I have enjoyed countless meals that did not include meat—enough that I often think I could live happily as a vegetarian. Then, along comes steak. Whether it is ribeye, strip, skirt, hanger, or filet mignon, a good cut of beef can be hard for this omnivore to resist. Besides, for my family, steak tends to be a treat for special occasions. I associate it with happy times.
Times are rarely happier than when we are flying. And while the classic $100 hamburger is generally worth every penny, isn’t an airborne outing with one’s family almost always worthy of an upgrade? The best part may be that you do not have to wander far from the airport—or necessarily leave the ramp—to find the cut of your choice.
Below are six airport restaurants where steak holds a prominent place on the menu.
Hutchinson Municipal Airport (KHUT), Hutchinson, Kansas
A center-cut filet and Kansas City strip steak are among the highlights at this popular spot. There are also chicken and pork dishes and other entrees for folks who aren’t in the mood for steak. Side dishes include steakhouse favorites like shrimp cocktail, spinach dip and calf’s liver with onions—which my father would have loved. The airport also has an interesting story, having been a hub for commercial airline operations beginning in the mid-1940s. As with many medium-size airports of that era, airlines began to depart as longer-range jets took over.
Dallas Executive Airport (KRBD), Dallas, Texas
One cannot survive on steak alone, at least not if you are a restaurant. You need variety to keep diners interested. Here, grilled tilapia and chicken join strip steak and filet mignon on the menu. Still, aviation and eating go together. This restaurant even offers a “Dinner and Flight” package that includes a three-course dinner for two and a sightseeing tour over Dallas. Breakfast, lunch, brunch, and cocktails are also available. Treats other than food include vintage aircraft that are part of the Commemorative Air Force fleet, which is based there.
Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (KCOS), Colorado Springs, Colorado
Black Angus top sirloin, New York strip and steak Neptune (with lobster and shrimp) are among the featured items on the menu. But really, it is the venue that visitors are even more likely to remember. The dining room is a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker. Built in 1953, this giant refueled military aircraft across the globe for decades before opening as a restaurant in 2002. The airplane can accommodate 42 diners and is part of a larger 275-seat eatery that is full of historic photos and other aviation memorabilia.
94th Aero Squadron
Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF), San Diego, California
Braised short rib, grilled pork chop, and herb-roasted airline chicken offer alternatives to steak standards, including prime rib, New York block, filet mignon and bone-in ribeye. Aviation historians will enjoy digging into the history of the airport, which opened in 1940 as Gibbs Field, a broad unpaved gravel patch that allowed aircraft to take off into the wind no matter which direction it was blowing. It was used for training during World War II and as a staging area for B-24 Liberator bombers.
57th Fighter Group Restaurant
Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK), Atlanta, Georgia
Prime rib and ribeye are a good fit with the restaurant’s World War II theme, and other menu items, including salmon souffle, Cajun shrimp boil, and a range of pasta dishes offer alternatives for anyone who might feel steaked-out by now (if that is possible). The 57th Fighter Group Restaurant has been part of the Atlanta food scene since 1981 and features an intimate dining room, a patio with fire pits, a lounge with dancing on weekends, and a striking view of the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport.