Another restaurant for 38th and Nicollet

It’s beginning to look as if 2014 might go down in the history books as the Year of the Diner.

For starters, there’s the Tiny Diner (1024 E. 38th St., Mpls.,, which opened in June, and Cook St. Paul (1124 Payne Av., St. Paul,, the remake of the landmark Serlin’s Cafe, which debuted in April.

Two others are on the horizon: Saint Dinette, a Lowertown project in the works from the team behind the Strip Club, and Le Town Talk French Diner and Drinkery, a remake of the historic Town Talk Diner that’s scheduled to open next month.

The latest is Nighthawks, (3753 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.) which chef/co-owner Landon Schoenefeld is describing as a “nocturnal diner,” cooking from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Weekend brunch, too.

“I have always loved diners,” said Schoenefeld, chef/co-owner of HauteDish (119 Washington Av. N., Mpls., “I’ve always had a diner concept in my back pocket.”

Nighthawks — the name comes from the haunting 1942 Edward Hopper painting of the same name, which depicts a corner lunch counter after dark — will specialize in what Schoenefeld describes as textbook versions of corned beef hash, meatloaf and other staples of the blue plate special genre.

“We’re in that fun phase where we’re working out details of the menu,” he said.

Schoenefeld has more in mind for the former Shorty & Wags Original Chicken Wings location. He’s dedicating a portion of the space to a separate 20-seat restaurant called Birdie.

Schoenefeld is calling it a “speakeasy kind of a restaurant,” and the plan is to offer midweek dinners in the form of eight- to 10-course, vegetable-centric meals, priced around $50 to $60 per person.

“We’re hoping it will become the ultimate chef’s table,” he said.

Barkeep Rob Jones of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge and World Street Kitchen is consulting on creating an aperitif cocktail menu.

If all goes as planned, Nighthawks will be open in January or February, and Birdie will follow a few months later.

East metro sweet stuff

Heads up, Woodbury: A branch of Nadia Cakes (11650 Fountains Dr., Maple Grove,, the popular cupcake shop, is arriving soon, and it will be a more ambitious iteration of its northwest metro sibling.

“It’s going to be a one-stop dessert shop,” said owner Abby Jimenez. “We’ll be featuring a full line of baked goods, including tarts, éclairs, bars, cookies, cake pops, anything that inspires us. We want to be the place that people go to when they think of dessert.”

Ice cream, too, from Sebastian Joe’s. And, when the weather cooperates, a patio.

The shop will be run by pastry chef and chocolatier Erin Campbell, who currently manages the bakery’s suburban Los Angeles outlet.

Campbell will appear on an upcoming competition television series, but Jimenez isn’t allowed to say which one. Not yet, anyway.

When it opens early next year (“just in time for Valentine’s Day,” said Jimenez), the second Twin Cities Nadia Cakes will be located in a SuperTarget retail complex on Commerce Drive near Woodbury Drive.

“We’ve always liked Woodbury,” said Jimenez. “It’s the twin city of Maple Grove. The demographics are very similar. We have always told ourselves, ‘When we’re ready for a new store, it’s going to be in Woodbury.’ ”

Rick Nelson