Racquel Fields

Racquel Fields, owner of the Caribbean restaurant and rum bar 14 Parish, 1644 E. 53rd Street.

Dawn, a brunch restaurant serving a mash-up of “nouveau” American cuisine and Southern classics, is set to open this June at 1642 E. 56th Street. It will replace longtime Italian mainstay Piccolo Mondo, which is closing at the end of November.

Racquel Fields, a Kenwood resident and owner of the Caribbean restaurant and rum bar 14 Parish, 1644 E. 53rd Street, is behind Dawn. Fields described the new restaurant as an “a.m. eatery,” emphasizing its early meal times, though Dawn will serve food through early dinner. 

“I really enjoy the brunch scene; it’s something that’s a passion of mine,” Fields said. “It’s something that would always bring my family together.”

Fields grew up in the South Shore area, attended Kenwood Academy for high school and ultimately settled in North Kenwood. 

She sees Dawn as “an opportunity to create a more robust menu offering for breakfast and brunch for South Siders and for the Hyde Park area.” 

Dawn joins other recently opened restaurants offering Southern fare (specifically New Orleans-inspired), such as all-day breakfast spot Roux, which opened in January, and Virtue chef Erick Williams’ Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern, which opened in late August.  

The menu will consist of dishes like avocado toast, fried green tomatoes, Southern catfish and grits, honoring her family’s Southern roots. Fields said people will also be able to order American staples like eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon. 

Fields will continue to run her other restaurant, 14 Parish, which opened in 2020. That said, though the restaurants may occasionally “collaborate and play off each other,” Fields said, they will be distinct entities providing different services. 

While 14 Parish does provide brunch on the weekends, it is first and foremost a nightspot, Fields noted. However, she does “plan to take 14 Parish’s appetite for craft cocktails over to Dawn,” she added, with bar seating for patrons. 

She’s leasing the space from Mac Properties; its tenant, Piccolo Mondo, had occupied the space for 37 years. 

Renovations will begin soon after Piccolo Mondo closes on Nov. 27, Fields said. This will include a number of updates so as to meet new city licensure requirements, a bar expansion and other cosmetic changes  

Some 14 Parish staff will be promoted to managing both restaurants, but Fields is also looking to fill more than 50 staff positions, including waiters, kitchen managers and sous chefs.

Though she is optimistic of Dawn’s success, Fields noted that staffing — an ongoing issue in the food service industry — will be a struggle and that restaurants are still being “beat and battered by inflation.” 

Dawn will have both reservations and walk-ins available, offering takeout, pick-up and dine-in. Fields said likely hours will be Tuesdays through Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Fields said they are planning to host a series of preview events in May 2023, before their grand opening in June.

staff writer

Zoe Pharo is a graduate of Carleton College. She was recently an editorial intern for In These Times, and has also written for Little Village and Chapel Hill Magazine. 

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