The Hundred Dollar Hamburger (or BBQ plate, or Chicken Fried Steak) still lives! AOPA released their 2019 Best Restaurants List giving plenty of options to all of us hungry pilots out there. No Texas airports made the official list, but The Southern Flyer Airport Diner at the Brenham Airport (11R) brought home honorable mention.
Looking for some other options? Here are some other good fly-in eateries around Texas. These are ranked in no particular order because they are all just really good! Most of these are located on the airport property, but a few are in town and worth the drive!
- 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.
- Radial Engine Cafe (KGPM): A good little stop in the Dallas area for a simple burger, fries, and a Coke. Don’t get the smaller 17/35 runway at GPM confused with the much larger 16/34 runway at GKY just to the west. Approaching from the south, this can be easily done.
- 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!
- Sky Restaurant (KVCT): Not quite within walking distance, but just a short drive from the FBO, Sky Restaurant specializes on the seafood, but they also have good burgers and steaks. VCT is popular amongst the Air Force and Navy trainers in the area, especially around lunch!
- Runway Cafe (KLBX): The best place I have found for seafood along the Texas Gulf Coast. With a huge runway to land on and a beautiful FBO next door, this is my go to for Fried Shrimp when I’m in the Houston area.
- Delta Charlie’s (KRBD): I just discovered Delta Charlie’s last week. I usually go to Ambassador FBO, but I heard there was a restaurant in the terminal building and it didn’t disappoint! With quite an extensive menu (and a full bar for those overnight trips), I will definitely make RBD one of my routine stops. Rumor has it a new FBO is going into the terminal at RBD, so fueling your stomach and your plane can all be done in one spot.
In my book, these are the other great places to stop on a flight in Texas. Always make sure to come hungry! I probably missed a few along the way, so please feel free to add others to the list!