Kim’s Note: While working on a book about Omaha restaurants that have closed, I started to notice a trend about the more recently shuttered spots. I hadn’t dined at most of them, and I missed out on some gems. So I’ve decided to make it a goal to visit Omaha’s oldest restaurants before any more shut down. Don’t miss the other posts in the series, Gorat’s Steakhouse, Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria and Johnny’s Cafe.
It’s about time I got a breakfast out of this oldest restaurants series! NiteHawkes Cafe serves breakfast and lunch, but, I’m always on the look for a new place to try for breakfast. So, we headed up to North Omaha to try this long-running diner.
This family owned restaurant (the Hawkes family, if you’re wondering) has been around since 1942. They serve breakfast and lunch, with the made-to-order breakfast menu available that entire time.
My kind of place.
Atmosphere at NiteHawkes
The exterior isn’t much to write home about, nor is the interior. It is more spacious than you’d think, once you’re inside, and on the Saturday morning of our visit, it looked like there were regulars all around us.
There’s a small counter near the kitchen that added some interest to the interior, but other than that, not much made this place standout.
It’s no Johnny’s Cafe when it comes to decor, is what I’m saying.
The food at NiteHawkes
I ordered one of their specialties (“Hometown Favorites” on the menu), and Mr. Wonderful order another. We went big, because, why not. I tried The Scrambler with toast, justifying the gravy and hashbrowns because of all the vegetables that were added to it. Legit, right?
Mr. Wonderful had The Stacker, which is eggs, hashbrowns and gravy over some flaky biscuits.
I’m not much of a gravy person, but the sausage gravy was what made both dishes.
The kids each got a smiley face pancake with a side of bacon. For $2.69 a plate, that was a great deal.
If you’re serious about your coffee, relax. It’s pretty good here.
I can’t vouch for the quality of lunch food. I can tell you it’s what you’d expect for a diner: Sandwiches, a good variety of grilled foods, soups and salads. There are some interesting burger toppings to point out: There’s the Dan Special which includes some Royal French dressing on top, and The Big Hawkes Burger, with 1000 Island dressing on it. I’m pretty curious about the dressings, that’s for sure.
The NiteHawkes Cafe is the quintessential diner – no frills, just good, straight-forward food. The price is about right for a diner and the service was quick.
There’s little wonder why this restaurant has stayed in business for so long.
If you go
Where: 4825 N. 16th St.
When: Tuesdays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and closed on Mondays
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