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Popular LA Breakfast Spot Nighthawk is Opening a Chicago Restaurant

This casual location is more take-out focused

Nighthawk: AM should open next month in Lincoln Park.
Ashok Selvam
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Nighthawk: Breakfast Bar, an LA breakfast favorite known for serving breakfast in the evening (including items like boozy-spiked cereal-flavored milks) is opening a spin-off next month in Chicago. Nighthawk: AM represents a new take-out focused version of the brand at 2273 N. Lincoln Avenue — that’s the area where several restaurant have closed near the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park. The restaurant won’t serve alcohol like its LA counterpart, but they will offer egg sandwiches, biscuits, and a variety of ready-to-eat cookie doughs. Nighthawk: AM will also be open late for bar customers leaving after last call.

Owner Jeremy Fall said his LA restaurant doesn’t feel like it’s on the West Coast and that’s why his concepts will translate well in Chicago. Nighhawk: Breakfast Bar opened in 2017 and offers customers the option of eating breakfast for dinner. Fall is also opening a Nighthawk: AM in LA and hopes the streamlined concept will catch on. While he said wants to open a full-fledged Nighthawk: Breakfast Bar in Chicago, “AM” is built more for a commuter city where folks aren’t always driving their cars. At 800 square feet, there’s six seats inside and they’ll have eight seats on the sidewalk.

“LA is so spread out and they’re so in their own world going from destination from destination,” Fall said. “I like having more of a spontaneous element that Chicago has, when you end up in an area and you’re walking and you end up trying something new.”

Nighthawk: AM’s coffee cups have a ramen throwback feel.

Fresh biscuits will be a focus of the restaurant. The cheddar and chive is popular in LA, and that will also be served in Chicago. They’re hoping to cater to locals with a Chicago-only giardiniera biscuit, too. A rep cautioned that the menu hasn’t been finalized. Other sample items include french toast sticks and a ranchero bowl. They’ll also have breakfast-themed drinks include a “Cereal Milk Latte,” a non-boozy nod to LA’s spiked milk cocktails.

DePaul University’s campus is nearby, and Fall knows the importance of keeping students happy. At the same time, he’s not centering his business models around college kids the way some nearby places, like Insomniac Cookies, do. He wants a diverse customer base.

Fall designs his own restaurants, and the Chicago location will be the fourth under his J. Fall Group banner. He’s opting for a retro vibe, dipping into 1950s- and 1960s-style breakfast counters for inspiration. They’ll play old-school hip-hop and have black tile with plenty of exposed brick. Fall, 27, talked about the need to be genuine. He feels millennials have a sixth sense for detecting fakes. That’s why they’ve rejected big restaurant chains.

As chains fight for consumer dollars through new breakfast items, a new player is arriving in Chicago. Nighthawk: AM should open next month.