A wine wall and bar will be the first things guests see when they enter Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, which opens Monday at 12801 University Ave. in Clive. PHOTOS BELOW: The exterior of Cooper's Hawk and a view of the kitchen, which can be seen from the dining room. Photos by Duane Tinkey

Here’s the story Nick Smith, the general manager of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, tells of how the upscale chain got started:

“Our founder, Tim McEnery, was on a date and they had gone through a winery and he was hungry,” Smith says. “They had to leave the winery to go to dinner. And he thought, ‘Well, why don’t we just do these two things together – have a winery and a restaurant?’ …

“So he came up with the idea of Cooper’s Hawk.”

On Monday, Cooper’s Hawk opens its first Iowa location at 12801 University Ave. in Clive.

The first thing guests will see when they walk into the newly constructed upscale dining restaurant is its wine wall featuring wines made by Cooper’s Hawk, which operates a winery in Woodridge, Ill. A granite-topped bar runs the length of the wine wall, allowing guests a place to taste the array of offerings.

“We say this over and over  the wine comes first, the food comes second,” Smith said.

The Clive Cooper’s Hawk includes a bar, main dining area, private room and retail area. The 11,300-square-foot building seats 424; an outdoor patio will seat 38. More than 135 people have been hired to work at the establishment, Smith said.

Cooper’s Hawk is located on a site once occupied by Granite City Food & Brewery. That establishment closed in March 2020 after its parent company filed for bankruptcy. The building was razed.

Construction of Cooper’s Hawk began last spring. A building permit valued at $5.3 million was issued for the structure in April, Clive records show.

Cooper’s Hawk, headquartered in Orland Park, Ill., has nearly 50 locations across the country and an annual revenue of over $340 million, according to its website.

McEnery opened his first Cooper’s Hawk in 2005, according to the company’s website. Over the past 17 years, the company has received over 500 wine awards from local, national and international competitions.

The Clive location opens daily at 11 a.m.

 

About Cooper Hawk’s general manager

Nick Smith, the general manager of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, was born in Omaha and raised in the Des Moines area. He left the area 11 years ago to take a job with the Cheesecake Factory in Omaha and later moved to Las Vegas to manage that area’s Cheesecake Factories. “It’s come full circle,” Smith said. “Eleven years later, I’m back home.”

Photo by Duane Tinkey