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Just For Fun: Will fly for foodJust For Fun: Will fly for food

A collection of our $100 hamburger destinations. What’s your favorite airport restaurant?

As if you need an excuse to go flying—but that’s the origin of the phrase “$100 hamburger.” A short flight in a Cessna 172 to grab a bite to eat. Of course, gas prices, inflation, time, and money all differ wherever you are, so it could be a $132 hamburger or a $220 hamburger, depending on what and where you’re flying. 
August Briefing
Illustrations by John Ueland

Aside from one colleague who can subsist on an apple and a granola bar, most of us seek out good food, good service, and a good atmosphere when we’re looking for a place to land and dine. Here’s a list of great airport restaurants from AOPA’s pilots. Email your favorites to pilot@aopa.org with the subject line “100 hamburger.”

August BriefingEnrique’s, Ponca City Regional Airport (PNC), Oklahoma. AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines and Senior Photographer Mike Fizer both give this Mexican restaurant high marks; Haines says this family-owned restaurant, which opened in 1983, is “an institution in Midwest aviation.”

Pyper Kub Café, Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Florida. AOPA President Mark Baker and You Can Fly Ambassador Jamie Beckett both recommend this stop in North Central Florida. “The interior wears a particularly weird shade of green on the walls, which are festooned with photos of pilots, and airplanes, and military tributes,” says Beckett. “The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is totally unique.” Baker adds: “Cheap gas, too!”

Mesa Grill, Sedona Airport (SEZ), Arizona. Senior Vice President Katie Pribyl and Senior Photographer Chris Rose voted for this gorgeously situated restaurant. “Mostly for its spectacular views, but really good food,” says Pribyl. “Did I mention the view?” And Rose opines, “Their breakfast burrito should be its own food group.”

Waypoint Café, Camarillo Airport (CMA), California. Longtime AOPA columnist Barry Schiff joins all of us who have had the pleasure of eating at this great eatery north of Los Angeles in voting this his favorite. The chocolate-dipped milkshake is truly spectacular.

August BriefingHarris Ranch Inn & Restaurant, Harris Ranch Airport (3O8), Coalinga, California. Schiff also recommends the steak sandwiches at Harris Ranch. There’s a small private airstrip next to the restaurant serving steaks from their own ranch, according to AOPA You Can Fly Director Steve Bateman.

Airport Diner, Gillespie County Airport (T82), Texas. Senior Editor Jill W. Tallman recommends this 1950s-diner-themed spot for good food. “If you’re finished flying for the day you can stay at the Hangar Hotel,” she advises.

Westside Lilo’s Café, Seligman Airport (P23), Arizona. Aviation Event Operations Senior Manager Dave Roy left Arizona to join AOPA in Maryland, but he hasn’t forgotten the “amazing burritos” at Lilo’s, a German-inspired restaurant one-quarter mile from the airport on historic Route 66.

August BriefingSpruce Goose Café, Jefferson County International Airport (0S9), Washington. You Can Fly Director Les Smith left Seattle behind to join AOPA but hasn’t forgotten the pie at Spruce Goose. “If you fly for pie, you can’t miss this,” says Smith.

Downwind Café, Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. Associate Editor David Tulis will never lose his Southern roots, and says PDK’s Downwind Café offers “great salads, burgers, spaghetti with a Greek touch, and live music on Friday nights.”

The Airport Diner, Bremerton National Airport (PWT), Washington. Technical Editor Mike Collins is usually our go-to for craft beer advice, but he picks the fresh-caught halibut and a side of chips at The Airport Diner for his top spot.

Email julie.walker@aopa.org

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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