Talking wine, food and community with Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
1. Tell us about Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is a combination of restaurant, winery, Napa-style tasting room, and artisanal retail market. We partner with some of the best grape growers in the world to craft the award-winning Cooper’s Hawk wine collection. Additionally, Cooper’s Hawk boasts one of the country’s largest Wine Clubs, a lifestyle driven monthly affiliation offering exclusive wines, events, and privileges.
2. What sort of food do you offer?
Some of our most popular signature dishes include Soy Ginger Salmon, Chicken Giardiniera, Asian Pork Belly Tostadas and Mexican Drunken Shrimp.
3. What makes Cooper's Hawk special or unique?
To start with, we offer a modern, casual dining experience with warm service and a menu created with our own handcrafted wines in mind. The menu features unique dishes with bin numbers listed next to each item on the menu, guiding guests to their selection’s perfect wine match.
We make many of the wines we serve. In 2015 we have a projected production of over 300,000 cases of wine. Production takes places year-round using truck loads of wine grapes and fruit from California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan that are delivered directly from the vineyard to the winery door.
Since opening in late 2005 we have received over 300 wine awards from various local, national, and international wine competitions including ten awards from the Indy International Wine Competition. We recently received a 99-point score at the Critics International Wine Competition for our Lux Pinot Noir.
4. Can you tell us how the concept of Cooper’s Hawk came about?
Our founder and CEO, Tim McEnery, wanted Cooper’s Hawk to be a different and innovative restaurant concept that combined wine appreciation with great food. Tim grew up in the restaurant industry, starting out in hospitality at age 11 as a dishwasher and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Restaurant and Hospitality Management from Purdue University. After graduating Tim worked for Aramark in their specialty restaurant division for two years in order to learn how larger corporations ran restaurants. Tim knew he needed to learn the wine business so he moved on to a management position at Lynfred Winery, which was the oldest and largest winery in Illinois. There he learned about wine production, tasting room retail operations, and the intricate operational aspects of running a winery. On top of 60 to 80 hour work weeks, Tim spent nearly every moment outside of work developing his business plan for Cooper’s Hawk.
5. What's the Wine Club?
It's an exclusive monthly wine club available only to subscribers. The program is available starting at less than $20 a month for one bottle per month. Bottles can be picked up at any Cooper’s Hawk location, or delivered for an additional fee. The club is broken down into the Red Club, White Club, Variety Club or Sweet Club. Each month Cooper’s Hawk alternates its wine production between red and white wines. When the wine color for the month matches your subscription we’ll send you a bottle of hand-crafted wine that is only available to Wine Club members. For the alternate months members of the grape-specific clubs may choose any bottle of wine they’d like. Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club is one of the largest in the country and offers members exclusive classes, parties and events.
6. Can you tell us about the Tasting Room?
Our Napa-Style Tasting Room offers our latest wine selections. A tasting includes seven to eight different wines and no reservation is necessary. At the Tasting Room guests can also sign up for our Wine Club, purchase wine by the bottle or browse the gift shop for unique wine-related items.
7. Will the tasting room in Jacksonville be available for private parties?
No, only the private dining rooms will be available for private parties. We will have three large private event rooms at the Jacksonville restaurant – making it the third largest Cooper’s Hawk restaurant nationwide. However, all guests can still enjoy the Tasting Room during their visit.
8. Are the wine flights available in the main restaurant as well as the tasting room?
Yes, wine flights are available in both the tasting room and main restaurant.
9. Can you tell us about how your menu is put together?
Cooper’s Hawk’s contemporary American menu has been developed by Executive Chef Matt McMillin. We serve both lunch and dinner. Our menu includes a wide range of appetizers, salads and soups, and specialty entrees, along with Angus beef burgers, entrée-sized chopped salads, sandwiches, and homemade desserts. The restaurant’s wine list features Cooper’s Hawk’s nearly 50 wines by the bottle at affordable prices between $17 and $39. All these wines are also available by the glass. Many of the dishes on the eclectic menu include a Cooper’s Hawk wine as a central ingredient for sauces and glazes. All of the dishes, including appetizers and desserts, are paired with a wine, labeled on the menu by bin number, as suggested by the winemaker.
In addition to our standard menu we also feature a wide range of delicious gluten free items and an in-house developed Life Balance menu.
10. What's the Life Balance menu?
Each dish on our Life Balance Menu is under 600 calories and is designed to accommodate our guests looking to enjoy mindful portions when dining out. Life Balance dishes include items such as Chicken Potstickers, Ahi Tuna Tacos and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad.
11. Where does the name Cooper's Hawk come from?
Cooper’s Hawk actually has a dual meeting – the term ‘Cooperage’ is the art of wine barrel making - a ‘Cooper’ is someone who makes wine barrels. A Cooper’s Hawk is a breed of hawk that is native to the Midwest, paying homage to founder and CEO Tim McEnery’s Chicago roots.
12. Anything else?
With the opening of the Jacksonville location, Cooper’s Hawk will operate 20 restaurants throughout the Midwest and Florida. The company prides itself on creating ‘community’ through our lifestyle driven wine club.
Cooper’s Hawk will be opening locations in Ashburn, VA, Naples, FL, Reston, VA, and Coconut Creek, FL in the next six months.