moraine Valley College. We try to be as generous to help others, we wouldn’t be here without a lot of help from a whole lot of people.”

To hear the story of Tim McEnery, CEO/Founder of Cooper’s Hawk attend the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday, October 22nd at 7:45am. The event will be held at Silver Lake Country Club, 14700 S. 82nd Ave., in Orland Park. Chamber members with RSVP are $15. Non-members and at the door is $20. Breakfast will be served.

To RSVP or if you have additional questions, please call the chamber office at 708-349-2972.

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Best Bites: Cooper’s Hawk going gangbusters

Jeff Keast, of Bourbonnais, and I share a love of good wine and good food. We’re constantly comparing notes about our favorite restaurants. Last week, Jeff and his wife, Jenny, invited Glenn and Lynn Nixon, and my husband, Dave, and I to one of his favorite places — Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Orland Park.

We began the evening with a wine tasting. We sampled eight different varieties, but my favorite was the cranberry fruit wine — tart, sweet and with a just hint of cinnamon. A bottle came home with me.

For appetizers, we enjoyed a bottle of fruity plum wine with delicious handmade crab cakes and Mexican drunken shrimp with a delicate tequila-lime butter sauce. We also tried the caprese — ripe tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, red onion, pesto and julienne basil with a balsamic glaze.

Each of us ordered something different for a main course. The maple, mustard and pretzel-crusted pork medallions were scrumptious, very tender with just a slight sweet-salty flavor. They were served with Mary’s potatoes, which were like a twice baked potato without the skin, and fresh (yes, fresh) asparagus tips. A trio of filet medallions (horseradish, bleu cheese and Parmesan-crusted) also came with Mary’s potatoes and asparagus. The New York strip steak was cooked to perfection. We enjoyed a beautiful Romance red wine with our entrees.

For dessert, we shared a wonderful creme brulee, chocolate mousse cake with ganache and vanilla ice cream, and a Reese’s ice cream cookie with peanut butter cups and vanilla ice cream.

Although the food and wine are scrumptious, I was interested in the restaurant and its owner, Tim McEnery. He opened the first winery and restaurant in 2005 at the Orland Park location and now has opened 11 additional Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and, most recently, Florida. McEnery expects an additional four to seven units to be in development through 2014.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is at 15690 S. Harlem Ave., Orland Park. Hours for the tasting room are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Phone 708-633-0200 for reservations, and check out the website, coopershawkwinery.com, for other locations, a wine list and menus.

Best Bites appears every Friday in The Daily Journal. Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at bestbites@daily-journal.com, or follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/TDJBestBites.

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Get ready for upcoming tasty events in south suburbs

By Vickie Jurkowski, Special to the Tribune

Participants grab a bite during last year’s amateur barbecued rib cook-off in Frankfort. This year, sample barbecued ribs for $1 apiece when 14 folks cook on site at the fourth annual amateur rib cook-off from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Breidert Green, Oak and Kansas streets. (Handout, Village of Frankfort)

Sometimes a little taste of something is all you need.

Have a taste of this or that — or go ahead and fill up — with upcoming events, including the Wine & Chocolate Tasting in downtown Park Forest, an amateur rib cook-off in Frankfort and the Taste of Orland Park.

If your weekends are already full, sample on your own schedule with daily wine tastings and other ongoing events at area restaurants.

Doing so doesn’t have to break the bank either.

“I’ve never seen anything this cheap that offers so much,” Park Forest community relations coordinator Evelyn Sterling said of the Wine & Chocolate Tasting, which is priced at $15 in advance ($10 for individuals in parties of four or more) or $20 at the door. “Everything is included in the ticket price.”

Tickets include seven wine tastings from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and other sponsors plus unlimited chocolates, gourmet truffles, cheeses and a “mashtini bar” for dressing up mashed potatoes.

The indoor/outdoor event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Dining on the Green, a banquet facility located at 349 Main St., overlooking the Village Green in downtown Park Forest.

For other details, call 708-283-5621 or go to villageofparkforest.com.

Over in Frankfort, sample barbecue ribs for $1 apiece when 14 folks cook on site at the fourth annual amateur rib cook-off from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Breidert Green, Oak and Kansas streets.

“The wide variety of special recipes and sauces provides friendly competition among the contestants,” said Mary Canino, manager of community relations for the village of Frankfort. “Downtown Frankfort is a perfect setting and completes the package for a great blend of food, friends and family.”

Proceeds benefit the Frankfort Jaycees and Lions Club, who will have a concession stand with pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, rib tips, soda and water.

For other details, go to villageoffrankfort.com.

Also this weekend is the Taste of Orland Park featuring nearly 20 food vendors.

Located at the village complex off Ravinia Avenue and 147th Street, the 10th annual event will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, call 708-403-7275 or go to orland-park.il.us.

In addition to special events, area restaurants offer samplings year round.

Wine tastings are offered daily at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, 15690 S. Harlem Ave., Orland Park. Two wine pours are complimentary. A $7 tasting includes eight wines. Reservations are not necessary.

Call 708-633-0200 or go to coopershawkwinery.com.

If you want to be among the first to sample new seasonal beers, sign up for the Mug Club at Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, 1035 Sterling Ave., in Flossmoor. Call 708-957-2739 or go to flossmoorstation.com.

Mug Club also is available at Granite City Food & Brewery, 14035 S. LaGrange Road, Orland Park.

For a little bite to go with the beer, $5 small plates are available from 9 p.m. to closing daily.

Call 708-364-1212 or go to gcfb.net.

To get in on private beer-tapping parties and dinners with chefs and brew masters, sign up for Rock Rewards at Rock Bottom Brewery, 16156 S. LaGrange Road, Orland Park.

Call 708-226-0021 or go to rockbottom.com.

triblocaltips@tribune.com

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Orland Park Chef’s Auction to aid breast cancer patients

By Janice Neumann, Special to the Tribune

Orland Park is revving up for its Chef’s Auction, which raises money for breast cancer patients.

The event, in its 13th year, takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 and helps fund breast cancer research for the American Cancer Society.

But it’s also a fun evening, with lots of good food. The event includes tastings and auction packages from Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant, Robert Morris University Institute of Culinary Arts, Great Harvest Bread Co., Bakers Square, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Mimi’s Cafe, Fox’s Orland Park, Papa Joe’s, Flavor Restaurant and Jenny’s Steak House.

The Orland Chateau, 14500 S. La Grange Road, donated its building for the event. Bloomingfields Florist has donated long-stem roses for cancer survivors at the event. There will be a live auction, as well as paintings by local artists Elizabeth Popp, Eryn Blaser and Dawn Poulakis. Each artist was assigned to one of the featured restaurants, and their pictures display the mood or ambience.

“The Chef’s Auction is a great event for a worthy cause, and it sells out every year,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin in a press release. McLaughlin said the village had raised more than $150,000 over the years from the event. McLaughlin and his wife are donating a pink guitar autographed by blues legend Buddy Guy.

Tickets are $55 per person or $90 per couple. Only 350 tickets will be sold, and they are available at the Orland Park Recreation Department. More information is at 708-403-7275.

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Charity Briefs for March 20

http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/lifestyles/11397843-423/charity-briefs-for-march-20.html

Dine to End MS: As part of Dine to End MS, a restaurant program that raises awareness and funds for individuals with multiple sclerois, all Chili’s restaurants across the state will donate 10 percent of patrons’ bills to the National MS Society when presented with a special coupon through May 31.

Shoe sale: Share Your Soles is having a Spring Shoe Sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through May at 5623 W. 115th St., Alsip. On sale are donated shoes that would be inappropriate or unusable to people in remote regions in which Share Your Soles distributes shoes. However, all proceeds from the sale benefit Share Your Soles.

Rockin’ the Runway: The 14th Annual Fashion Show and Dinner to benefit Restoration Ministries’ Tabitha House will be held March 20 at the Serbian Social Center, 18550 Stony Island Ave., Lansing. The theme is “Rockin’ the Runway.” The fashion show begins at 6 p.m. Dinner is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45. Tables of 10 are available. Graduates of Tabitha House, Trinity Christian College students who volunteer in Restoration Ministries’ after-school program, teens from Restoration Ministries’ Youth Group and Calvary Academy eighth-graders will be modeling. The Carson Pirie Scott store in Orland Square will provide the fashions. Call (708) 333-3370 or visit www.restorationministries.net.

Relay for Life: The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of New Lenox will hold its annual kickoff event at 6:30 p.m. March 20 at Prime Time Restaurant and Bar, 2387 E. Joliet Highway, New Lenox. Refreshments will be served and the registration fee will be waived for teams who sign up before or during the kickoff event. This year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life of New Lenox will be July 13 at Lincoln-Way West High School. Contact the American Cancer Society at (708) 633-7770 or visit Relayforlife.org/newlenoxil.

Filling the pantry: A fundraiser for the Orland Township Food Pantry will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. March 21 at 14807 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park. Admission is $5 and will include a grand raffle ticket and appetizers. A nonperishable food item donation, intended for the food pantry, also will be accepted. The evening will include shopping, wine tasting, massages, appetizers, raffles and psychic readings. Call (708) 403-4222.

LARC appreciation: LARC, which serves people with development disabilities, will hold its annual appreciation dinner at 6 p.m. March 23 at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, Ind. The evening will include recognition of LARC employees, supporters and clients for their service within the organization. Tickets are $50 per person and include hors d’oeuvres, meal and open refreshment bar. There also will be raffles and silent and live auctions. Buy tickets at LARC, 19043 Wentworth Ave., Lansing. Contact Garry Buell or Lisa Vale at (708) 474-1540.

Orland Chef’s Auction Always a Delicious Fundraiser

http://www.theregionalnews.com/atf.php?sid=26481

Proceeds to benefit breast cancer research

Sample the signature dishes of the area’s finest chefs all in one place.

The village of Orland Park will hold its annual Chefs’ Auction on Thursday, Feb. 16, to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Research Program.

“Over the last 11 years, Orland Park has raised more than $150,000 for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Research Program,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, who presides over the evening’s live auction. “The Chefs’ Auction is a great event for a worthy cause and it sells out every year. We encourage everyone to buy their tickets early because it fills so fast,” he added.

The Orland Chateau, at 14500 S. La Grange Road, donates the use of its building as restaurants from throughout the region bring in their chefs to serve their signature dishes. The evening also includes fine coffees, wines and ales and raffle prizes. The highlight of the evening is the mayor’s live auction of dinner packages donated by the participating establishments.

“The Chefs’ Auction is one of the village’s most popular events,” said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village’s Recreation & Parks Committee. “It’s a fun evening where people can try dishes from a number of restaurants and help a great cause at the same time,” she added.

Restaurants confirmed for Orland Park’s 2012 Chefs’ Auction include Baker’s Square, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, Fannie May, Flavor Restaurant, Fox’s Orland Park, Great Harvest Bread Company, Jenny’s Steak House, Mimi’s Café, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.

Also returning this year are the area artists who create paintings to capture the flavor of some of the restaurants. Artists Liz Popp, Eryn Blaser and Susan Berry will create original works of art that will be included with the chosen restaurant auction package.

Tickets are $55 per person or $90 per couple. Corporate tables of 10 are available for $600 and include a reserved table, quarter page ad in the program and the table centerpiece. Ads are available for the event program with a full page costing $200, half page at $150, quarter page at $100 or business card size at $50.

Tickets may be purchased at Orland Park’s Recreation Administration Building, 14600 S. Ravinia Ave. or at the village’s Sportsplex, 11351 W. 159th St. Only 350 tickets will be sold. For more information, call the Orland Park Recreation Department at 403-7275.

Decking the Hall for Homes, Businesses is HC Lights’ Job

http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/business/9480942-420/decking-the-halls-for-homes-businesses-is-hc-lights-job.html

By Joanne Von Alroth

HC Lights, a company from Romeoville, installs Christmas lights at homes and businesses such as Cooper’s Hawk in Orland Park. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

If you’ve driven along any of the Chicago-area major highways recently, you’ve probably seen the billboards. You know, the ones that feature an apparently frustrated, middle-aged guy draped with Christmas lights, accompanied by the question, “Can’t Get It Up?” and a web address for hclights.com.

Just in case you didn’t get the joke, it’s not what you think.

The ads are the brainchild of HC Lights/Holiday Creations Pro Inc., a Romeoville-based business that specializes in exterior Christmas lighting design and decoration. That’s right; they get your lights up.

You might not know it, but it’s likely you’ve seen their work; they count about 1,000 clients in the six-county area, many of them in the Southland.

The billboards are “just another way to stand out, and it works for us,” said Dave Nolan, the company’s spokesman and senior lighting specialist.

It’s not just the month of December that has HC Lights hopping.For us, it’s a five-month-long, intense season of setting up and taking down displays, and then we spend the rest of the year checking equipment, contacting suppliers, planning what we need to do and getting the personnel to do it,” Nolan said. “It might seem like it’s just a holiday business, but behind the scenes it’s a year-long effort.”

For those struggling to meet basic needs in this economy, paying someone to string up your Christmas lights might seem excessive. But Nolan notes that many HC Lights clients are older folks who simply can’t put Santa on the roof safely anymore.

“So many of our customers are people who’ve done this for themselves for years, but this time, trying to get up on a ladder and put up lights might just be too much,” he said.

The company offers 240 residential decorating packages starting at around $300, and expanding to what Nolan calls “the full-blown Griswold: lights everywhere.” One residential client — who’d always wanted to do it up really big for Christmas — recently dropped $50,000 for a lighting scheme, he said.

Initially, HC Lights customers pay for the lights, labor, storage and maintenance. The lights then become the client’s property, and return customers who choose the same designs pay only for storage, maintenance and labor. Customers also can choose to have permanent LED lights mounted, which are invisible until turned on and can remain mounted year-round. Clients who decide not to re-up the next year keep the lights.

The service also has bottom-line appeal for corporate clients. Walter Fisher, vice president of construction for Cooper’s Hawk Wineries and Restaurants, said the convenience and cost savings convinced him to choose HC Lights to decorate his company’s Orland Park and Arlington Heights locations.

“The reality is I could have some facility guy put lights up and maintain them and take them down after the holidays, but then what do I do for the other 10 months of the year?” Fisher said. “Where am I going to keep them? It’s just not worth the headache — we have so much more to worry about.”

Once crews remove the lights, they truck them back to the warehouse. The lights — currently numbering more than 2 million bulbs — are all stored, tested and replaced as needed during the off-season to ensure they’re ready to go come next Christmas.

“That’s the part that really takes some time,” Nolan said. “I mean, we’re talking about a couple hundred miles worth of lighting. We go through 10,000 replacement bulbs a year.”

He anticipates adding to that inventory next year if HC Lights’ customer base continues its growth trajectory. Nolan said curious entrepreneurs have called asking about franchise opportunities.

Last Minute Gifts for Mom

http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/top-5-christmas-gifts-for-mom

By Nabeha Zegar

Still contemplating what to get Mom for Christmas? We are here to help with five great gifts that are sure to make mom smile.

The countdown is on to Christmas, but in the hustle you still haven’t gotten a gift for perhaps the most deserving person on your list.

Don’t worry. It’s only because you wanted it to be real special, right?

We have a few off-the-beaten-gift-path suggestions to help make her smile this holiday.

  • Give the gift of technology. For the moms who love a great book, how about the Amazon Kindle? There are many options to choose from priced at $79 to $199 for the new Kindle Fire.  A nice touch would be to download some of her favorite books to her new Kindle before wrapping it up.
  • Could your mom use a little pampering?  There are many options for indulgent spa service that will leave her feeling refreshed and renewed.  If she has a salon/spa that she frequents, then a gift certificate from that salon/spa would be appreciated. Mario Tricoci offers options ranging from a full “Day of Beauty” ($385) to a classic manicure ($25).  Elia Day Spa in Oak Forest is offering their Deep Cleansing Facial and Swedish Massage for only $59 each. Spa services make great last minute gifts because you can print the certificate instantly for immediate gift giving.
  • Is your mom a wine connoisseur? Then she would love a wine tasting with either you or a small group of her friends. Tasting DeVine in downtown Naperville is quaint with a unique wine cellar atmosphere and a mere $6 fee for tastings. Wine/cheese pairing events are also offered.  Great tasting, local wine is offered from Lynfred Wineries. Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant offers gift cards that would make any wine enthusiast happy. Register for their free Wine Club for special discounts and offers.
  • Getaway!  Most moms wouldn’t admit it, but many are over-worked and would love to just get away from it all for a while. Southwest Airlines offers gift cards in denominations from $10-$1000 that are fee-free and never expire. A great gift to add on to this for a mom with young children is an offer to babysit while she is away.
  • Say Cheese! What mom wouldn’t love a professional photo session to capture her family for years to come?  Specials are offered at Orland Square from Picture People, Sears Portait Studio and JCPenny Portrait Studio to fit any budget. Portrait Innovations and Wehmeier Portraits in Orland Park are wonderful options as well. For a unique, on-site photo experience, professional photographers will come to your home or venue and capture your family in their finest.

No matter what gift you give your mother this Christmas, the most important gifts you can give to her cost nothing and are priceless: your time, appreciation and love.

Related Topics: Gift for mom and top 5 gifts for mom

Did you find a great gift for mom? Tell us in the comments.

Employee of the Week: A Server Who Knows Her Wine

http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/employee-of-the-week-a-server-who-knows-her-wine

By Jeff Graveline

Each week, Tinley Park Patch and Orland Park Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual employees who are holding it down at work.

We want to hear about local dedicated staff members and will highlight one them for our Employee of the Week. Submit your nominations in our comment box below or e-mail the information to Tinley Park Editor Carrie Frillman at carrie@patch.com or Orland Park Editor Ben Feldheim at benjamin@patch.com. Be sure to include all of the information that’s featured below.

Now, back to business.

Barbara Carlin-Gilder has worked at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant  for more than five years. In that time she has served couples on their first date, at their weddings and on their anniversaries, and she couldn’t be happier.

Carlin-Gilder’s sense of building relationships, and of building a community within the Cooper’s Hawk walls, earned her high praise from manager Jason Tholen and Patch Employee of the Week honors.

  • Employee’s Name: Barbara Carlin-Gilder
  • Position: Server
  • Time spent working there: Five years and two months.
  • Nominated by: Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant Manager Jason Tholen
  • Why?: “We pride ourselves on creating community and Barb does that,” Tholen said. “When she is out on the floor she is just making sure that everyone, every guest, feels a part of something and it really does show time after time.”

He added that Carlin-Gilder is, in his words, “the perfect example of someone who demonstrates gracious hospitality.”

  • Key to Awesomeness: For Carlin-Gilder, she said that her job allows her the opportunity to ensure her customers have a great experience and always leave with the smile.

“The guests that come in here are looking for a nice relaxing evening with high quality food and wine in an upbeat atmosphere,” she said. “I think that’s very apparent here. Everyone here has a good attitude and loves working here because we have such a terrific product.”

When guests come in to Cooper’s Hawk, what does Carlin-Gilder recommend her guests sip on?

“The Cooper’s Hawk White is excellent. It’s a nice semi-sweet, it goes well with just about everything,” she said. “That’s why I like it, it’s not too dry, it’s not too sweet.”

Want to meet more people nominated as Employee of the Week?

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