My brother, Cameron, arrived at Amelia’s Restaurant and Flightline Bar on time and, therefore, before me. He walked in the Rock Boulevard entrance, saw that I hadn’t yet arrived, and tried to decide whether he should wait for a host or just seat himself. He stood there conflicted for a few moments before someone told him the reason he hadn’t yet been seated was that he had entered the back door. The front door, apparently, is the one that opens out toward the airport. Not surprising, really, since all attention at Amelia’s is directed thus.
When I arrived, greeting my now-seated brother with my customary opening for any appointment, “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long,” I took a good look around. There is a long bar that looks out through enormous windows onto the runway and is lined with old timers in bomber jackets and aviator glasses—pilots one and all, no doubt. The walls are lined with airline memorabilia, including photographs of “Lady Lindy” herself, Amelia Earhart.
The large windows accommodate the exceptionally high ceiling. The interior is brightly lit and the background music is so soft as to be barely noticeable. These factors make me feel slightly conspicuous, and this is augmented by the feeling, sure to be had by those of us mostly ignorant of aviation, that we are visiting somebody else’s country club. I couldn’t help but have the neurotic suspicion that everyone else in the restaurant knew one another.
On our visit, this impression was confirmed when someone began projecting a slide show for the benefit of a ski club that had been gathering in the restaurant.
The dinner menu is largely comprised of what is often referred to as “American food,” burgers and steaks and so forth, augmented with a fair sampling of seafood. I ordered coconut prawns ($16) with rice pilaf and cream of broccoli soup. Cameron ordered the chicken Caesar salad ($10). The soup was excellent. It warmed me nicely, both in terms of internal temperature and in anticipation for the rest of the meal.
The entree was somewhat disappointing. The prawns were attractively presented with orange marmalade and steamed vegetables on a Spruce Goose-sized plate. The prawns were fine, just too sweet and somewhat one-dimensional in flavor. My brother reported that his Caesar was good but disappointing because of the price. I wasn’t fond of the buttery rice pilaf, despite its high recommendation from the cheerful waitress.
Despite a few drawbacks, Amelia’s is a pleasant place to dine, and the cuisine is of a much higher quality than the food normally associated with air travel. And I can’t imagine a better place for those readers who do happen to be aviation enthusiasts to have a drink and a bite.
Looking out at the runway from the bar, you can see that there are a number of planes parked nearby, so it’s not unusual for patrons of Amelia’s to fly into the airport and taxi over near Amelia’s. This helps explain the fly-boy camaraderie; not only is this an aviation-themed restaurant, it’s a restaurant where you take your plane all the way to the front door.