Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rerun: breakfast at the airport

(Note: This morning the weekly breakfast gang ate out at the airport; as luck -- or misfortune -- would have it, I forgot my camera. Then it occurred to me that many readers may not have seen this post the first time around back in 20-aught-6, so why not a rerun. Which is just what this is. Not a great deal has changed, though I'm glad to see that the cafe is still there, little changed except perhaps a little more flying memorabilia. Please note that the original comments arrived in my editing window along with the original post and I left them there.)

The trouble with many small town city fathers is that too often they suffer from an extreme case of urban envy. They're willing to sacrifice a historic old building ... a long-established business ... a scenic vista ... almost anything in their drive to be more "progressive" and like the Big City.

Recent talk about "up-grading" our airport reported in the local gazette makes me fear for one of my favorite little cafes -- the Skyway Restaurant at Love Field. The food is, well, cafe food. Could be better.

But I love to sit at a table by the window, watching the small planes come and go, listening to pilot talk, asking a knowledgeable waitress about the private jet that just landed. Best of all is the downhome decor. Anything & everything to do with flying (except maybe the Enterprise.)

I went there today with friends, the idea being to record what might disappear some day in a flurry of civic betterment. First thing I noticed was the model of a new extra-jumbo jet leaning against the wall in the office next to the cafe. Turns out there wasn't enough room on the ceiling next door for the new model.

That's the kitchen pass-through window above, well surrounded with planes, planes and more planes. Openers for what follows as you get further into the restaurant.

The ceiling is covered with airplanes, from a really old tri-plane to the most modern fighter jets. Models are made of balsa wood ... of plastic ... even inflatables.

Aviation memorabilia covers the walls. Much of it is highly personalized.

There's a classic Goodyear blimp, for good measure.

The Skyway is very much a pilots' place. Have a spare Piper Cub or home-brew experimental craft to sell? Put a notice on the bulletin board at the entrance.

We've seen those mean-looking Army choppers land nearby so the troops can pop in for a hamburger and coffee. Watched Riddle beginners practice their bouncy touchdowns. Listened to a long-in-tooth aviatrix tell young students about her adventures piloting cargo planes to Europe during WW2.

And we were once told that a particular jet that showed up periodically belonged to Barbra Streisand, who owned a McMansion up in the canyons north of Paulden, where her current guru also had an establishment.

I really wouldn't want to trade a place like this for one of those polished, bland, planned, upscale cookie cutter chain restaurants that I'm sure our city fathers are envisioning for the future. I'll grant that they haven't said as much -- but is anyone willing to make a bet with me?


catalyst said...

The Deer Valley airport down in the Big City has a great little cafe, too. Atmosphere isn't much, as I recall, but the food was great and, more important, inexpensive.

Granny J said...

I have a soft spot for those little cafes that have been around for a while. In one spot. With the same owner(s). Local samples include the Waffle Iron and the Iron Horse. I hear, BTW, that the Skull Valley Cafe is closed. Mores the pity!

k said...

No bet here.

My grandma Helen used to fly one of those self-same Piper Cubs. A little two-seater.

Granny J said...

I bet your grandma is like that long-in-tooth aviator lady who hangs out at the Skyway!
Won't anyone take me up on the bet?

azlaydey said...

I called one of the locals that patronize the Skull Valley Cafe. Yes, it's closing.......tomorrows the last day. It's too bad there was a personal problem between the owner and leasee.......... now there is no cafe or gas station down there. Oh for the good old days, when everyone tried to get along.

Granny J said...

lady -- oh, dear -- that is one Real Bummer!I didn't realize that the gas station was gone, either.

Jenifer said...

I don't think he has any sense of adventure at all...
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