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:


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.


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

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19 comments on “The Parachute Inn and Other Great Airport Restaurants

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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:


  8. 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.

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