Eat & Run: You don’t need a beer in hand to have lunch at Nighthawk’s Kitchen
FREEPORT — Nighthawk’s Kitchen, which launched last year as a food truck servicing the nearby Mast Landing Brewing Co., has grown into a fully standalone restaurant, with a solid variety of pub-style offerings.
Chef Christian “Nighthawk” Noe’s creation, Nighthawk’s Kitchen began when the Westbrook-based brewery opened a second location on Lower Main Street in Freeport – inside a former children’s clothing store – and needed a food partner.
The restaurant still serves Mast Landing customers, but now has its own space next door, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
The exterior has a modern industrial aesthetic, dominated by uniform glass covering the facade. The interior is clean and modern, with a small counter facing customers with kitchen workers scurrying around the back.
Customers can eat in or take out meals. I chose to eat outside on a sunny but windy weekday in late June. The space was clean and welcoming – the only issue was that the seats faced the parking lot.
The menu is rich in comfort food, including a turkey club, Reuben corned beef, melted dough and a variety of burgers, as well as mouth-watering appetizers including cheesy corn fritters with warm honey ( $6).
I opted for the fried chicken sandwich ($15), which was served with Cape Cod style chips. A side of hand cut fries was an extra $5.
The meal came to me in less than 10 minutes and looked delicious. A generous portion of buttermilk breaded chicken spread around the edges of the roll, topped with fresh tomatoes and pickles.
The potato bread was also fresh and fluffy, the perfect pairing with the chicken, which was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The flavor was great but not overwhelming, enhanced by a tangy layer of fresh ranch slaw on the bottom bun.
I remember thinking when the sandwich arrived that it looked huge, but by the time I was finished I wished there were a few more.
Although I didn’t enjoy a Mast Landing beer with my lunch (alas, it was a work day), I could easily imagine sipping something cold and hoppy to top it off.
There were plenty of other lunch offerings worth going back to try. The melted galette ($15) is served with beer-braised onions and peppers and served on toasted rye bread. The BBQ burger ($15) features bacon, onion straws and cheddar cheese on the same chewy bun as the fried chicken sandwich. For vegetarians or those looking to avoid meat for the day, there’s a BBQ jackfruit sandwich ($15). Jackfruit is a tropical plant somewhere between pineapple and mango.
For children, Nighthawk’s Kitchen offers a Kids Bento Box ($15) with a choice of protein (burger slider, grilled cheese, grilled chicken or jackfruit), side dish (fries, cole slaw or vegetable), dessert (applesauce , mini whoopie pie, pudding or chocolate chip cookie) and a drink (juice box or water).
Nighthawk’s Kitchen seems like a great addition to the Freeport restaurant scene, and not just for Mast Landing diners.
Swap that coleslaw for a crunchy summer salad made with cauliflower rice