A little bit of history ……from the Tri-County Times, May 3, 2013
SLATER ICON LIVES AGAIN
By Ed Rood
SLATER – There’s no doubt about it, the Nite Hawk is back.
After nearly a 30 year absence Slaterites (and everyone else) can enjoy a good time at the Nite Hawk. Sure, there’s been some changes made but partners Shawn Birdsall and Robert and Tammie Harris want to assure folks they’re here to carry on the tradition.
The new Nite Hawk Bar & Grill derives its name from the Slater Nite Hawks, the town’s semi-professional baseball team, and the Nite Hawk Lounge, restaurant and bar owned by Dick and Gerri Kaldenberg back in the 1960s and 1970s.
The new Nite Hawk is located in the former Slater City Hall building, 105 Greene St. The same building which once housed the business office for Slater’s Farmers Cooperative Creamery and Egg Plant.
“If the bike trail wasn’t there we probably wouldn’t have chosen this location,” Birdsall said as he and Tammie Harris rearranged tables after a busy luncheon time. “We thought it was fitting for the town with the Nite Hawk field so close and Dick and Gerri’s (Lounge). We decided it would be a good name to bring back.”
Harris added, “I wanted a place for the town to could come eat. The bar is just an added bonus. It’s necessary to make ends meet. We have everyone from 90-year-olds to infants in highchairs come in for meals.”
Although the building still contains a reminder or two of its former existence it has been completely renovated. The partners said they came up with the idea last August; purchased the building in September; and have been working on it from Thanksgiving seven days a week until it opened on March 30. They used local contractors for all the work they couldn’t do themselves.
There are nine employees besides the partners. Troy Harms is manager. Pam Jagerson is kitchen manager and Jesse Weatherman is the full-time cook. The Nite Hawk will be open for business seven days a week. Monday through Friday hours are 11 a.m. to close; Saturday and Sunday are 9 a.m. to close. The phone number is 515-228-3500.
The Nite Hawk sports a full-service kitchen featuring luncheon specials along with evening specials five days a week, breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays plus fully stocked bar. An added attractions is the new outside 24‘x54’ open air covered patio with restrooms and bar. It has large overhead doors which can be raised and lowered depending on the weather. It is heated, including floor heat, to allow its use 12 months a year. It is located just east of the High Trestle bike trail.
“We see the bike trail as a big plus but basically we are doing this more for the town,” Birdsall emphasized. “We want this place to be good clean fun with a family environment.”
“We want to appeal to everyone. We have joined ABATE Club for the motorcyclists and we would like to have car shows here for vintage cars,” Harris said. “We would like snowmobilers in the winter and we’re even going to put a hitching post out for the horseback riders.”
Harris pointed to the many items decorating the walls. “Lots of people bringing in old nostalgia items from the Nite Hawk team and the lounge. We even have the old lighted Hamm’s Beer sign from the lounge. It’s fun having some of the old Nite Hawk players come back just to see the place.”
The fully stocked bar has sports eight beers on tap while the patio will have four on tap. “We saved the old vault and it has been converted into a walk-in cooler,” Birdsall noted.
Along with the many things the Nite Hawk has going for it already there are more plans in the air. They would like to have a BBQ smoke off and live entertainment. In the immediate future they are looking forward to May 12 which will be a celebration to observe the first anniversary of the high trestle bridge. They would also like to work with Snus Hill Winery and the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid to get a special ride going between the three of them.
“What we want to be is a hometown place with a friendly down home atmosphere,” Harris said. “We had two kids ride their bikes here one Saturday morning and climbed on the stools. They said, ‘We have $9. What can we get for breakfast?’ That’s what we are here for.”
Slater resident, Shawn Birdsall along with an initial partner unveiled the new establishment in March 2012 by transforming the old Slater City Hall into a fresh neighborhood hot spot with an intimate bar and restaurant and expansive outside bar and patio.
The Nite Hawk Bar and Grill is conveniently located adjacent to the Heart of Iowa bike trail and the High Trestle Trail, under the water tower at 105 Greene Street.
The Nite Hawk features an indoor and outdoor bar where patrons can dine, drink, or come in and relax with a cold beer after a long ride, or join us for an afternoon game. With eight large screen TVs in both the inside and outside bar; ample seating, pool table, electronic darts, buck hunter, golf and bowling games, an ATM, and juke box, or an open concert on the patio, the Nite Hawk offers something for everyone.
Current sole owner Shawn Birdsall, takes pride in the full-service and take out menu offering broasted chicken, pizza, burgers, appetizers, etc. Noon specials all of which are homemade (down to peeling and mashing our own potatoes) and evening specials along with a variety of homemade desserts are a daily occurrence. Keeping the menu new and changing is our goal with seasonal specials and good ol’ home cooked comfort food.
The Des Moines Register mentioned the Nite Hawk’s Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes as a “must have”, so stop in for lunch on Friday and try it out! Daily drink specials and our killer Bloody Mary’s are also available daily.
Additional amenities include ample bike parking, an air pump on hand, as well as an igloo cooler filled with ice water to refill water bottles.
In addition to bicycling events the Nite Hawk also hosts bike night, classic car night, frequent live entertainment, and community charity events. Winter activities are hosted for the avid snowmobilers as well as new events each season. Check out our selection of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, koozies and bandannas too!
We aim to not only make the Nite Hawk a fun place to stop, but a memorable one as well.