Case Study

Esquire by Cooper's Hawk

A larger-than-life new website for a larger-than-life new restaurant in Chicago.

A larger-than-life new website for a larger-than-life new restaurant in Chicago.

Founded in 2005, the Cooper’s Hawk restaurant enterprise was built on the belief that food and wine can forge lasting connections. Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk is a fine dining establishment in Chicago, hosting guests in a dazzling three-story space with a 50-foot glass wine tower showcasing the largest wine bottle collection in the city.

The Challenge

Cooper’s Hawk has partnered with Clearfire since early 2021 to provide design, development, and consulting services for its primary website. This includes new feature development, ongoing maintenance, and assistance in managing crucial features like its popular wine club membership and reservation bookings.

Esquire was developed as its own distinct brand, an extension of the traditional Cooper’s Hawk casual dining restaurant. Cooper’s Hawk chose Clearfire to develop the new Esquire website, working alongside Cooper’s Hawk’s design agency, Rise Interactive, to bring the innovative Esquire vision to life online.

Because Esquire was set to open in March 2022, the new website needed to launch in coordination with the grand opening. This gave Clearfire a tight six-week development timeline to go live with the new website.

The Solution

Driven by the direction and vision given to us from our mutual client, Cooper’s Hawk, Clearfire and Rise Interactive had a seamless handoff for the visual design of the site. Having three separate companies involved for a short launch window might seem complicated, but Clearfire is experienced in partnering with other agencies. Our team’s attention to detail and eye for design allowed us to translate the provided design files and direction into well structured, and highly performant code.

We developed a custom Craft CMS marketing site, in order to give the Cooper’s Hawk team a pleasing content editing experience. Using Craft CMS, the company’s marketing team now has the flexibility to manage the site internally, with the capability to edit menus, change photos and create custom landing pages to enhance their marketing efforts.

In order to make the timeline work, our team mapped out an agile sprint schedule for building the site in phases, so that we could begin development while pieces of the designs were still being finalized. Each week, our collective teams gathered to review progress, problem solve, and prioritize. Among the three project partners, each project deadline was met.

In late January, Clearfire received the homepage designs, navigation, sitemap and wireframes of other pages from the design agency. With these creative concepts, we were able to create a development planning document, set up Craft CMS and code the site navigation. Thanks to the team’s use of Zeplin for handing off designs, we were able to ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate asynchronously between our weekly meetings to ensure continual progress.

Clearfire's development team began with a detailed plan to map out how the site's CMS would be structured and built, using Notion.

Clearfire's development team began with a detailed plan to map out how the site's CMS would be structured and built, using Notion.

After receiving the final designs of remaining website pages in February, we developed the code for the homepage and templates for other landing pages, as well as captivating animations featured throughout the site.

The Esquire website makes use of captivating animations throughout, to convey a sense of movement and excitement.

The Esquire website makes use of captivating animations throughout, to convey a sense of movement and excitement.

Finally, in early March, we performed our extensive quality assurance process, which ensures fast loading speeds, SEO optimization and seamless user experience.

On March 17, Esquire opened its doors to the public - and we launched the interactive website to accompany the grand opening!

On March 17, Esquire opened its doors to the public - and we launched the interactive website to accompany the grand opening!

On March 17, Esquire opened its doors to the public - and we launched the interactive website to accompany the grand opening!

The Result

The website for Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk not only launched on time but also within budget.

One of the goals of our development effort was to bring the designs to life. We were able to accomplish this through thoughtful, subtle animations, as well as through engaging video implementation.

By utilizing the video platform Vimeo, we were able to develop solutions that allow for video to really feel like it is integrated into the site. This is apparent in the homepage background video that plays when coming to the site. By offloading the video to Vimeo, Cooper’s Hawk can also keep track of the video’s performance for marketing purposes. In addition, the video can easily be changed within Craft CMS, just by including the Vimeo URL.

By utilizing the video platform Vimeo, we were able to develop solutions that allow for video to really feel like it is integrated into the site. The video can easily be changed within Craft CMS, just by including the Vimeo URL.

By utilizing the video platform Vimeo, we were able to develop solutions that allow for video to really feel like it is integrated into the site. The video can easily be changed within Craft CMS, just by including the Vimeo URL.

Another key internal feature is the ability to manage Esquire’s extensive wine list online. Esquire boasts the largest wine bottle collection in Chicago, with more than 1,600 selections of Cooper’s Hawk, Classic & Famous, and Cult wines from around the world. Using Pixel & Tonic's FeedMe plugin for Craft, we built an import process that can take a spreadsheet, import it into Craft CMS as entries, and then display those wines on the menu. Today, the Cooper’s Hawk team can easily keep the website wine listings updated for restaurant patrons.

Esquire boasts the largest wine bottle collection in Chicago, with more than 1,600 selections of Cooper’s Hawk, Classic & Famous, and Cult wines from around the world. The Cooper’s Hawk team can easily update the website wine listings by clicking a button to upload a spreadsheet.

Esquire boasts the largest wine bottle collection in Chicago, with more than 1,600 selections of Cooper’s Hawk, Classic & Famous, and Cult wines from around the world. The Cooper’s Hawk team can easily update the website wine listings by clicking a button to upload a spreadsheet.

Thanks to a flawless collaboration between our clients at Cooper’s Hawk, their design agency, and our development team, Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk has a stunning, interactive website to draw in guests for curated wine and culinary experiences in Chicago.

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