by Heather Hoch
Nikki and Matt Thompson have been running a catering business called 2 Hearts 1 Kitchen in town for about seven years, but now the couple is ready to bring their take on New American cuisine, which she defines as “traditional American with a random international splash” to the public.
“We’ve always wanted to have our own place and create our own food since we met in culinary school,” Nikki Thompson says. “The romance of owning our own restaurant has kept us going.”
Now, the Thompson’s dream is in sight with their forthcoming restaurant Nook, located at 1 E. Congress Street. Thompson says they plan to be open the first week of February, but until then, she and her husband are enjoying the time they get to invent dishes.
Thompson says to expect breakfast and lunch on the weekdays and brunch on Saturday with unique dishes like a huevos rancheros omelet. She is also excited to bring some of her culinary experience in Hawaii to her menu at Nook. One such dish will be a her take on prominent Hawaiian chef Danny Morioka’s loco moco (a layering of rice, burger, egg, and gravy), which she traveled back to Hawaii to perfect. She plans to make her loco moco with bacon and cheese.
Although the couple plans to open Nook in February, Thompson says they likely won’t be able to serve liquor, beer, or wine until at least May when their license is approved. After that, she says to expect a full “boozy brunch” experience.
Equally important as the food, Thompson says she’s focused on creating a relaxed, casual, and comfortable atmosphere with friendly service at the forefront.
“We want the vibe of the restaurant to be like you’re hanging out with your family, eating in the kitchen,” she explains. “You can have stark white walls in the house, but it’s the family that makes the ambiance.”
Thompson says Nook definitely won’t have those white walls, though, as she plans on featuring local artists in the restaurant.
“I was born and raised in Tucson. Tucson is my heart and my gut,” she says. “It’s important to bring it all together.”
For updates on Nook’s progress, you can follow the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.