Destination: Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

By Molly Rippinger
In Food

Last Thursday, Town and Country Crossing welcomed Cooper’s Hawk–a restaurant chain working hard to bring a little slice of Napa’s wine culture to the heart of the Midwest. The unique concept combines some of the favorite elements of a winery, such as the tasting room and retail gift shop, with an upscale casual dining scene and an award-winning wine program.

Image by Molly Rippinger

Image by Molly Rippinger

Just eight years ago founder Tim McEnery opened the first Cooper’s Hawk in Orland Park, Ill. The then 29-year-old was a veteran of the restaurant industry whose dream was to share a classic winery experience with suburban Chicagoans. McEnery’s concept included having his own wine program, which would source grapes from vineyards across the country in order to make specific vintages for Cooper’s Hawk. His vision was certainly ambitious, but it quickly caught on and has only continued to grow since 2005.

Each of the now 14 Cooper’s Hawk locations includes a restaurant, full-service bar, tasting room and retail gift shop. Yet, what makes each space different is their unique decors. At the Town and Country location, the towering ceiling of the tasting room and retail shop nod to Napa with sandstone walls, rich wood paneling and a sleek granite bar top.

Here, guests can partake in a standard tasting, which includes eight pours of the featured wines of the month. During December, try the medium-bodied Tempranillo Sangiovese with its smooth tannins and notes of black current, or the mouth-watering cranberry fruit wine perfect for celebrating the holiday season. Handcrafted chocolates, such as the Cabernet Zinfandel truffle, can be paired with your tasting or purchased individually in the retail shop along with other vinous gifts and accessories.

Image by Molly Rippinger

Chef Matt’s Cheese Platter
Image by Molly Rippinger

The same Napa-inspired decor continues into the full-service bar and dining room, where guests can enjoy options from the menu specifically crafted by Chef Matt McMillin to complement the diverse wine program. A few of the most popular dishes include the bacon-wrapped “Mexican drunken” shrimp served with fresh guacamole and a tequila lime butter sauce, or the crisp roasted vegetable and goat cheese flatbread topped with mozzarella, julienned basil and a sweet balsamic reduction.

For larger appetites, there are many entrée options, such as the soy ginger salmon served with wasabi buttered potatoes and an Asian slaw or the hearty red-wine-braised short ribs dished up with seasonal roasted vegetables, butter-laden whipped potatoes and topped with crunchy onion strings. A sweet tooth can also be satiated by the decadent list of desserts, including a killer banana caramel ice cream sandwich and a chocolate pretzel bread pudding that’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11:30am to 9:30pm, Friday through Saturday from 11:30am to 10pm and Sunday from 11:30am to 9pm. The tasting room opens at 11am daily and closes with the restaurant. The bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30am to 11:30pm, Friday through Saturday from 11:30am to 12am and Sunday from 11:30am to 11pm.
1146 Town and Country Crossing Drive, Town and Country, 636.489.0059.

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