The Hundred Dollar Hamburger (or BBQ plate, or Chicken Fried Steak) still lives! AOPA just released their 2015 Best Restaurants List giving plenty of options to all of us hungry pilots out there. Two Texas airport restaurants made the list, one’s that most pilots know well.
The Stephenville Airport (KSEP) brought home the recognition of best Western BBQ (beef, not pork; eastern BBQ is pork) with Hard 8 BBQ just across the street (they used to have golf carts at the airport to drive to the restaurant, but now you have to call and they will send someone to pick you up). The Southern Flyer Airport Diner at the Brenham Airport (11R) brought home the title of best chicken fried steak (I would give them an honorable mention for hamburger and milk shake as well).
Editor’s Note: Southern Flyer Diner at 11R is currently closed.
Looking for some other options? Here are some other good fly-in eateries around Texas.
- Lockhart BBQ (50R): With 4 BBQ options in Lockhart (and City Market BBQ 10 minutes away in Luling), you can’t go wrong with a stop in Lockhart. Just grab the keys for the giant suburban, and away you go. Most folks who stop off in Lockhart will give it a legitimate claim over Hard 8 in Stephenville.
- Angelina County Airport Restaurant (KLFK): This is pure East Texas eating here in Lufkin. With greasy, tasty burgers and sandwiches, breakfast, and ladies who call you “Sugar” when taking your order, this is down home if I ever tasted it. Lufkin and Brenham are currently neck and neck for the best Texas burger.
- Black Walnut Cafe (KCXO): This airport diner newcomer, located at the Galaxy FBO in Conroe on the north side of Houston, is top notch. The food is excellent (I have eaten several different sandwiches and have not been disappointed) and you can’t beat the 3rd floor runway view from the patio. Not a bad place to spend the lunch hour, though make sure you get there before the lunch hour. It fills up quick.
- Airport Diner (T82): Right next to the Hangar Hotel, the Airport Diner in Fredericksburg brings back memories of the old soda fountains of the ’40s and ’50s. With plates like the Warthog (their sausage sandwich with Fredericksburg made sausage) and the Whirly Bird (their chicken tenders wrap), the Airport Diner fully embraces the airport theme. Better to stop for lunch on a weekday rather than a weekend as their isn’t a whole ton of seating. Check your NOTAMs as the restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Mixed Up Burgers (KGPM): This funky burger joint at the Grand Prairie airport takes burgers to a whole new level. Stay away from the Tooter if you’re about to go flying, but the Pedro, the Chowboy, and the Love Burger are top notch.
- Clear Springs Restaurant (KBAZ): Come for the onion rings, stay for the fish. Clear Springs is just a 5 minute drive from the airport and there are always plenty of crew cars available. You could probably make a whole meal out of the onion rings themselves, but the fish is top notch too.
- The Big Bib (KSSF): Excellent little BBQ joint inside the terminal at Stinson Field. Portions are good size and you have 4 different sauces to choose from.
- Cooper’s BBQ (KAQO): Llano, TX is known for BBQ. Just fly in to the airport, get a car, and after a 10 minute drive, you can take your pick of any kind of BBQ under the sun. Careful, as it’s easy to over order!
- Hangar 6 Restaurant (KUVA): The newest restaurant on the list, located on the ramp at the Uvalde Airport, Hangar 6 tips it’s hat to the military history of the Uvalde airport while serving really good food. Taxi in and walk up to the quaint little joint. They even have a playground for the kids!
In my book, these are the other great places to stop on a flight in Texas. Always make sure to come hungry!