Pilots of small planes know that the little airports can deliver big when it comes to delicious food at good prices.
Truckers are famous for finding tasty food at good prices. But did you know that pilots of small airplanes are just as discerning? Consider these airports with great eats:
- Locals and travelers who flock to 3-Zero Cafe at Half Moon Bay Airport, in Moss Beach, Calif. They swear by the Pilot’s Plate: scrambled eggs with artichoke hearts, zucchini, sausage, mushrooms, and garlic. Snag a table by the window to watch private planes taking off. The name Three-Zero? It’s the airport runway’s compass direction (technically, 300 on a 360-degree compass rose). Not to worry: You can drive right to the door. (650) 728-1411, 3-zero.com .
- Nancy’s Airport Café Willows–Glenn County Airport, Willows, Calif. Everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to prime rib—plus breakfast 24 hours a day. Right off I-5, it’s popular with truckers, too. (530) 934-7211, nancysairportcafewillows.com .
- Rickenbacker’s Restaurant & Bar Ogden-Hinckley Municipal Airport, Ogden, Utah. In sight of the Wasatch Mountains, this white-tablecloth eatery in the Kemp Jet Services offers such dishes as filet mignon and whole crab with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Ask about early-bird specials. (801) 627-4100, rickenbackersbistro.com .
- Sky Lounge Steakhouse & Raw Bar Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa, Calif. Boasts an indoor bar and outdoor patio overlooking the tarmac, where you can order Buffalo-style chicken wings or a steak sandwich with caramelized onions and blue cheese. Business lunchers gravitate to creative sushi in the raw bar. (707) 542-9400, skyloungerestaurant.com .
- Wings Grill & Espresso Bar Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Calif. Famous among Sacramento-area fliers, this eatery serves bountiful breakfasts and lunches. One favorite: an overstuffed grilled pastrami sandwich with cheese and a mountain of French fries. (530) 885-0428.
Photography by Melissa Barnes 
This article was first published in January 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.