Crowdsourcing Inspires the Kitchen at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants ---- Chef Matt McMillin’s Spring Menu Taps Fresh Ideas from Customers

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Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a leader in modern-casual dining known for their award-winning wines announced a new spring menu that features recommendations directly from its customers.

“If our menu becomes a vessel for our guests to have new experiences, then we have succeeded", says McMillin.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a leader in modern-casual dining known for their award-winning wines announced a new spring menu that features recommendations directly from its customers. Cooper’s Hawk is known for providing extraordinary guest-driven experiences, and the new menu is no exception.

Executive Chef and Vice President of Beverage & Culinary Innovation Matt McMillin takes the “innovation” aspect of his title very seriously. He realizes that the magic of Cooper’s Hawk is its power to build community – through its food, its 160,000+ member wine club, and its inviting and informative tasting rooms. Respectively, all 22 of Cooper’s Hawk locations embody that same spirit – one of comradery, loyalty and community exploration.

“If our menu becomes a vessel for our guests to have new experiences, then we have succeeded", says McMillin. “We’re constantly exploring new ways to engage with and challenge diners. For each menu refresh, we add a few items that will broaden our customers’ palates a bit, while also incorporating a few new twists into the classics.”

McMillin’s approach is a refreshing one in an era of chef-centric menus. For each menu update Matt seeks out customer feedback. He utilizes “social listening” by reading guest comments on crowd-sourced review sites such as Menu Pages, Trip Advisor and Yelp, and talks to members of the wine club about food trends and various flavor profiles at the Club’s quarterly chef dinners.

This informal method of measuring customer sentiment fueled the creativity behind many items on the new menu, including key lime pie in a glass – presented upside-down and topped with brown-butter toasted graham cracker sprinkles; a flavor-forward shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad featuring a bright refreshing vinaigrette, balsamic glaze, fresh Parmesan shavings, and marcona almonds; and an extraordinary Gnocchi Bolognese with Braised Short Rib served with stracciatella cheese as a richer, more texturally interesting substitute for traditional ricotta. One of McMillin’s favorite additions is the Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas – a mouthwatering dish for those looking to reduce the amount of meat in their diets. Another chef favorite honors Cooper’s Hawk founder Tim McEnery’s father, a self-described burger connoisseur, who doted McMillin’s Leonard Burger.

As one might expect from a Winery/Restaurant, Matt works closely with Director of Winemaking, Rob Warren, to design dishes that pair beautifully with one of the 50+ selections of Cooper’s Hawk wines. The menu includes suggested pairings for diners looking to expand their wine repertoire.

Highlights of the new menu include:

  • Gnocchi Bolognese with Braised Short Rib - San Marzano Tomatoes, Pancetta, Burrata Dolce, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Asian Ahi Tuna Sashimi - Served Raw, Ponzu-Ginger Vinaigrette, Avocado, Radish, Wasabi Cream, Sriracha
  • Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas - Corn Tortillas, Butternut Squash, Black Beans, Melted Cheese, Sweet Corn, Avocado, Ancho Cream, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle Tomato Sauce, Corn-Jicama Salad
  • Shaved Brussels Sprout and Roasted Beet Bruschetta - Whipped Ricotta, Marcona Almond, Shaved Parmesan, Balsamic Glaze
  • Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich – Buttermilk Friend Chicken, Asian Slaw, Sriracha Ranch, Habanero Salt & Vinegar Honey
  • The Leonard Burger – American Cheese, Caramelized Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Signature Sauce
  • Upside Down Key Lime Pie - Fresh-Squeezed Citrus, Brown-Butter Toasted Graham Cracker, Whipped Cream, Lime Dust
  • Smore’s Budino - Caramel Custard, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Brown-Butter Toasted Graham Cracker

All menu items are now available at all 22 Cooper’s Hawk locations.

About Cooper’s Hawk:
Redefining the modern casual dining experience, Cooper’s Hawk is an unparalleled combination of restaurant, winery, Napa- style tasting room, and artisanal retail market. The innovative concept partners 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 life-style driven monthly affiliation offering exclusive wines, events, and privileges.

Helmed by CEO and Founder Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk was first uncorked in Orland Park, Illinois in 2005. Operations have since expanded to 22 locations throughout Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Cooper’s Hawk has garnered over 350 awards for their wine.

More:
Website: http://www.chwinery.com
Twitter: @chwinery
Instagram: @chwinery
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/coopershawk

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Elaine LaPersonerie