The Nighthawk Diner, founded by us, a couple of young chefs with backgrounds in French fine dining. We have been borderline-obsessed with American culture since we were raised feeling as though Chevy Chase was the father every boy dreamed of, and Sesame Street was just a suburb over.
With years spent in hatted Sydney restaurants and traveling throughout North America, we both developed a serious love for American cuisine and more importantly, American dining culture.
The Nighthawk Diner has a workforce entity of 3: the truck, the trailer, the people. The 1959 International ‘Harvester’s Scout’, or as she prefers to be addressed, ‘Queen Latifa’, is at the front of the list because she is just that, the Queen. She is paid better than us, has more time off than us and has her big shiny behind tended to more than any member of royalty could ever wish for. The trailer is a streamlined, custom-built throwback to American recreational trailers; it contains the heart of the business. ‘Queenie’s shiny bedonkadonk’ is where it all happens. The people are Al and Jim, young chefs on a crusade: of food, fun and whatever the hell Queen Latifa decides is the beef of the day!
The fit out of the trailer allows them to alter the menu as we or our clients see fit. Re-worked diner classics like the cheeseburger and milkshake are given new life when you put as much love into them as we do. Non-bastardized, handmade simplicity – all ingredients including the bun, made from scratch.
Among other projects, we have created a late night NYC basement bar-inspired menu for PLAY, a small bar in Surry Hills recently rated number three in Time Out Sydney’s ‘Best Bars in Sydney’ list. Just ask for the Philly Cheesesteak Sub, and Utah…get me two.
And our name? Derived from a quintessentially American oil painting by Edward Hopper called ‘Nighthawks’, a portrait of a late night downtown American diner. A place where anyone could take off their hat and coat and be welcomed with good old-fashioned American hospitality, be well-fed and not pay an arm and a leg for it.
Al & Jim