Cooper's Hawk Rebranded Chicago Location Now Open

It's been a strange couple of years and a rough one for the restaurant industry. Many restaurants closed since the shutdowns in March 2020. A few brave ones opened during that time. Some struggled and forged ahead. 

Cooper's Hawk continued to serve its customers with carry-out, dine-in and the wine club membership. I've visited a few of their locations over the past couple years and as the dining world dealt with shortages of supplies and staff, the upscale chain of restuarant/wineries was able to maintain their high quality in food and service. However, their Flagship location in downtown Chicago that had opened just a few months before the shutdowns in November, 2019 remained closed until this week.

The re-concepted Gold Coast location, Esquire by Cooper's Hawk, opened on Monday with a new elevated menu and I was excited to get there for a little preview before it opened to the public. They also launched a permanent rotating chef series that will add even more variety to their already diverse menu of American cuisine. The first guest chef in the series is Tom Collichio, who created seven unique menus items to pair with Cooper's Hawk wines. Collichio is founder of Crafted Hospitality, which includes Craft in New York and Los Angeles, Craftsteak at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, Small Batch in Long Island and others. He is the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Awards and is the top judge on Bravo's Top Chef.


I'd been to a preview of Equire when it first opened and had been back once after that and it's such an exciting venture for them to have the first Cooper's Hawk location in Chicago and in such an iconic location. 

Those who love the consistency and comfort of the Cooper's Hawk locations will definitely find that here, but in a much more luxurious setting with elevated items on an expanded menu, a huge selection of wines that are not only their own, but from other wineries around the world. It's an experience beyond what you'll find in their other locations (which now number about 45) and one to rival other city eateries in the Chicago Gold Coast area where its located and beyond.

The location itself has a fascinating history as the building opened as the Esquire Theatre in 1938 and operated as a theatre until 2006. The marquee sign remains on the outside of the building at 58 E. Oak Street.


We started out our visit with the Double Dip Shrimp Cocktail, which I loved. Very high quality and a nice presentation with wonderful flavors.



As my entree, I gave myself a "carb pass" for the night and indulged in the three-finger cavatelli in a decadent garlic cream sauce with chicken, pancetta, English peas and spinach and a hearty sprinkle of parmesan. Their pasta supplier is a local family that provides these hand-made treasures to them and I'm always torn on what to choose because everything is so good. I always have an inner struggle on whether to order seafood or pasta (or another of their amazing entrees). I did get a taste of seafood, though, because I got a taste of my husband's dish, the Spice Roasted Lobster from Collichio's menu.





I've learned not to pass up dessert at Cooper's Hawk. I had probably tried all of their desserts at their other locations, but with the new menu at Esquire I eyed the salted caramel creme brûlée and had to give that a try. I love to end my meal with a glass of Prosecco or moscato, so I enjoyed a glass of Cooper's Hawk bubbly Prosecco as I ended the night. I can't wait to get back and try more. 

The restaurant interior is quite a spectacle, as well with a four-story wine tower that houses about 1600 wines from around the world. A decorative saber wall on display of their wine-of-the-month selections are a few other touches that meld the new with the old - like the iconic chandeliers that have graced the location for decades.

For more information on the Chicago location, other Cooper's Hawk locations or their wine club, visit chwinery.com.






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