Suburban-based winery chain Cooper’s Hawk unveils its swanky tri-level flagship Gold Coast restaurant this week, which is the first to offer wines other than the brand’s own label. Cooper’s Hawk Esquire Chicago is also the company’s first restaurant in the city proper, and founder and CEO Tim McEnery hopes it will draw loyalists and wine aficionados across Chicagoland.
Previously home to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and third-floor Esquire Champagne Room, management remodeled the 24,000-square-foot space at 58 E. Oak Street with polished wood wall panels and floors, touches of brass and grey metal, and a giant modern chandelier that hangs down the center of a sizable staircase. There’s also a three-story wine tower, retail space, and open kitchen.
The new restaurant’s “signature menu,” exclusive to the city location, tends to err on the side of formality with options including a 25-ounce bone-in ribeye, miso-glazed Chilean sea bass, and a pistachio-crusted Australian rack of lamb with optional wine flight additions. The rest of the long, detailed menu takes a sweeping, slightly more casual approach that draws from various culinary traditions, bouncing between dishes such as jambalaya (chicken, shrimp, andouille, onion, tomato, peppers, jasmine rice), parmesan-crusted shrimp scampi, and a braised short rib grilled cheese with tomato soup.
Patrons can naturally expect wine, and plenty of it — varietals range from crisp sparklers to soft reds and beyond, with six wine flight selections available to those looking for variety. Patrons can also try four kinds of sangria, 11 different martinis, or order off a specialty cocktail list featuring drinks such as a Kentucky mule (Knob Creek, lime, ginger beer, mint, candied ginger) and the Cooper’s Hawk margarita (Cazadores reposado tequila, Cointreau, sour, passion fruit, sparkling wine). A handful of draft beers, including Goose Island’s “Cooper’s Hawk Ale,” a wine barrel-aged Belgian-style farmhouse ale, are available on tap along with a few bottled craft beers.
The brand currently operates an additional 39 locations across 10 states and runs one of the world’s largest direct-to-consumer wine clubs with about 400,000 members. Take a look around its swanky new three-floor restaurant and wine palace in the photographs below.
Cooper’s Hawk Esquire Chicago, 58 E. Oak Street, restaurant and tasting room open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday; bar open 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.