Over the past year, a lot of our favorite fly out restaurants have restricted their operations, but have mostly remained open. Despite the pandemic, many of these places have done their best to keep serving our flying community. To some, it has been a tough run in the present environment. The bottom line is that they need our support if we want to continue to enjoy the ambiance of “food on the fly” for years to come. As the weather starts to warm up, why not plan a fly-out to visit one of these neat places? The hundred dollar hamburger is still out there for those who wish to chase it down. Here’s an update on some of my favorite fly out destinations in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. We are lucky to have so many nearby options!. Let’s go flying!
Bessie’s Diner at Janesville-Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport – Janesville, WI (KJVL) – open 7 days a week from 6 am to 3 pm, but only seating to 25% capacity – easier to be seated quicker on weekdays. Their food is amazing, and the airport view out the large glass windows is very enjoyable!
Charlie’s Restaurant at Clow International Airport (1C5) – Bolingbrook, IL (1C5) – open 7 days a week from 7am to 3 pm – seating to 50% capacity – food and service is excellent!
Edge of Town Café at Palmyra Airport (88C) – Palmyra, WI – open 7 days a week from 6 am to 2 pm – this is a neat little family restaurant with great food at a great price – the restaurant is located off the airport property, but is an easy walk just to the south of the airport – located on the main road that runs through Palmyra. Palmyra has a grass strip that is 2800’ x 200’. It is nicely groomed, and easy to fly into. Still check takeoff and landing performance, along with runway conditions during the winter months!
Flight Deck Grill at Rochelle Airport (KRPJ) – Rochelle, IL – open Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 9 pm; 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays ; CLOSED MONDAY and TUESDAY during winter – this is a really cool place to check out – the Chicago Skydive Center (CSC) is located adjacent to the restaurant. When the weather is nice, there is outdoor seating on a patio. On weekends, the Chicago Skydive Center is brimming with activity, and people can sit back and enjoy watching all the skydiving action. They have a sand volleyball court, and a bonfire pit for everyone to enjoy. A must do destination with excellent food.
Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room – Madison Dane County Airport (KMSN) – Madison, WI –open Monday to Saturday 7 am to 2 pm; Sunday 7:30 am to 2 pm. – this is a neat little restaurant located in the Wisconsin Aviation General Aviation Terminal on the east side of the airport. The food at the Jet Room is outstanding, with friendly and attentive service. There are no parking fees at Wisconsin Aviation, and no expectation to purchase fuel – although patronizing the FBO is much appreciated. There is a nice view of the airport and ramp area from each of the tables. The restaurant is currently seating to 25 percent capacity. During the week it is easier to be seated quicker. Owner Nick greets everyone with a warm welcome as they arrive. It is well worth the effort to visit the Jet Room!
Pilot Pete’s – Schaumburg Regional Airport (06C) – Schaumburg, IL – Pilot Pete’s is an all-time favorite destination for many of us. Located in the general aviation building above the Northwest Flyers FBO, it offers a great view of the ramp and runway. On a nice day there is lots of action to see while you enjoy one of their outstanding menu items. Pilot Pete’s has been closed for a while, but by the looks of their website, they are looking to hire staff. Hopefully they will be up and running soon!