The Parachute Inn and Other Great Airport Restaurants

It’s been a busy week with a lot of really long posts, so I figured I’d end on a lighter note. Once I left Indiana, I crossed the Ohio and met up with US-60. I decided to stick with that road all the way to Phoenix, and it truly was an incredible drive. I did, however, stray a couple of times. Once I found that the Parachute Inn in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas was a mere hour off US-60, I decided I had to do it. (Thanks for the recommendation, Brian.)

So what’s so special about the Parachute Inn? Take a look for yourself:

P1000268

That’s right. They took a Southwest 737-200 fuselage and plopped it right on to the ground as part of the restaurant. When I showed up, they only had two people working so the airplane wasn’t open for eating, but they did let me go in and take a look. The airplane is in pretty good shape on the inside with tables set up surrounded by Southwest seats.

P1000280

It’s definitely a unique setting for a restaurant, and by the way, they make a mean breakfast that was easily worth at least double the $3 they charged.
Later on in the trip, I made my way to Ponca City, OK on the advice of multiple people who had been there. There’s not much in town other than massive Conoco Phillips refineries, but there is Enrique’s. This Mexican food joint is in the Ponca City airport and has some of the best chips and salsa around.

I had someone else recommend a couple places in Owensboro, KY but I didn’t get the chance to stop there. Anyone else have some great airport restaurant recommendations?

See more pics of the Parachute Inn and the aircraft being scrapped nearby


19 Responses to The Parachute Inn and Other Great Airport Restaurants

  1. Mark says:

    Watch the cholesterol bro…

  2. Axel says:

    wow i wish i could go there:(

  3. The Traveling Optimist says:

    I was in Phoenix on business a couple of weeks ago and was treated to a GREAT evening meal experience at Oregano’s in Tempe. A combination grotte/bistro/street cafe with murals and a very upbeat wait-staff that served superlative thin-crust pizza while also offering deep dish and Chicago style.

    We got there ahead of the rush, thank goodness. Strong recommend for this place!

  4. b757capt says:

    First solo instrument flight was to PNC. I LOVE ENRIQUES!!!!

  5. Oliver says:

    wow! that’s pretty cool!

  6. Brian Lusk says:

    CF
    Glad you found the trip worthwhile. I still would like to make it up that way. Okay in your Flickr photos, you didn’t mention anything about the DC-3 on the ramp. Any idea as to its story?
    Brian

  7. CF says:

    Brian – No clue, but it looks like all those planes are in line to be parted out. A sad end, indeed.

  8. Brian Lusk says:

    It is sad, but I find aircraft graveyards interesting places. Sadly, at my age, I often find aircraft there that I had worked on the ramp during their prime. Even sadder, is those aircraft that were brand new and that are now future beer cans.

  9. Steve says:

    For a minute I thought that WN had gone through another fence, besides Midway and Burbank.

    Other good airport restaurants?

    Breakfast at the Lobby restaurant at MKE. Try the Steak and Eggs.

    360 Burrito in Terminal D of DFW are awesome but not unique. (Chain). Like Pappadeaux’s at IAH Concourse E.

    Fried Onion Rings at MBS.

  10. Dan Webb says:

    If I’m not mistaken I think I saw this in Airways a few months back – it looks like a really cool place. Hopefully I can make it there one day.

    That breakfast looks greasy, and therefore incredibly delicious.

  11. Justin says:

    CF,

    The Parachute Inn reminds me of a great little bar and grill near Manuel San Antonio in Costa Rica. It’s made from a Cold War-era cargo plane, and provides the perfect backdrop for swilling some sangria. If you’re lucky, swamp monkeys might wander by, too. It’s called El Avion. Definitely look it up!

  12. wizzy says:

    If you make it to Atlanta, check out the Downwind Restaurant at PDK airport. http://www.downwindrestaurant.com/

  13. Pingback: PlanetEye » Blog Archive » Fine Dining at Airport Restaurants

  14. Mark Evans says:

    Great post – definitely worth the trip just for the novelty factor. :)

    If you’re into dining at airports as opposed to airplanes, check out PlanetEye’s guide to the best places to eat at more than 40 restaurants around the world: newsletter.planeteye.com/airports

    Mark

  15. What a great idea. It would be great if some of the seats were reversed so that 4 or more people can eat together. Might require the odd row to be removed and replaced with a table. Nice idea!

  16. Hope says:

    If you look at the picture you will see that the seats ARE reversed. You can sit six to a table.

  17. shari says:

    Todd’s Restaurant at Ryan Field, Tucson, AZ. is an awsome family owned airport eatery. Fly in, taxi to the restaurant door. Simple as can be. Nothing fancy, just good food from fresh ingredients.

  18. Jarrah says:

    i live by it

  19. Parachute inn is awsome, food was great! I had a blast dining in this Airplane, and the kids were able to play in the cockpit! I will be back!

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