Friday field trip: The Airplane Restaurant

Not too long ago, during one of my visits to see my grandsons in the desert, Bubby shared with me one of those Bubbyism moments I love so much. We were out on his patio, and he was grilling up some "dinner" for me on his play barbecue grill. On the menu were sausages—which bore an uncanny resemblance to a couple of Matchbox vehicles pretending, for Bubby's sake, to be sausages.

"Take which one you want, Gramma," Bubby said as he held out a bowl of trucks, er, sausages. "There's cheese sausage and plain sausage."

My consideration of which sausage to take must have seemed to Bubby as if I were questioning the options. "That's the plain one," Bubby told me, "Not like a plane up in the sky, Gramma. Plain like nothin' on it."

I, of course, happily chose the plain sausage—which turned out to be infinitely better than plane sausage might have been.

Incidentally, when Bubby and Mac visited in June, we did have plane food. And I do mean plane, like a plane in the sky, not plain like nothing on it. For we ate dinner one night at The Airplane Restaurant (also known as Solo's).

My photo to the right is kind of crummy, as it was an afterthought taken on my phone as we left the restaurant. It does show, though, that The Airplane Restaurant is exactly that: an airplane that's a restaurant. The establishment features a genuine, formerly in service plane—a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker—built into a restaurant. Or, more accurately, I think, the restaurant is built around the plane.

Which Bubby thought was pretty darn cool.

The restaurant offers seating for forty-two within the actual plane, with far more seating in the attached building. Unfortunately for us, someone had reserved the entire plane portion for a child's party the night we visited, but they were kind enough to allow Bubby and me to take a quick tour of the plane while we waited for our meal.

The best part of that mini tour, naturally, was the cockpit. Bubby did get a little shy when we toured it, though, as the partygoers filled the tiny space. He was reluctant to pretend to be a pilot, to mess with the dials and such that I just know he was itching to touch.

One especially chatty little party gal was determined to find out Bubby's name, age, what he thought of the place, and if he came there often. Which Bubby found a tad disconcerting. So he gave her limited info...then clammed up and made it clear he wanted only to return to our table.

Even though our table wasn't inside the actual plane, it still had some nifty features that impressed Bubby and the rest of us. We sat right by the part of the restaurant that features the wing—propeller and all. Which Bubby thought was pretty darn cool, too.

Of course, we had to take the obligatory "Bubby's holding up the plane!" shot, which Bubby got a kick out of.

Well, until his arms grew tired.

There was far more to look at than just the propeller. Model airplanes, airplane pictures, plus aviation artifacts and memorabilia decorate the interior of The Airplane Restaurant, from top to bottom and in every corner. Even the table tops are emblazoned with maps and aviation charts.

The menus are printed on newsprint and include airplane trivia, black-and-white photos, and a brief history of the Boeing KC-97 and the Wright Brothers. Being a menu and all, there's also tons of options from which to choose, many of which have aviation-themed names (Flying Chicken Florentine, Air Tower Nachos, Rueben von Crashed) and more. There's pastas, ribs and steaks, seafood, chicken, burgers and other sandwiches, plus full bar options ("Jet Fuels").

The kids menu has numerous kid friendly foods, such as chicken fingers, grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and more. I'm not exactly sure what age is considered "kids", but the options even include top sirloin, baby back ribs, and deep friend shrimp. The kids menu itself provides plenty of space for coloring and an option for leaving the artwork at the restaurant for them to display a while then mail to the artist when artwork is swapped out at the end of each quarter. Bubby allowed Gramma to keep his artwork—which remains on my fridge to this day, as Gramma doesn't believe in changing her art displays quarterly.

Despite the extensive offerings on the kids menu, the food wasn't all that big of a deal for Bubby. The KC-97 and the numerous model airplanes hanging from the ceiling were the real attraction for a four-year-old boy. Mac wasn't all that impressed by the food or the airplanes. Having turned one year old just weeks before our visit, planes and propellers simply weren't his thing. Yet.


We'll have to eat at The Airplane Restaurant next time the boys visit. In fact, I think we'll reserve the plane portion of the restaurant next time we go, so both boys can twist and turn and fly the friendly skies as long as their imaginations take them there.

Or at least until dessert is served.

Interested in visiting The Airplane Restaurant? Find details here:

The Airplane Restaurant • 1665 N. Newport Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80916 • (719) 570-7656

Today's question:

When did you last eat plane food (like a plane up in the sky, not just plain food!)?