A New Dawn Rises Inside a Historic Hyde Park Space

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The owner of 14 Parish has replaced Piccolo Mondo with a.m.-focused Southern brunch and lunch

A storied space in Hyde Park has welcomed a new indulgent all-day affair featuring Southern-style breakfast and brunch. Dawn opened in late January in the former home of Italian institution Piccolo Mondo. It’s the second Hyde Park venture from Chicago native Racquel Fields, owner of 14 Parish.

Dawn delivers playful spins on Southern staples like juicy pot roast with jalapeño cheddar cheese grits and cornbread French toast with a fried chicken thigh and spiced peach compote. An ode to Fields’ childhood at her great-grandmother’s house in Englewood.

“Dawn is actually kind of [a] time capsule from my own family,” says Fields. “It gives and pays respect in so many elements. There are a lot of bird motifs because we called my mother’s mother ‘Bird,’ [as in] ‘You came to visit the old bird.”

Racquel Fields smiles and poses inside Dawn.
Dawn owner Racquel Fields.

Fields has deftly woven references to her ancestors into the food menu and 131-seat space. Her Louisiana-born maternal grandfather, for example, is the motivation behind Fields’ spin on the classic po’boy (Clee’s Rich Lad) stuffed with Cajun grilled shrimp and andouille chicken sausage. Her paternal grandmother, who died when Fields was a child, is honored by a prominent sculptural light fixture that resembles a long string of pearls with gold beads in between — an oversized replica of a real necklace left behind after her death.

The restaurant, for Fields, represents more than morning meals — it’s about all types of comfort, whether that looks like brunch with relatives, after-work cocktails, or a cup of coffee. And Dawn doesn’t skimp on style. “I wanted Dawn to feel like… a rich auntie’s house,” she says, laughing. “It’s retro-esque but doesn’t feel old.”

Fields, who also owns Caribbean dining and drinking spot 14 Parish, sees Dawn as a kind of second act — an opportunity to show how much she’s learned about hospitality since founding her first restaurant in 2017.

“[Dawn] is the second coming of 14 Parish,” she says. “I picked every nail head, every piece of trim, every menu item. It challenged me to stretch as a restaurateur. I hope it speaks to the community and helps them reconnect with those experiences from their childhood.”

Explore Dawn and take a look at its menu items in the photographs below.

Dawn, 1642 E. 56th Street, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

A large grey building.
Dawn took over the former home of Piccolo Mondo.
A plate of brioche French toast.
Brioche French toast (mascarpone, mixed berries, cinnamon, nutmeg, powdered sugar).

A shallow bowl of pot roast on a bed of grits.
Pot roast with jalapeño cheddar cheese grits.
A roomy u-shaped booth.

A bar with bright pink backed stools.

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