Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant – Orland Park, IL
One of the worst places to be in the Chicago suburbs on Black Friday is Orland Park. Guess where J and I were. Yup. Orland Park. We had made an appointment at Fred Fox Studio’s to pick out our wedding pictures. We needed to go to their shop to do it, so we had to do it when we were in town. The day we had free just happened to be the day after Thanksgiving.
J had thought she made the appointment for 1:30, but when she looked at the calendar on her phone, it said 12:30. Apparently, when we switched time zone’s, it changed the appointment back as well. Fred Fox didn’t open until noon and it’s a little over a half hour away, so we had to start driving before they opened just in case. Once we found out the appointment was at 1:30 like we thought, we headed to lunch.
I ended up blindly choosing Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant on South Harlem Avenue near 157th Street in Orland Park. It’s a pretty fancy place that has four locations in Chicagoland. Beside the Orland Park restaurant, they have shops in Burr Ridge, Wheeling, and South Barrington…all well off Chicago suburbs.
The restaurant is in a building labeled Cooper’s Hawk Plaza. When you enter the front door, you come into the gift shop and tasting room. You have to go through this room and down a hallway to find the restaurant. On the way, you pass a really neat private party room. It’s down a flight of stairs and lined with wine barrels.
We came into the restaurant and found the hostess station. The first room is a regular bar with a few tables. The next room is the main dining room. We were taken to a table on the far side of the dining room. The dining room is pretty neat. Along the wall opposite the windows is the kitchen. It’s open so you can see some of the work going on. In the middle of the room is a wine cask that I saw a waiter pull wine directly out of twice and serve it to a table by the glass. The west wall of the dining room is completely made of wine barrels. They’re just stacked on top of each other to form the wall. We could see another room behind that wall, but couldn’t tell if it was a private room or another dining room. It wasn’t being used at the time.
Neither of us are wine drinkers and it was lunch time, so we both ordered pops. J got a Diet. I got a regular Coke. Since we had already had a few minutes to look over the menu, we put our order in right away. After the waitress was done with that, she brought us a loaf of bread to snack on it. Not really sure what kind of bread it was, but it was delicious. It was still hot and served with a whipped butter. I sort of hogged the bread, but J was nice and let me have it.
For lunch, J ordered the Southwest Chicken Sandwich. The chicken breast was topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, pepperjack cheese, Chipotle mayo and jalapeno bacon. The first thing she noticed was the bacon. We’ve had jalapeno bacon a couple other times and it never really had a kick. This one did. She had a lot of heat elements on her chicken, but nothing that was really overpowering. The pico and lettuce somewhat did their jobs of cooling down the heat. She was a real big fan of the sandwich and passed up eating the fries so she could finish off the chicken. It didn’t really work. She still had some left when it was time to quit.
I ordered the Pepperjack Cheese with Jalapeno Bacon Burger. This burger is one of the chef’s recommendations. It comes with pepperjack cheese, fried onion strings, jalapeno bacon, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and Chipotle mayo. I had the kitchen leave the mayo off then I removed the onions, lettuce, and tomato when I got the plate. I got down to the stuff I really like on a burger and all the stuff on this burger, I really liked. Like J, I really enjoyed the jalapeno bacon. It had just enough heat to it, but it was also sort of sweet. Overall, it was a pretty solid burger. My sandwich also came with fries. They were skin on and nice ‘n crispy. I finished most of them off, but left a few on the plate when the waitress came to take it.
This was not a cheap lunch. Before tip, it was $30. A lot more than I would like to spend on lunch, but it was good quality food. The pop alone was almost $3 a piece.
If you’re into wine, Cooper’s Hawk would be a great date night place. Hell, it would be a great date night even if you’re not. I’m a big fan of places that will serve you a great cut of meat, but also have a sandwich menu. Those are harder to find than you would expect and I appreciate a place that will put some effort into more than just steak and fish dishes. If budget’s not an issue, Cooper’s Hawk would warrant a return visit. For now, I’m glad I went because we really did have a great meal.