Originally built in 1953, this intact Boeing KC-97 tanker—one of the largest propeller-driven aircraft ever made—was once used for refueling missions in Europe. In 2002, the airplane found a second life as the premier aviation restaurant in the United States.
The owners of the Airplane Restaurant created a unique dining destination to draw in aviation buffs and share the history of the KC-97 tanker. The ex-Texas Air National Guard KC-97 mid-air refueling tanker was mated to the restaurant building with the port wing and the engine sticking through the wall and slicing through the “terminal” part of the restaurant. The wing serves as a place to mount lights and as a shelf for model airplanes and other aviation-related memorabilia.
The giant gas tank was removed and the interior of the plane was flipped into a long, narrow dining room. The tables are all covered with old aviation maps and charts and then laminated over. The “crew” of the restaurant thanks you for flying with them and then offers a menu that is miles better than your typical airline fare. The cockpit and the tail of the aircraft have been left mostly intact and patrons can go sit in the pilot’s chair and imagine what it would be like to fly this behemoth of a piston driven airplane. The tail has a mannequin dressed in 1950’s aircrew uniform demonstrating how it would look to be lowering the refueling boom to fuel up another aircraft while in flight. It’s closed off with plexiglass but lit so everyone can see how it works.
Know Before You Go
If you wish to eat in the interior of the plane, reservations are recommended. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 9 pm daily. Groups should make reservations otherwise it's first come first serve.