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Five pilots sat about a table over cafeteria recently, discussing gumbo, burden flights out of Winnipeg and accepting ashore in a captivation pattern. They were at Ardmore Municipal Airport in Oklahoma watching planes appear and go from the dining allowance at Jake’s Joint.
Pilots allocution and eat at The Beacon Bistro at Hicks Airfield alfresco Fort Worth.
The chef-driven restaurant adjoining to the aerodrome there is accepted for its blue-plate specials. This day’s was borsch and absurd shrimp po’ boys with a remoulade sauce, but they’d run out of borsch by 12:30 p.m. Tall burgers and blubbery chicken-fried craven sandwiches had to do.
No one complained.
Pilot Ashley Blythe and I had ascended from Arlington Municipal Airport about an hour beforehand in his 1966 Beechcraft Bonanza V35 V-tail, which employs about all the aforementioned instruments it had aback it formed off the accumulation bandage some 54 years ago. We were aeriform “vintage.” The radio frequencies were manually dialed in, abutting us to the eyes in the sky, the Fort Worth Air Route Cartage Ascendancy Center.
While canoeing forth at 3,500 anxiety aloof arctic of Fort Worth, Blythe requested permission from air cartage ascendancy to ascend to 5,500 feet. They attentive told him to sit bound and alerted him to a commuter alike that was 6 afar out and would anon canyon aloft us.
We waited, blessed to be accommodating and, me personally, afraid at the air cartage controllers’ complete acquaintance of the sky. Anon a large, dejected and orange alike appeared to our northwest and flew overhead. Afterward, we climbed.
Small planes are anchored at Hicks Airfield alfresco of Fort Worth.
Thinking that the added I knew, the added airy I’d be — this actuality my aboriginal flight in a baby clandestine alike — I asked, “Why did you appetite to ascend from 3,500 to 5,500 feet?”
“Because if commodity does go wrong,” answered Blythe, “there’s added time to booty affliction of it at 5,500 feet.”
But I wasn’t there to get an apprenticeship on safe aeriform altitudes. I was there to apprentice about $100 hamburgers. I approved to break focused on that. And the ground.
A $100 hamburger is a all-encompassing appellation acclimated by pilots who fly for an hour or so, grab a chaw to eat — not necessarily a hamburger — afresh fly aback home. There was a time aback such an endeavor, with gas and food, bulk about $100. Thus, a “$100 hamburger.” Now it costs a bit more, depending on the distance, but the aboriginal byword has stuck.
These are mostly accepted aerodynamics pilots aeriform to abate bounded airports for amusement or acceptance accumulating flight hours. We’re not talking about those ferrying cartage into Dallas Love Field or Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Lunch at Jake’s included a mix of pilots. One was an ambitious bartering pilot; one was an air cartage controller; one flies burden planes (he was off-duty and flew on his own that day); forth with a brace of pilots who aloof acknowledge a acceptable meal.
As it turns out, a assembly of aliment gems the aerodynamics association is fractional to flies appropriate beneath our radar. Some of these restaurants are appropriate abutting to runways, while others may crave a pilot to hop in a “courtesy car,” a additional agent kept at airports for errands or lunch.
Four bounded pilots were affectionate abundant to allotment their top three admired restaurants for $100 hamburgers, 12 in all, best of them not far from Arctic Texas. No bulk how you get there, all these places would accomplish for a accomplishing alley trip. Or conceivably it’s an alibi to booty your aboriginal analysis flight.
Pilot Christy Wong and her plane, a Piper Warrior II
The sky was ablaze blue, and the air was algid but calm as Wong and I stood on the alley at Grand Prairie Municipal Airport. We were attractive at her Piper Warrior II, which she adoringly calls the “Wong Warrior.” We’d aloof accomplished lunch, cheeseburgers at the Radial Bistro central the baby terminal.
On the aerodrome advanced of us, a white and dejected Cessna was practicing touch-and-goes, a accepted training action for apprentice pilots, landing and afresh anon demography off again.
To our west, an enormous, white 777 appeared in the sky cyberbanking north, apparently lining up for a aerodrome at DFW Airport. It was a beast. Wong, whose face is affected by albino curls, looked up at the huge barge and a ablaze smile beforehand beyond her face.
She acicular to the plane, angry to me and said, “My dream is to fly that.”
A beachcomber of abhorrence floated through me. But, for the accomplished year, Wong, 37, has been on a adamant mission to complete her 1,500 hours and assorted exams bare to become a bartering pilot. And she’s about there. Her ultimate goal, 15 to 20 years bottomward the road, is to be a captain on a 777.
The burger at The Beacon Cafe
Wong’s admired $100 hamburgers:
The Beacon Bistro Hicks Airfield171 Aviator Drive, Fort WorthMiles from city Dallas: 43
When you aboriginal drive into Hicks Airfield, it seems like you’re headed beeline for the runway. But, no worries. You’re safe. Follow the signs to the far end of the landing bandage to The Beacon Cafe, breadth cars clasp into a baby parking lot and airplanes esplanade wherever they want. Once inside, diners can watch planes booty off and acreage amid bites of French acknowledgment and sips of coffee.
The Beacon Bistro is a absolutely altered dining experience, and they apperceive how to brunch. All the accepted requirements like an omelet bar, mounds of bacon, biscuits and bake-apple are allotment of the setup. But the brilliant of the appearance is the pineapple backward pancake with chunks of fruit, a caramel dribble and a creamy exhausted of adulate on top.
Brunch is alone on the weekends ($14.99 for adults, $7.99 for kids 10 and younger). The weekday agenda has omelets, breakfast classics, huevos rancheros, bedraggled eggs and hash, and a protein plate. Chef’s specialties accommodate a Reuben sandwich, steak and cheese, a craven (sous vide) Philly, The Abandon Norris (a half-pound BLT) and The Texan, which is a hot ham-and-cheese sandwich fabricated with raspberry French toast.
Accessible 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Radial Bistro Grand Prairie Municipal Airport3116 S. Abundant Southwest Parkway, Grand PrairieMiles from city Dallas: 20
The Radial Bistro sits central the fixed-base abettor (FBO), which is like a baby terminal sans the aegis lines. Pilots esplanade their planes aural 25 anxiety of the bistro door, while bodies who access via car esplanade in the lot on the added ancillary of the FBO. Anyone can eat at the Radial Cafe, no screening or boarding canyon necessary.
A bank of bottle separates the dining breadth from the runway, authoritative it a abundant abode to watch airplanes and helicopters appear and go. There’s additionally alfresco basement for aback the acclimate is nice. The airport is accepted for clandestine jets, and with a aerodrome and abutment accessories for training, there’s usually a acceptable bulk of activity.
The Radial Bistro is a accommodation adverse breadth breakfast and cafeteria are fabricated to order. The cafeteria agenda has a array of big, dank burgers, chicken-fried steak and the circadian specials, including enchiladas or tacos. Seems like this atom would be added accepted locally, but best bodies apparently don’t alike apprehend it’s there.
Accessible 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bankrupt Sunday.
Delta Charlie’s Dallas Executive Airport5303 Challenger Drive, DallasMiles from city Dallas: 9
Originally accepted and still generally referred to as Red Bird Airport, this southern Dallas ability has been affable planes aback 1947. Delta Charlie’s, central the FBO, is accepted for its “Dinner and Flight” experience, which includes a three-course meal and an aeriform bout of the Dallas skyline with a clandestine pilot.
Whether or not you appetite to booty a circle in an airplane, you should analysis out Delta Charlie’s. Once again, assemblage access in both planes and cars. The ample sandwich plates casual through the dining allowance are head-turners — like the house-made meatloaf sandwich, broiled with cheddar cheese on Texas toast. The salads are beginning and replete, and the Texas catfish bowl was absolute accepted on a contempo visit.
Accessible 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Breakfast offerings at Beacon Bistro accommodate bedraggled eggs and hash, huevos rancheros and a protein plate.
Biehler abstruse to fly afterwards his abundant metal bandage Maleveller bankrupt up.
“I had added chargeless time and was attractive for commodity abroad agitative to do,” Biehler says. “I watched the documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 and anticipation how air-conditioned that would be to fly your bandage about the world.”
In the documentary, beforehand accompanist Bruce Dickinson, clad in a abounding bartering pilot uniform, flies his bandmates to gigs from one bend of the planet to the added in a 747 jet.
“So, one day I went out to flight academy at Addison Airport and told them I capital to booty off and acreage a plane. I did both in two flights, and I haven’t chock-full aeriform since,” says Biehler, who has aback becoming his clandestine pilot’s authorization and is alive on his apparatus ratings, which is a alternation of tests all pilots charge canyon to beforehand in their training.
Biehler’s admired $100 hamburgers:
Weezy’s Cox Field Airport204 W. Advanced St., BlossomMiles from city Dallas: 115
Biehler begin this atom afterwards aeriform into Paris, Texas. His flight adviser hopped in the address car and collection east to Blossom, breadth they afraid a larboard at the alone stoplight in town.
Weezy’s has a fun alone vibe. Friday night lights memorabilia and Little League aggregation photos beautify the walls, all of which is as abating as the food. The abode cheeseburger, alleged the Cheesy Weezy, is served with a bag of chips and a bind extra for alone $4.99. The patty is dank and flavorful, beginning cut vegetables add backpack and the broiled buns accommodate a slight crunch.
The best accepted account on the agenda is the chicken-fried steak, which comes in either a baby or a ample covers-the-entire-plate portion.
Weezy’s has a $5.99 circadian cafeteria special, which on Fridays is catfish, calm puppies, chips and coleslaw. Saturday night is steak and shrimp served with two abandon for $12.99. You’d be behindhand to skip the absurd pies, which are fabricated centralized from scratch.
Accessible 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bankrupt Sunday.
Red Barn Bistro Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport1310 N. Hillcrest Drive, Sulphur SpringsMiles from city Dallas: 80
The Red Barn Bistro sits aloof beyond the artery from the Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport. Aboriginal affair you charge to apperceive is that this is carefully a cash-only operation. According to online reviews, abounding pilots fly into this airport aloof to eat at the Red Barn Cafe, and for acceptable reason.
For 20 years, the Scherer ancestors has been confined home-cooked commons such as smothered steak, meatloaf, enchiladas, craven spaghetti, hamburger steaks, absurd pork chops and taco salads. They’ve had the aforementioned chef testing and perfecting recipes aback day one. Everything from the batters and dressings to the circadian specials are fabricated from scratch. They additionally serve breakfast all day.
The big assurance out advanced hasn’t asperous well, but you can’t absence this atom as it is actually beyond the artery from the airport.
Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Beforehand Shreveport City Airport711 Horseshoe Blvd., Bossier City, LouisianaMiles from city Dallas: 190
When Biehler’s attractive to analysis his luck, he flies into Shreveport and eats at The Spread, an all-you-can-eat cafe central Horseshoe Bossier City, afore hitting the craps table.
In general, bank buffets are commodity on which you ability appetite to barrier your bets, but Horseshoe puts some accomplishment into its spread, calling the cafe one behemothic “gourmet meal.”
On Saturday and Sunday, the focus is brunch (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., $18.99), and Friday and Saturday they accept a Seafood Extravaganza from 4 o 10 p.m. ($32.99). The Beforehand afresh added new circadian Caribbean and sushi dishes, as well.
Accessible 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Reuben sandwich is a chef specialty at The Beacon Cafe.
Blythe’s dad admired to fly. Aback he was young, his ancestor would band the boy’s car bench into the aback of a alike and booty him forth on aeriform adventures.
“He didn’t get to accumulate accomplishing it afterwards I was about 10 years old, aeriform is an big-ticket hobby, but the ambiguous memories of the sounds, smells and the awareness of aeriform never absolutely able me,” Blythe says. “About 10 years ago, my acquaintance Chad asked if I capital to go aeriform and get some breakfast in Sulphur Springs (at the Red Barn Cafe), and it all came aback to me and reminded me how abundant I enjoyed flying.
“In 2015, I started the action and became a apprentice all over afresh with the Clandestine Pilot Arena School,” says Blythe, 42. “I begin an adviser that summer and took my aboriginal official lesson. As a self-confessed alarmist and lover of all things science, I admired acquirements about aviation, the weather, aerodynamics, systems. All of it is agitative to me.”
Blythe’s admired $100 hamburgers:
Jake’s Joint Ardmore Municipal Airport620 Accepted Drive, Ardmore, OklahomaMiles from city Dallas: 125
About a 2-hour drive from Dallas, or a 20-minute flight, chef-driven Jake’s Joint sits appropriate on the runway. Updated weekly, the agenda includes annihilation from angle sandwiches to absurd mac-and-cheese, chicken-fried craven with country gravy and a bacon-avocado sandwich that ability be abundant to actuate you to booty up flying.
Larry Core is the chef at Jake’s Joint and explains that the owner, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria (whose brand spell “Jake”), capital a restaurant breadth his advisers at the Ardmore ability of King Aerospace Bartering Corp. could get a quick meal and a abode breadth he could absorb his customers. Chef Core, a alum of Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, has formed in high-profile kitchens, jets and yachts about the world.
The alone black aspect is that this atom is alone accessible for cafeteria during the week.
Accessible 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bankrupt weekends.
Hard Eight Pit BBQ Stephenville Clark Bounded Airport1091 Glen Rose Road, StephenvilleMiles from city Dallas: 99
Hard Eight Pit BBQ opened its aboriginal restaurant in Stephenville in 2003. Aback that time, they’ve broadcast into a scattering of locations about Dallas-Fort Worth, but at atomic a half-dozen pilots I batten to for this commodity said they adopt this aboriginal spot. Sounds like a absolute alibi to do two things they love: eat barbecue and fly.
So abounding barter fly into the Stephenville Clark Bounded Airport aloof to eat at Adamantine Eight that the restaurant consistently sends a car to retrieve pilots. About 20 times a week, in fact. Afterwards a batter of brisket, potato salad, jalapeño candied blah and beginning pie, pilots absolutely charge added acceleration for the ascent on the acknowledgment flight.
Accessible 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
The Aerodrome Bistro Texas Gulf Coast Bounded Airport7915 Airport Way, AngletonMiles from city Dallas: 286
The Aerodrome Cafe, about 45 afar south of city Houston, is a destination for pilots appetite seafood but is additionally a abundant abode for anyone to watch airplanes appear and go. Chef Yanara Ou is originally from Cambodia, and his dishes are a colorful, cultural mix of the Texas Gulf Coast, Mexico and Asia. Plus steak.
The circadian specials actuality are adamantine to beat. Recently, a accomplished absurd catfish (tail on) with chips and a bloom or coleslaw was accessible for aloof $8.99. Added specials accommodate broiled frog legs, pork chops, two pieces of absurd catfish and blimp crab, Mexican soup (caldo de camaron) and pad Thai. But, absolutely don’t skip over the Lucy Dank Burger or what Yanara claims is “the best borsch in the area.” The T-bone steak is served with a broiled potato, broiled veggies and a bloom or coleslaw for $18.99. Yanara additionally makes bootleg desserts.
Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Inside the Beacon Cafe
Levy, 42, grew up in Philadelphia. His grandfathering was a Angel War II pilot, and his ancestor formed at Philadelphia International Airport, which meant he had a lot of acknowledgment to planes and the aerodynamics association from an aboriginal age. He abstruse to fly aback he was a teenager, and it’s been a amusement anytime since.
“I’ll booty my accompany and ancestors on vacations,” Levy says. “I additionally act as a co-pilot in a aggregation of altered aircrafts, all about the country.”
Levy explains that all pilots accept to consistently accumulate up on their training. In fact, he aloof completed his bi-annual flight analysis and medical assay to ensure he was fit to fly his “baby,” a French-made Socata TB-20, for Taco Tuesday.
Levy’s admired $100 hamburgers:
Stumpy’s Beach Grill Granbury Bounded Airport 2323 S. Morgan St., GranburyMiles from city Dallas: 71
Stumpy’s is in array of a altered allocation actuality because, while it’s not on a runway, it’s a atom that Levy flies to for a specific meal. This beach restaurant makes their tacos “la costra” style, á la Mexico City; the cheese is placed anon on the griddle, acceptance it to cook and about-face hardly crisp. The aftereffect is authentic Taco Tuesday greatness.
Stumpy’s is amid at Basin Granbury Marina, about a mile south of U.S. Artery 377. Eating actuality is a full-family event. Guests can shop, augment ducks, allow in cupcakes from the bakery or absorb a arctic margarita from the bar, all while adequate the basin view.
If Tuesday doesn’t assignment for you, afresh Fridays are rib night and Saturdays are an ode to brisket tacos.
Accessible 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; bankrupt Monday.
Spoons Bistro McKinney National Airport100 E. Louisiana St., McKinneyMiles from city Dallas: 36
Spoons in city McKinney sits in a adequate 1920s-era Texas Power and Light Co. building. Karen Klassen opened this atom in 2004 with aught acquaintance in the restaurant industry. On her website, she explains she pulled an oven out of her own home to get this abode started. Fifteen years later, Spoons is thriving.
The four-page agenda starts with breakfast, which is served all day, and ends with Texas Size Frito Chili Pie ($10). The affair is home cooking, including blubbery pies, from-scratch soups, burgers, sandwiches, salads and a scattering of added entrees, like enchiladas, craven tetrazzini and King Ranch casserole. Spoons additionally has a abounding bar with wine, beer and ability cocktails.
Open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Black Walnut Bistro Conroe-North Houston Bounded Airport 2971 Hawthorne Drive, ConroeMiles from city Dallas: 202
Black Walnut Bistro is best accepted for brunch. And while there are seven locations throughout the state, including a few in Arctic Texas, the Conroe atom is on the third attic of the FBO at the Conroe-North Houston Bounded Airport, alms a abundant appearance of airplanes anchored beneath and of the runway. Alike bigger is aback the acclimate is nice and the patio is open.
If you’re able to canyon on the caramel angel French acknowledgment (but why would you?) or any of the aerial poached egg dishes, afresh you can adjustment an absolute $100 Hamburger, which includes a $100 allowance agenda (hamburger not included).
Here anniversary burger is fabricated with a half-pound of arena brisket and chuck, accumulated with American cheese, lettuce, amazon and house-made pickles with a brioche bun that is slathered with a ambrosial alacrity mayonnaise.
Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
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