Anyone who’s had the pleasure of experiencing the private aviation environment knows how surprisingly different it is from the commercial airport experience. Whether you’re traveling to Aspen on Gulfstream, or sputtering one state over in a Cessna for some fishing – both provide the novelty of driving up to the small terminal, prepping the flight yourself or waiting for your pilot in an uncrowded lounge, then walking 50 steps to your plane. I’ve done it a few times, and it’s a blast. (As with everything there are negatives, cost and weather being major impairments to this hobby.)
The one thing lacking in these airports however, from Van Nuys to Laramie, is decent foods. Restaurant options in most FBOs (private operators) consist of a few vending machines and if you’re lucky some fresh brewed coffee. Some small town airports might have a cafe serving fresh sandwiches, but they’re usually open from 10-3 on Saturdays, and that’s if the person shows up.
Centennial airport in southeast Denver is known as the second busiest general aviation airport in the country, second to Van Nuys in Los Angeles. “The Perfect Landing” restaurant is located on site, and they’re open real hours with a very impressive and substantial menu. I vist with work friends every few months to eat – and of course gawk at the variety of private aircraft moving around the field.
I haven’t been here for dinner yet, but for lunch I usually enjoy the grilled Atlantic salmon salad salmon salad. They offer plenty more American plates like Prime Rib and a Philly Steak sandwich. I’ve only done breakfast once – which was a few years back and did the chicken fried steak. I saw on their menu yesterday “Virginia Beach crab cakes with eggs” Anyplace that does crab cakes for breakfast gets my vote.
The close for a few hours every afternoon, but reopen in the evening for a happy hour complete with piano bar.
Pairing the diverse menu is the view from the second floor of the main terminal: A sweeping 180 degree view of the front range, with the two runways and ramps right in full view. You can watch sleek corporate jets speed down the runway for takeoff, and low time private pilots wobble in and bounce their practice landings over and over.
It’s a great restaurant and a lively spot for a suburban airport. I recommend a visit, and if you’re passing through via land or air it’s a fine place for a fuel stop and some great food.
They’re at 7625 South Peoria. From East Arapahoe turn south towards the airport, and park at the Denver Jet Center building.
Full menu at The Perfect Landing .com