Cooper’s Hawk unveiled its newest restaurant last November. The upscale tri-level flagship restaurant opened its doors in a toney Oak Street location (58 E. Oak) amongst Chicago’s highest concentration of luxury brands.
Just a hair’s breadth away from the likes of Giorgo Armani, Christian Louboutin, Escada, Jimmy Choo and Prada retail outlets as well as lux restaurants including Spiaggia, Maple & Ash, NoMi Kitchen and Gibsons, the Illinois-based restaurant and winery chain has reached a new pinnacle.
Not bad for a restaurant that started life in 2005 in an Orland Park strip mall.
Founded by CEO Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant’s philosophy is that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections.
This passion has helped Cooper’s Hawk to grow into a national icon with 41 locations, the largest wine club in the U.S.–with nearly 400,000 members and growing at 25% a year–and the Official Wine of the 26th annual SAG Awards.
Cooper’s Hawk calls itself “a lifestyle brand centered around wine and focused on enriching lives.” The concept is a fusion of familiar elements – winery, modern casual restaurant with Napa-style tasting room and an artisanal retail market.
The newest Cooper’s Hawk Esquire has kicked things up a notch creating an upscale vibe while still maintaining its original intent.
The Oak Street restaurant is the first location to open in the city proper and also the company’s first restaurant to include wines from outside the Cooper’s Hawk portfolio.
At a recent tour, dinner and wine tasting, we got an insider’s view of the 23,000 square foot space, the decor, the food and the wine.
Wine aficionados will find much to love at all price points, regions and varietals plus pairing information.Wines can be purchased by the glass, the bottle and at retail to bring home.
Guests can immerse themselves in all that is wine from its storied history, traditions, culture and more on all three levels of the restaurant,
The vast selection of wines–both rare and majestic–includes 1,600 collections from around the world thoughtfully curated by Master Sommelier Emily Wines. The Esquire location also includes the personal collection of McEnery’s, composed of over 750 bottles. Beyond wine, there is a creative craft cocktail menu.
Chef Matt McMillin, a veteran of some of Chicago’s best including Carlos, Le Francais, Café Provencal and the Lettuce Group, has provided a broad spectrum of choices on his 11-page menu.
Guest can choose from simple reasonably priced dishes to an elevated selection of upscale entrees including a Pistachio-Crusted Australian Rack of Lamb, a 25 oz Prime Bone-In Ribeye and Miso Glazed Chilean Seabass–each paired with a trio of wine.
The vibe is sophisticated but not snobby–both welcoming and comfortable–featuring polished wood wall panels and floors, touches of brass and grey metal, and a notable chandelier that hangs down the center of a sizable staircase, an impressive bar, retail space, an open kitchen along with the pièce de résistance a three-story wine tower with a spiral staircase.
What: Cooper’s Hawk Esquire Chicago
Where: 58 E. Oak Street
When: The restaurant and tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday; the bar is open 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
SMALL BITES OF CHICAGO
Takito Street opens Lincoln Park location
Takito Street, a Mexican street food joint that fuses traditional fare and modern Mexican culture is opening a location in Lincoln Park today, January 9th at 2423 North Lincoln Street. The restaurant is the third concept from Mario Ponce’s Takito Brands (Takito Bar, Takito Kitchen). The restaurant will open its doors at 5:00 PM January 9th – the first 100 people in line will receive two complimentary tacos and a non-alcoholic beverage of their choice. The restaurant will be open for lunch starting January 10th.
Chicago Chef Jared Wentworth, known for innovating beautiful plates in the most unexpected of places and receiving 9 Michelin stars for his work at everything from a hipster whiskey bar in Logan Square (Longman & Eagle) to a dining room catering to rockstars at a live music venue in Pilsen (Dusek’s Board & Beer in Thalia Hall) is back with a new project as the Executive Chef of The Dining Room. The brand new fine-dining and high design restaurant is inside Chicago’s home-grown culinary brewery Moody Tongue, located in the South Loop.
Chicago Restaurant Week
Reservations are now open for the 13th annual Chicago Restaurant Week (CRW), January 24 – February 9, 2020 and First Bites Bash on January 23.
Chicago Restaurant Week offers visitors and local foodies an opportunity to experience some of the area’s most sought-after restaurants with specially curated prix fixe menus. Prices start at $24 for brunch and lunch, and $36 and/or $48 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). Reservations are now open at eatitupchicago.com