Putting a finger on what exactly is “the best part” of aviation is difficult. But there is one unsuspecting activity I will always appreciate as it combines several of my favorite things (i.e. airplanes, outdoors, food) and is one of the simplest joys: the $100 Hamburger.
It’s not the “burger” itself that I love (although I’ll take the burger pictured below any day) – it’s how perfectly it emblemizes the capability, freedom and fun that airplanes can provide. In actuality, the meal itself is nothing more than an excuse to open the hangar doors and spread our wings.
And experienced in providing some of the finest excuses to fly is the “$100 Hamburger” travel guide. This infamous book has been a staple among private pilots since the first edition was released in 1998. The publisher defines the famed expression as the following:
The $100 Hamburger is pilot slang for the practice of flying away for the sole purpose of grabbing lunch at a distant airport. The check for the meal is modest but the costs of flying your own plane to get to it are very high. The joy of these pilots’ passion for flight is shared by the countless patrons who fill airport restaurants to watch them arrive and depart and dream that one day they might be at the controls.
Of course, $100 may not cut it any more with increased fuel and rental prices, but that hasn’t stopped pilots from continuing to enjoy the more than 1,600 airport restaurants around the country.
Each year, John Purner, founder of “The $100 Hamburger” polls the website’s 54,000 subscribers to find the top airport restaurants around the country. He recently unveiled the 2019 “Best of the Best.” They are presented below in alphabetical order by state and city within state. (You might recall the first one listed was featured in our March cover story).
Gaston’s Restaurant Lakeview, AR (3M0)
Flo’s Airport Café Chino, CA (CNO)
Harris Ranch Restaurant Coalinga, CA (3O8)
The Downwind Cafe Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
57th Fighter Group Restaurant Atlanta, GA (PDK)
Pilot Pete’s Chicago/Schaumburg, IL (06C)
Rick’s Cafe Boatyard Indianapolis, IN (EYE)
The Beaumont Hotel Beaumont, KS (07S)
Bistro Le Relais Louisville, KY (LOU)
Jake’s Joint Ardmore, OK (ADM)
So, if you are looking for an excuse to exercise your airplane this Spring and check off a few of the restaurants above, pilots can purchase the guide on Amazon or subscribe to the website at www.100dollarhamburger.com. The latest edition, released in December, also includes information about FBOs, rental cars, museums, hotels, golf courses and camping. Happy eating!
Ps. In this issue, you will notice Twin & Turbine’s new look taking form. The magazine will retain the content you are familiar with, but it will be presented in an updated, clean way. We hope you like what you see and continue to enjoy the only monthly aviation magazine that speaks solely to twin and turbine owner-pilots.