A Fine Wine From Cooper’s Hawk

Sitting on the beach at sunset with a glass of wine isn’t a bad way to end the day. But here’s an even better way – with new friends as a member of the Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club. I was lucky enough to have a few minutes with Rob Warren, winemaker for Cooper’s Hawk  to talk about the club and events that members get to enjoy like Couple’s Night. That’s coming up on the 19th.  At Cooper’s Hawk Rob’s job involves the full spectrum of your dining adventure from the sourcing, production and menu pairings for the nearly 50 wines from their Illinois-based Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. If you’ve had the pleasure of spending time in their tasting room, Rob takes care of rotating the sampling wines there as well. He has your dream job, doesn’t he? But it doesn’t stop there. He also runs the Wine of the Month Club.  A fine wine should have an equally wonderful accompaniment whether it’s an appetizer, entrée or dessert. But can you take the pressure of the pairing? Each time I’ve been at Cooper’s Hawk with friends, the suggestions have been outstanding.  Rob’s selections for our visit were delicious; he selected Trio Medallions with the barrel reserve; Pistachio Grouper which I especially enjoyed with Lux Chardonnay; Blackened Ahi tuna with Riesling; and Short Ribs with Cab-Zin Blend.

So take yourself to lunch or dinner, peruse the gift shop as you enter,  make plans to take a bottle or two home for later and linger in the tasting room. Make new friends and enjoy the experience that is Cooper’s Hawk on West Boy Scout Blvd in Tampa. Those new friends might be great travel companions if you’re lucky enough to take a trip offered through Cooper’s Hawk to the Bordeaux region of France May 17-25th, 2014.

Life is good when it’s served with wine from Cooper’s Hawk.


Wine is bottled poetry – Robert Louis Stevenson

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Dine Tampa Bay provides sample of culinary landscape for less

Laura Reilly, Times Food Critic


Across the country, restaurant patronage lags in the summer months. Here in the Tampa Bay area, August and September can be the roughest, requiring the most fortitude and ingenious marketing on the part of restaurateurs. And thus the restaurant week was born.

The phenomenon has been going strong for years in some of the country’s biggest cities, and 2013 marks the fourth year for Dine Tampa Bay. What started in 2010 with 58 restaurants has blossomed to 97 participating restaurants this year for a “week” that runs from Friday to Aug. 30.

And what’s not to like? Restaurants share marketing dollars to advertise prix-fixe three-course special menus to a broad audience and customers take advantage of affordable deals to try out new places. It’s dinner only, with casual and special-occasion restaurants spread across Hillsborough and Pinellas counties offering short lists of appetizers, entrees and dessert for $25, $35 or $45.

Last year’s Dine Tampa Bay featured more than 130 restaurants. Although smaller this year, it doesn’t showcase nearly as many chain restaurants (all right, there are familiar names like the Melting Pot and GrillSmith), with the lion’s share of restaurants representing the area’s top independent spots and notable fine-dining establishments.

It goes like this: Visit DineTampaBay.com to peruse the restaurants and their menus, then make a reservation via OpenTable.com or over the phone, indicating that you’re coming for the special dinner. Easy enough, but how to choose from this list of nearly 100 restaurants?

I’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know:

For pork belly fans

If you want to sample the IT ingredient, the menu at SideBern’s, above, (sideberns.com) features it lacquered with mushroom soy, Jerusalem artichoke and mustard seeds, Anise Global Gastrobar (aniseglobalgastrobar.com) showcases it with kimchi and coconut rice, and I’d lay a wager that at the Refinery (thetamparefinery.com) you’ll find some as well, but its menu isn’t posted yet because it will change for each of the two weeks.

The best deal

The Capital Grille (thecapitalgrille.com) has mad reservations every year because it offers a $35 menu that includes things like bone-in, dry-aged 14-ounce sirloin and their flourless chocolate espresso cake, plus they’re combining this with their summer “Generous Pour” deal — in short, it’s ordinarily very hard to get out of CG for $35 and this is a humdinger bargain. The same can be said of the Donatello, above, (donatellorestaurant.com; the last time I reviewed it I was queasy about turning in those receipts to accounting), which is offering a $45 menu that includes dishes like their tableside Caesar and vitello dolce vita, veal scaloppini with ham, mushrooms and truffle in a light white wine sauce.

For the high-tech set

All three locations of the Carmel Café ,above, (carmelcafe.com) are offering $25 menus with a real breadth of entree choices, but what makes Carmel the place for the plugged in is the tablet ordering. The same goes for Sushi Wave (sushiwavefl.com), a new sushi bar that opened in March in Pinellas Park with tablet sushi ordering (beats that stubby yellow pencil). For Dine Tampa Bay they are offering a $35 menu that includes a range of specialty rolls.

The toughest reservations

Frenzy always surrounds the new, and since Birch & Vine (thebirchwood.com) is still the hottest thing in downtown St. Petersburg, chances are these spots will be tough to nab. Diners can enjoy Peruvian ceviche lettuce cups and duck leg confit before adjourning to the rooftop patio to drink in the best view downtown. On the Tampa side, Cooper’s Hawk (coopershawkwinery.com) is still new enough to create some buzz, especially with its $25 menu that includes gnocchi carbonara and soy-ginger salmon.

Best “staycation”

End the summer with one last trip, at least metaphorically, with a visit to watch the planes at Albert Whitted Airport when dining at the Hangar, above, (thehangarstpete.com) with its $35 menu of rib-stickers like bacon-wrapped meatloaf. The new airplane-themed Flight Restaurant and Lounge (flightrestaurantandlounge.com) in Tampa will also take you elsewhere with a $25 menu of low country shrimp and grits, and Maryland-style crab cakes. On the other hand, what better way to celebrate Maine lobster month than a butter-dunked Maine beauty at the Lobster Pot (lobsterpotrestaurant.com), an offering on their $35 Dine Tampa Bay special menu.

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.


Dine Tampa Bay

Visit DineTampaBay.com to see the list of participating restaurants, all of which offer a prix-fixe $25, $35 or $45 dinner menu Friday through Aug. 30.

A kick-off celebrity chef cook-off event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. today at the TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa. Tickets are $25 and $40 and can be purchased at celebrichef.eventbrite.com.

Dine Tampa Bay provides sample of culinary landscape for less 08/13/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:22pm]

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“Foodie Friday” featuring Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Posted by Bay Bloggers on Friday, July 19, 2013

Today’s Dine Tampa Bay “Foodie Friday” sneak peek comes from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant located by International Plaza in Tampa.  This national winery which opened in Tampa in March, will feature a $25 three-course prix-fixe menu during Dine Tampa Bay Restaurant Week featuring some of its signature dishes.

The restaurant features handcrafted wines with pairing suggestions for all dishes, upscale yet casual dining, full-service bar, Napa-style tasting room and retail gift store.  This week, we had the chance to dig in and preview some of the Dine Tampa Bay menu items.

For the first course guests are given a choice of a Chopped Wedge Salad, Chicken Pot Stickers or multiple soup selections.  We were lucky enough to try two of the three options and we chose the Chopped Wedge Salad and the Chicken Potstickers.

The Chopped Wedge Salad is a signature dish at Cooper’s Hawk.  Garnished with red onion, sweet grape tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles and warm apple wood smoked bacon and even those who are not huge fans of blue cheese will surprisingly enjoy this tasty combination.  The red wine herb vinaigrette along with the creamy Salemville blue cheese balances the salad well without your palate being too overwhelmed.

The Chicken Potstickerswere amazingly delicious! Full of flavor with chicken, ginger, cabbage and sesame and served with a sweet and spicy mustard sauce then drizzled with their classic ginger soy sauce, a very tangy treat that finishes off the dish well.

Moving on to the second course, we opted for the Maple, Mustard, and Pretzel-Crusted Pork Medallions and the Gnocchi Carbonara which were both favorite menu items of our server.  The third option was the Soy Ginger Salmon, which we are sure seafood lovers will enjoy!

The Pork Medallions were glazed with a maple, mustard and pretzel crust and plated with Mary’s Potatoes, signature whipped potatoes with butter and cream, and jumbo asparagus.  Foodies (especially pretzel lovers) will love the uniqueness of this dish.


The Gnocchi Carbonara, was the biggest hit at the table!  The gnocchi, a house made ricotta dumpling, was tossed in a rich creamy parmesan garlic sauce with crispy pancetta, rotisserie chicken, sage and fresh peas.

Finishing up we had a battle to decide between the three dessert choices.  The third course offers a choice of Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries, Cooper’s Hawk Signature Chocolate Cake or a Classic Crème Brulee.  We opted for the Cheesecake since the menu said it was the “Best Cheesecake in Town.” We can officially say it lived up to its title and even though we were completely stuffed, no crumb was left behind!

Overall, this was an amazing dining experience and a must-try for everyone, even the regulars and the $25 Dine Tampa Bay menu is a deal!  Our suggestion is to get there about 30 minutes early to take part in the tasting room experience.  Make a reservation today on Dine Tampa Bay’s website through Open Table.

Stay tuned for more foodie features as we unlock the flavors of Tampa Bay’s culinary scene!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
4110 West Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, FL 33607

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Tampa’s Boy Scout Boulevard evolves into a dining destination

Susan Thurston,Times Staff Writer


TAMPA — When Jennifer Fell started working at an insurance company on Boy Scout Boulevard seven years ago, she usually ate lunch at her building’s cafe or brought food from home. Occasionally, she ventured to a restaurant along Dale Mabry Highway.

Now, she hits the circuit on Boy Scout and Westshore boulevards and at International Plaza, often seeing familiar faces at the next table.

“The quality of options has definitely improved,” said Fell, a private risk adviser for Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners. “It’s extremely convenient to have so many options within walking distance or a short drive away. It really maximizes your lunchtime.”

Professional office workers like Fell are a big reason higher-end restaurants have staked claims along Boy Scout, Tampa’s evolving dining destination of sleek, big-box restaurants. Once a stronghold of Outback brands, the strip has added 700 restaurant seats since March and more are on the way. Too much competition? Owners say there are more than enough mouths for everyone.

Outback Steakhouse blazed the way in 2000 with Roy’s, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Lee Roy Selmon’s, which is no longer part of the company. Outback co-founder Bob Basham, who now co-owns Selmon’s, said they liked being near Outback’s corporate offices on West Shore Boulevard and International Plaza, which opened the next year.

“We took a little bit of a risk, but we were very confident about the market there,” he said. “I don’t know when the saturation point is, but it seems that for every new restaurant that goes up, there’s a new apartment building or office building going up.”

Before 2000, the culinary action centered around places such as Bern’s, Charley’s, Ruth’s Chris and Shula’s steakhouses. Keith Sedita, who worked for Fleming’s and is heading up Ulele Restaurant along Tampa’s riverfront, said the Outback trio sparked interest in the area and expanded diners’ minds, geographically.

“I remember a lot of my regulars were so proud to tell me that this was the one place they went to north of Kennedy (Boulevard),” he said.

For those in the commercial real estate business, a Boy Scout address offers a finger-licking combination. It’s across the street from a regional retail mall, within reach of 60,000 to 70,000 office workers and easily accessible to an affluent customer base within a 20-minute radius.

“It’s a very good regional hub,” said Jim Kovacs, managing director of retail services for Colliers International. “If you have people who live in different places and they want to meet at a good restaurant, everybody will be happy with at least one of the offerings there.”

Boy Scout quickly emerged as a top spot when Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant searched Florida for its first location outside the Midwest. Among 100 potential sites statewide, founder and CEO Tim McEnery said the chain chose Boy Scout because of its proximity to shopping, office buildings and Tampa International Airport. He liked the traffic count — about 40,000 vehicles a day travel Boy Scout — and knew that other restaurants had done well there.

Restaurants open on Boy Scout fully aware of the competition, which isn’t just to their left or right. It’s also to the north at International Plaza’s Capital Grille and Cheesecake Factory, and along Westshore Boulevard at Seasons 52.

McEnery said being one of the new kids on the block adds pressure, but not in a bad way. Executed well, all of the restaurants can succeed, he said.

“There’s plenty of business to go around, but you definitely have to perform,” he said. “You don’t have the luxury of being mediocre.”

McEnery isn’t complaining. Since Cooper’s Hawk opened in March, he said lunch and dinner business has steadily grown. The 350-seat restaurant didn’t have lines out the door like in other cities where the concept is widely known, but it has gradually built a following. Four months in, McEnery described the location as “performing wonderfully.”

Stephen Hickey, managing partner of the newly opened Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, said Boy Scout attracts a different customer base than Hyde Park, where he used to work at Timpano Italian Chophouse. Thanks to business travelers, Mondays or Tuesdays can be just as busy as Fridays or Saturdays. Diners spend up to four hours per visit rather than two or three. Many customers are on expense accounts.

The 325-seat restaurant has intentionally left some tables open in order to focus on service and experience. Rather than drain business from neighboring places, including its sister restaurant Capital Grille, Eddie V’s hopes to build its own niche, Hickey said. Unlike a lot of other places along the strip, it doesn’t serve lunch.

“A new restaurant has the potential to create a new destination for people,” he said. “It’s a reminder for people that they haven’t been to all these other places.”

Jorge Diaz, a manager at Ocean Prime, said business has steadily grown since the restaurant opened in tough economic times in 2008 and has continued to thrive amid the recent competition.

“We all help each other out,” said the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, who used to work at Fleming’s. “I remember when this area was the (Hall of Fame) golf course. It’s been amazing to watch the whole thing grow. Tampa really has supported it.”

Boy Scout hasn’t always had upscale appeal. From the late ’40s to early ’60s, the area housed landfills on what was then considered the outskirts of town. The largest, about 100 acres at Boy Scout and Lois Avenue, closed in 1962.

The street was named after the Boy Scouts of America Gulf Ridge Council, which built its headquarters there in the early 1960s. It eventually moved to Interstate 275 and Fletcher Avenue and the building was demolished.

The influx of big restaurants has helped paved the way for new residential projects and other types of commercial development. More than 1,500 apartments are permitted for the vicinity, and new, less expensive restaurants such as Lime Fresh Mexican Grill cater to residents and locals looking for a quick bite.

“We’re starting to see more middle-cost restaurants that people will eat at three to four times a week,” said Bob McDonaugh, Tampa’s administrator of economic opportunity. “Everybody’s flexing their might because they know it’s a great market.”

Just look at Darden, he said. The Orlando-based restaurant company already has a strong presence in the area with Eddie V’s, Capital Grille and Seasons 52 but plans to open an Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse near Westshore and Boy Scout boulevards.

Brayton Knotts said his McAlister’s Deli, scheduled to open July 22 along Boy Scout, will fill a void for fast, less expensive meals. He expects up to 20 percent of his business will be takeout, much of it from office workers and people living in the apartments.

Adding 200 restaurant seats along Boy Scout shouldn’t be a problem, he said. It just spices up the party.

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Wine bar hopping in Florida

By Chris Sherman
Florida Trend

California’s vineyards are latecomers. Florida has had wine since the French Huguenots planted grapes here and made their own — call it First Wine in the First City.

Accordingly, 450 years later, St. Augustine alone has at least three spots devoted to tasting wine: The city-slick Cellar 6, the Spanish-focused Tasting Room and the San Sebastian winery stocked with wines made and grown in Clermont.

In an era soaked in craft beer and crafty cocktails, wine bars in varying formats are opening and expanding from Jacksonville to Fort Myers.

For all wine’s sophisticated status, restaurateurs say wine bars are seen as homier and more female-friendly than cocktail bars, old school or new. Craft beer does cost less for more drink, but wine is right-sized to fit Mediterranean menus, tapas portions and a new passion for fine ingredients.

“There’s something about wine and food that evokes conversation and good friends,” says Chad Munsey. He opened Jacksonville’s Ovinte last year and is eager to start a second.

Munsey knows wine and Jacksonville: He grew up there but lived and worked in Sonoma and Santa Barbara for five years and made his own wine of California grapes flying Florida colors as Huguenot Cellars.

For his latest project, Munsey morphed the longstanding Original Pancake House into a sleek 180-seat spot with patio and bocce court outside and small plates, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie inside with a strong accent on wine. He does serve beer and spirits, but there are 75 U.S. and Euro wines by the glass, 25 of them from tech chic machines that dispense in 1-, 2- and 4-ounce pours.

These devices are increasingly popular around Florida but often expensive: Munsey has dialed in some lower prices so guests can taste an ounce for less than $2.

Cooper’s Hawk, Tampa

The newest wine bar is the massive Cooper’s Hawk in Tampa, a magnum of innovation that was invented in Chicago and spills over most traditional boundaries.

The restaurant is the first location outside the Midwest for the 12-unit chain, which has its own winery. The restaurant serves only Cooper’s Hawk wines, which are made in Illinois, but they amount to more than 50 labels made from juice and wines bought in bulk largely from vineyards on the West Coast. It makes 250,000 cases a year, and hired a former president of the Cheesecake Factory as its COO.

The wines are identified only by grape, from merlot to barbera or gewurztraminer, and vintage and vineyard are not named.

Selection is big enough to include lesser varietals such as petite sirah, a few “lux” bottlings of reserve wines and an unabashed openness to sweeter grapes and fruit wines (the rhubarb is a surprise hit) and fruit beverages. Cooper’s is also setting up partnerships with Italian and Argentine vintners.

New Growth

John Washburn’s Imperial Wine Bar in Orlando pairs boutique wines with vintage furniture and architectural salvage (plus beer, cocktails and roving food trucks) for a warm funky feel. And he’s added another wine bar inside Washburn Imports in downtown Sanford, which has a similar taste for wine and antiques.

The wine bar got Miami flash and Italian zest when Cibo opened two years ago to wow Miracle Mile. The wines are deep (with ’90s Shafer, ’70s Beaulieu Vineyards and endless Italians), and the food is robust (salumeria, porcini risotto and farfalle with spinach and capers from chef Massimo Giannattasio). It’s such a hit that Canadian impresario Nick Di Donato plans another in South Beach and one in Toronto.

Cheaper Alternatives

For less expensive wining while dining, patronize a wine bar that is attached to a store. That can be done at Wine Worlds started by Chan Cox, a Panhandle wine merchant and founder of its biggest wine festival. He now has five Wine Bars from WaterColor to Palafox in downtown Pensacola, with hundreds of wines to buy and open.

Likewise at Shoals on Fort Myers Beach. Diners can shop the adjoining Sandy Butler market and wine store and take the bottle to the dining room for a $5 corkage fee above retail. Shoals uses its retail connection to price the main dining room wine well below traditional retail with more than 20 wines at $5 to $6 a glass and under $20 a bottle

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opens its first Florida location

Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic

TAMPA — Chicago-based Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened its first Florida location in Tampa six weeks ago. It found the right spot. • I bet the big credit card companies have a mission control room where a gargantuan map of the globe lights up with areas of densest credit card use — hot zones. In the Tampa Bay area, the most vigorous credit card calisthenics would illuminate Boy Scout Boulevard. Easy access to the airport and West Shore hotels and businesses, adjacent to International Plaza (what goes better with shopping than eating?), it’s where every second or two a Visa or AmEx gets smacked down in a black, simulated-leather guest check folder.

There’s a formula for what kind of restaurant does well here. They are name brand. You’ve been to these places, or at least seen them in in-flight magazines. Roy’s is in a business person’s wheelhouse, same goes for Fleming’s and Texas de Brazil (lots of meat, but upscale meat!). It’s about suave service in large, attractive dining rooms with menus that are sophisticated while being simultaneously familiar. Plus a lot of high-end hooch.

Cooper’s Hawk may be a household name in Illinois (Obama quaffed a little Cooper’s Hawk Blanc de Blanc sparkler at his 2009 inaugural gala). But Floridians have likely never heard of the wines. That’s because they are not available in stores.

It’s an unusual vision. Projected production for 2013 is more than 175,000 cases of wine, none of it made from grapes owned by Cooper’s Hawk. Founder Tim McEnery and winemaker Rob Warren source grapes from all over California, Oregon and Washington, producing wines with no vintage or vineyard designation. Because of that, of the more than 50 wines they make, many of them pleasant, there’s not a lot of terroir, or sense of place.

In a way, that’s a metaphor for all of the successful chain efforts along Boy Scout. They are competent and attractive, with menus broad enough to accommodate virtually every taste. And they could be anywhere.

As at many of the restaurants along this stretch, Cooper’s Hawk has seared ahi, it has pork belly (in 2013, you have to have pork belly). It has big chopped salads and sliders and flatbreads; it’s got steaks and Asian-inflected fresh salmon. It has burgers and spa food and big, goobely desserts. Think Cheesecake Factory, but with portions not as big, a menu not as Tolstoy-esque and a vision that’s a bit more upscale.

I could spend a lot of ink unpacking the couple dozen things I ate. It may suffice to say the entree-oriented chopped salads (Napa chopped chicken, barbecue Ranch chopped chicken, both $12.99) and the housemade desserts (especially the bite-sized ones like the chocolate-covered strawberry and the candied walnut turtle, $2.99 and $2.49 respectively) were the most successful. They weren’t original (a tip of the hat to California Pizza Kitchen for that barbecue Ranch salad, and to Seasons 52 for the little dessert idea), but tasty. The bulk of what I tried was capably made, pleasantly plated and innocuous.

What’s more interesting is the winery concept. The DIY strategy makes all the wines affordable (everything I tasted was between $6.25 and $8.50 a glass), with the staff eager to pour you a gratis barrel taste of a fruity, crowd-pleasing Bordeaux-style blend. They’ll pour you a little try of anything you’re considering, and suggest a flight of reds, whites, “lux wines” (that’s their premium line) or a flight of your own devising ($10.99-$15.99). It’s fun.

There are clunkers (the unoaked chardonnay had a Pezlike fruitiness that took it miles from a white Burgundy, and the port-style dessert wine was insipid), but the whole experience is something fresh. The 11,229-square-foot space at MetWest International sprawls in all directions, with a waterside patio, a welcoming bar and a series of dining rooms, and it’s fronted by a tasting room and gift shop that really does feel like something you’d stumble into off Highway 29 in Napa.

For now, servers (all still a little green) are stuck explicating the concept and telling McEnery’s story and explaining about the wine club (something about birthdays, and a new release each month, and a newsletter). But Cooper’s Hawk’s leave-no-stone-unturned culinary approach (there’s a whole separate gluten-free menu and a “life balance” menu on which everything is under 600 calories), plus the novelty of affordable, proprietary wines could make this newcomer a Boy Scout Boulevard hot zone.

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter. She dines anonymously and unannounced; the Times pays all expenses.

NEW Happy Hour At Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Tampa, Fla. – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will roll out a new happy hour on March 18 featuring $6.99 appetizers and $5.00 wines and wine specialty drinks, providing three hours of social networking and imbibing on the Met West Plaza.

Cooper’s Hawk happy hour will run 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 were recently named winner of 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.

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

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

Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Noir
Winemaker’s Barrel Reserve
All Cooper’s Hawk Lux Wines
All Sparkling Wines

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

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 is open 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. 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.

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. To make a reservation, guests can call (813) 873-WINE (9463).

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 twelve locations, with Tampa being its first in Florida. The uniquely modern yet casual dining experience coupled with an exclusive and active wine club has projected production of over 175,000 cases of wine for 2013.

Cooper’s Hawk has earned over 200 wine awards in seven years and was named a 2013 “Breakout Brand” and “Hot Concept 2010” Winner by Nation’s Restaurant News. To learn more about Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, visit www.chwinery.com.

For additional information or to schedule an interview, contact Candace Rotolo at         (239) 634-9401, crotolo@atthetablepr.com

Tampa Bay Business Journal: March 15, 2013

By: Sean O’Reilly

TAMPA – In this week’s Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses why how the big deal about big data, the new winery restaurant in Tampa, and the Business Journal’s 2nd annual Social Madness competition.

A number of Tampa Bay area companies are ramping up efforts to ways to analyze the massive amounts of digital information various technologies can capture and categorize.

Catapult Systems, a Texas-based IT consulting company with an office in Tampa, is helping companies navigate so-called “big data”.

Shootrac is developing technology to photograph and tag tangible items, such as construction equipment, to feed into a database.

The West Shore business district is the hot district for new restaurants in Tampa.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant opened its first Florida location on West Boy Scout Boulevard on March 11. The company invested about $3.8 million to build the restaurant. The spot was chosen because of its proximity to office buildings, retail stores, hotels and other restaurants.

Tampa Bay Business Journal’s second annual Social Madness competition is underway.

Categories will be determined by size of collective social following rather than number of full-time employees. Any business can enter the 11-week competition at www.bizjournals.com/socialmadness.

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Sneak Peek at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant [CEO Tim McEnery: ‘Wine Is Really Popular.’]

If you’ve driven down Boy Scout Boulevard anytime in the past year, you’ve no doubt noticed that it has turned into the Great Avenue of Protein and Wine. In rapid succession, Texas de Brazil rubs shoulders with Kona Grille, Fleming’s, Roy’s and Boizao Brazilian restaurant. Throw in the big boys across the street at International Plaza – Capital Grill, Ocean Prime, Pelagia Trattoria and Brio – and you’ve got yourself one crowded market when it comes to upscale dining.

Entering the fray on Monday is Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, the wine-heavy Illinois-based concept that will now number at a dozen locations around the country. Plans call for two additional in Florida in the Orlando area.

Unlike the other restaurant brands on the boulevard, Cooper’s Hawk produces its own wines using California grapes at its winery in Illinois. Those wines are used for pairings with the lunch and dinner menu, for sauces in the kitchen and as a lure to oenophiles who want to belong to the restaurant’s wine club or sample in their tasting room.

I took an advance look today at the Napa-style restaurant, gift store and tasting room and sat with founder and CEO Tim McEnery, (pictured above), to talk about the restaurant’s food and wine concept.

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

You walk into the front entrance and through the gift store and see these huge barrels and walls of wine. Wine obviously is the massive non-vebal cue here.

Where did it start and how did it evolve?

I have more of a restaurant background than a wine background. I grew up in food. At the end of the day, we wanted to create a similar concept as we did with the wine concept. Very well done, very straightforward. I can’t tell you how many people when we told them we were opening a winery concept said we should have all of these very artisan, eclectic, off-the-mainstream dishes and such.

Lots of goat cheese.

Lots of goat cheese. Lots of lamb, lamb done 25 ways. But we wanted to focus on excellent, straightforward food. Doesn’t have to be American. Doesn’t have to be Asian. It can be anything and everything we want. Then we just try to work in the wine component into the dishes, and we’re always pairing as we’re developing.

How much do the wines you’re making – and the flavors they produce – determine the menu?

Really what we want to do is create as many wine-friendly foods as we can.

What does that mean?

There’s kind of an open canvas. A great pairing could be contrasting flavors, they can be similar flavor profiles. The easy one to understand is big flavors with big wines,.so our regular cabernet is not as big a cabernet as our Lux Cabernet or our Meritage blend. So when we’re creating sauces for our steaks, is it just leave the steak alone or do we want to crust it or put toppings? I don’t think there is any food that can’t be paired with wine.

We may say our wine is very red wine heavy versus white wine heavy, and look for opportunities there. We have more lighter dishes today than we did a long time ago.

Did it start out as a winery as a restaurant?

I started dating the woman who would become my wife. She said at the time, “You’re a restaurant guy. You should come to the winery by my house.” There was a wonderful winery in Illinois called Linford Winery that we modeled for Cooper’s Hawk. They purchase grapes from California, they have all the typical wine making equipment and a sophisticated winemaker and created a great line of wines. Just like California, but they take a two day truck ride to get here.

I went to dinner with her afterwards and I said, “It’s too bad they don’t have a restaurant at the winery.” And actually, that turned out to be a good idea. You think of all the brewpubs…

Which don’t have to grow their own hops…

2013 MenuMasters “Menu Trendsetter” winner, Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos

Exactly. The food is a representation of what I think mainstream America seems to enjoy. We’ve got an Asian influence, which I think is common.

We just won Menu Masters award from Nation’s Restaurant News for our Asian Barbecued Pork Belly Nachos. (Pictured at right)

Wait a second.

I just had a moment there.

Yeah. They’re really good.

I’m a pork belly freak and an Asian sauce freak, so…

Barbecue. Pork Belly. Nachos.

And then we get a monster truck. And then we get fireworks. And then we set it all on fire.

[laughs] See? Man, we would get along well.

I don’t smoke, but now I need a cigarette.

This comes along at a time when a lot of the mystery about wine has been peeled away. People are more adventurous, so they don’t mind odd pairings or trying to think what would go with Asian pork belly nachos.

You’re right. I was reading an article that said, “Cooper’s Hawk should do well because wine is becoming more popular.” Wine is really popular. That cat is out of the bag.

But now wine drinkers like searching within that category. It’s not just Chardonnay or Cabernet. They like finding the Malbecs. They like finding the other varietals.

Absolutely. It’s like that statistic about the average amount of time that passes between purchase and consumption. What would you think that time is?

I would say… about 45 seconds. It’s very short.

That’s right.

They buy it with a purpose. They don’t buy it to collect.

That’s the average wine consumer. So we try to get them in a very subtle and open way to say that you don’t have to spend a lot of money or be sophisticated to have some really unique experiences. I remember growing up in the restaurant business I thought red wine and chocolate was a traditionally great pairing. They’re not.

If you hit the high tannins of the red with the bitterness of the dark chocolate, it doesn’t work.

They have to work together. So if you have some incredibly awesome dessert, you want a refined port. For people to be able to have those experiences in a non-intimidating way where they can ask questions, there are no silly questions to us.

My father in law is retired now. He’s been a concrete foreman his whole life. He said, “You know what I love about Cooper’s Hawk? All the wines are well made, there’s one to choose from that’s reasonably priced and if I want Malbec, there’s one Malbec. It’s really straightforeward.

We have more wines, our Lux wines, that are a bit more sophisticated. We try to have something for everyone. In a group of six people, you’re going to have someone who has never had a glass of wine in their life, you’ll have the lush like we have in my family [laughs]

And the one connoisseur who annoys everyone at the table.

Right! … and a bunch of regular folks who just want pinot grigio or pinot gris with their meal.

What advantage does producing your own wine give you?

First of all, we make all of our own wines. We try to create wines that are right down the fairway. This is a prototypical California Cabernet Sauvignon that is well made and competes with any wine in the price category.

The advantage is we’re in total control over it. In April, we have our wine of the month club. Our wine is an international blend. We’ve created a San Giovese just for us that is blended with our Merlot we made from California. Some people might not know that they like San Giovese from Tuscany, this is a nice, subtle way of introducing.it. And if you like San Giovese and California wines, it’s awesome.

It’s your gateway wine.


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