Runway restaurant in Urbana serves up aerial delights and delectable pies
After visiting the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, we headed to a place that I had read about on the Web: Doug and Michele’s Airport Cafe at Grimes Field in Urbana.
It was recommended as the only place to eat in Urbana on a Sunday. I also read that it’s always crowded. Sure enough, when we arrived, the cafe was open and crowded.
It’s not the fanciest joint, just a lackluster building off Main Street. But it’s near the airport runway, and the full parking lot at this time of day meant that it was the real deal.
Grimes Field is Urbana’s municipal airport. It’s named for Warren Grimes, who is described as “father of the aircraft lighting industry.” As the story goes, Grimes was working as a lighting contractor in Detroit with his brother when Henry Ford approached him to create a light for the Ford Tri-Motor airplane, aka “The Tin Goose.”
Two days later, Ford adopted his design, and Grimes eventually employed 1,300 to produce the lights at a factory in Urbana.
This success led the city to name the airfield after Grimes when it opened in 1943. It remains operational and also houses the Champaign Aviation Museum. You can take flying lessons there, or just sit and watch the small planes take off and land.
The restaurant menu is an interesting mix of salads, burgers, omelets and dinners with surprising specials including bison and ostrich meat, which come from a nearby farm.
We sat outside and ordered mac and cheese and chocolate milk for Max, who especially enjoyed watching a steady stream of small planes taxiing the runway.
Michele, one of the owners, waited on us and said that people regularly fly in from all over the country to eat their homemade pies, made with local berries and apples. Like the restaurant, the black raspberry pie and butterscotch pie, at $2.79 a hearty slice, were the real deal.
The Airport Cafe is located at 1636 N. Main St., Urbana, Ohio. Hours are listed on the menu as 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; and 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday. It’s closed on Monday.
For more information, call 937-652-2010 or visit www.urbanaohio.com/grimes-field/airport-cafe.html.
Learn about our trip to the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve.