Perhaps one of the most anticipated restaurants of the year finally opens its doors tomorrow. Nighthawks, named for the famous Edward Hopper painting, will serve HauteDish chef Landon Schoenefeld's take on classic diner fare with a few twists along the way. Eater Minneapolis sat down with Schoenefeld to find out what we can expect upon the opening of Nighthawks plus when to anticipate service at restaurant within a restaurant, Birdie. So without further ado, here are are five things to know about Nighthawks before it opens.
Blue plate: Let’s just get right to the food. Schoenefeld said the menu will have a little bit of New York deli woven into it with items including chicken noodle soup, chili, a vegetarian french onion soup, matzo ball soup, cobb salad, butter lettuce salad, and chopped liver. Of course they’ll have a burger — a smash double-cheeseburger with pickles and grilled onions.
The menu will feature five different kinds of hot dogs including custom-made footlongs which Schoenefeld developed a recipe with local favorite, Kramarczuk’s. Schoenefeld said, "At HauteDish, we twist shit up, we try to give a spin on a dish but this is going to be more like a straightforward version of what people would expect, but I’m really trying to make the best fucking version they’ve ever had." He said he spent nine months working on pastrami, six months working on chili, and six months of working on chicken noodle soup broth. They are also going to do blue plate specials every night of the week. A glimpse of the burger, some of the hot dogs, and the house made pastrami on rye has already been shared over the restaurant’s Facebook photo stream.
Beverages: Nighthawks won’t have full liquor. Instead they’re doing beer, wine, and a low-proof cocktail program developed in part by Spoon & Stable barman, Robb Jones. An example of a low-proof cocktail is a drink they're calling, The Hopper. It’s a grapefruit cordial with Petal & Thorn (vermouth), Cappelletti (aperitivo), and topped with Surly Furious. There are 20 tap lines featuring mostly craft beer with plenty of local options including a keg of Surly Darkness to kick off the official grand opening
Birdie: The restaurant within a restaurant (coming later this summer) will be tasting menu only located in the front area of the prep kitchen. It will seat about a dozen people for two services per night and most likely use a ticketing system. Think Nashville’s Catbird Seat or Blanca in New York. Although they're fully equipped to have Birdie up and running immediately, the plan is to get Nighthawks in full swing before moving forward with Birdie. Schoenefeld said that he feels that too much planning at this stage might ruin his intent with Birdie, but he knows that it’ll be very produce-centric. They’re doing a rooftop garden above the kitchen bay area plus he'll utilize the close proximity to the Kingfield farmers market.
Bird Block: With Blackbird Cafe just kittty-corner from Nighthawks/Birdie, the Kingfield corner could quickly be known as the "bird block". Schoenefeld said that he feels this neighborhood of Minneapolis seems a little hipper with the strong presence of people in their late-20s, early-30s yet still holds a very diverse demographic. He added that "people seem to be chomping at the bit to get in here. We’re ready for that big push."
Beyond: What else can we expect from this venture? Brunch service begins this Sunday and will be a Saturday and Sunday staple thereafter. The spring/summer will bring 25 additional seats as an outdoor sidewalk cafe plus there are plans to prepare the area behind the restaurant as a three-season, 40-seat patio complete with an atrium, later this fall.
Nighthawks officially opens its doors at Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m.