Cooper’s Hawk bringing wine-and-food tasting flights to Easton

Staff reporter- Business First
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is landing at Easton Town Center.

The Countryside, Ill.-based chain is scheduled to open this fall at the north end of the Columbus retail development near Nordstrom and Anthropologie, hoping to appeal to oenophiles as well as newbies.

“Sometimes it can be hard to go out and not know wine,” said spokeswoman Melanie Pierce. “That’s why it’s important to be able to provide samples, so customers can taste and learn.”

Cooper’s Hawk produces its wines – 47 are listed on its website, including selections of traditional reds, whites and sparkling wines, as well as sweet, fruit and holiday options. Pierce said grapes come from California, Washington state and Oregon, and production is undertaken at its Illinois winery.

The restaurant’s menu will be contemporary American with appetizers such as Southwest-style egg rolls and tenderloin sliders, beef, chicken and seafood entrees, steaks, burgers, salads and sandwiches.

“We create our dishes with our own wines in mind,” Pierce said.

Dishes will range from $10 to $30. In addition to the restaurant set-up, the 13,000-square-foot space will include a tasting room with tastings starting at $7 for as many as eight samples.

“It’s a neat way to kick off dinner or do a tasting before you go out,” Pierce said.

There will be plenty of space for dinner. The restaurant expects to seat 400.

Jen Kaufman, Cooper’s Hawk director of real estate, praised the Columbus’ restaurant scene and said Cooper’s Hawk was drawn to the city because it is near the company’s home base. Of the company’s eight restaurants, six operate in Illinois, one is in Indianapolis and the other is in Wisconsin. Columbus is one of four new openings expected by early 2013, a wave that will take the business into Missouri and Florida.

“Easton is one of the top projects in the country and provides great exposure to their tenants,” Kaufman wrote in an email to Columbus Business First.

The chain was founded in 2005 and projects $75 million in sales for 2012, including 150,000 cases of wine. The brand claims more than 200 wine competition awards.

Dan Eaton covers retail, restaurants, manufacturing, automotive and the advertising/PR industry for Business First.

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