Those looking for upscale dining and a Napa-style tasting room will find that and more at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant located in north Naperville in the Freedom Commons plaza.
“We create community, and we do that through taking care of people,” said Kat Szeszak, general manager of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Naperville. “Whether it’s taking care of our team members who then take care of our guests, creating community is our mission.”
The company’s winery is located in Countryside, Illinois, where they craft nearly 50 varietals of artisanal wines that are served at its restaurants and distributed to its wine club members.
Here’s the dish on this local treasure.
What’s on the menu? Whether you’re hankering for an appetizer, salad, entree or dessert, the restaurant’s vast menu offers something for everyone. Each dish is made fresh and from scratch, “incorporating peak-of-season ingredients,” and is listed with a bin number to guide you to the perfect wine match. From a classic cheeseburger to a trio of medallions — and everything in between — Cooper’s Hawk delivers. In addition to a gluten-free menu, there is a Life Balance menu — where each dish is under 600 calories. But don’t forget the sweets, because along with house-made desserts, they offer confections including chocolate-covered strawberries, truffles and cheesecake lollipops.
About the owner: Tim McEnery is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. An industry veteran who started as a dishwasher at the age of 11, McEnery held positions at Aramark and the Lynfred Winery before launching Cooper’s Hawk in 2005 at the age of 29. He currently resides in Roselle with his wife Dana and their two children.
A mission statement or philosophy? Led by McEnery’s passion for food, wine hospitality and people, Cooper’s Hawk is all about a “culture of community,” as evidenced by its wine club members, guests and employees. The first Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened in 2005 in Orland Park, and there are now 23 locations around the U.S., including eight in Illinois.
What’s the decor like? Cooper’s Hawk has neutral tones and high-end finishes that provide a hip atmosphere. With sleek exposed brick and stone, sleek black tables, comfortable upholstered booths and an impressive bar, it’s upscale yet comfortable.
Food specialties: Whether their popular Asian pork belly tostadas appetizer to Dana’s (named for Tim’s wife) Parmesan-crusted chicken entree, each dish is designed to pair perfectly with one of Cooper’s Hawk’s hand-crafted wines. Another favorite is the shrimp campanelle pasta with sausage, caramelized onion and a tomato-Parmesan cream sauce.
We’re different because: The Cooper’s Hawk concept combines four unique components under one roof: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room/retail gift store.
Extras: Outdoor seating is available when weather permits. In addition to catering, they can host your private party or event. Their wine club members enjoy exclusive events, rewards, discounts and gifts.
Price range: Appetizers range from around $9 to $13, sandwiches and hearty salads start around $11. Entrees like Dana’s Parmesan-crusted chicken are $17.99 and desserts are around $8.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is located at 1740 Freedom Dr. in Naperville. The tasting room and restaurant are open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go to coopershawkwinery.com.
Jane Donahue is a freelance writer.