FREEPORT — Nighthawk’s Kitchen, which launched last year as a food truck serving nearby Mast Landing Brewing Co., has graduated to full standalone restaurant, with a solid variety of indulgent pub-style offerings.
The creation of chef Christian “Nighthawk” Noe, Nighthawk’s Kitchen started 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 patrons of Mast Landing but now has its own space next door, along with some indoor and outdoor seating.
The exterior has an industrial modern aesthetic, dominated by uniform panes of glass covering the front. The interior is clean and modern, with a small counter facing customers with kitchen workers scurrying around in back.
Patrons can eat in or take meals to go. I opted to eat outside on a sunny but breezy late June weekday. The space was clean and inviting – the only problem was that the seats overlooked the parking lot.
The menu is heavy on comfort foods, including a turkey club, corned beef Reuben, patty melt and a variety of burgers, as well as some enticing appetizers, including cheesy corn fritters with hot honey ($6).
I opted for the fried chicken sandwich ($15), which was served with Cape Cod-style potato chips. A side of hand-cut french fries was $5 more.
The meal came to me in less than 10 minutes and looked delectable. A generous portion of buttermilk-battered chicken spilled out over the edges of the roll, topped with fresh tomato and pickles.
The potato bun was fresh, too, and soft, the perfect pairing for the chicken, which was crunchy on the outside and moist inside. The flavor was great but not overwhelming, enhanced by a tangy layer of cool ranch cole slaw on the bottom bun.
I remember thinking when the sandwich arrived that it seemed enormous, but by the time I had finished, I wished there was a little more.
Although I didn’t enjoy a Mast Landing beer with my lunch (alas, it was a workday), I could easily imagine sipping something cold and hoppy as a complement.
There were many other lunch offerings worth going back to try. The patty melt ($15) is served with beer-braised onion and peppers and served on grilled rye bread. The BBQ burger ($15) has bacon, onion straws and cheddar on the same soft bun as the fried chicken sandwich. For vegetarians, or those looking to avoid meat for the day, there is a BBQ jackfruit sandwich ($15). Jackfruit is a tropical plant somewhere between a pineapple and a mango.
For children, Nighthawk’s Kitchen offers a Kids Bento Box ($15) with a choice of one protein (burger slider, grilled cheese, grilled chicken or jackfruit), one side (fries, cole slaw or vegetable), one dessert (apple sauce, mini whoopie pie, pudding or chocolate chip cookie) and a beverage (juice box or water).
Nighthawk’s Kitchen seems like a great addition to Freeport’s restaurant scene, and not just for patrons of Mast Landing.