Runways At Bartow Takes Flight With Grand Opening
by James Coulter
The early bird gets the worm, all the better to prepare themselves for a day of flying. Pilots wanting to take flight from Bartow are sure to prepare themselves likewise with an early meal at the airport’s newest eatery.
Runways At Bartow recently opened at the Bartow Municipal Airport, and celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce on Saturday morning.
The airport’s newest eatery serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch all through the week from Tuesday to Sunday. Fridays have them open late with both Happy Hour until 6 p.m. and a dinner after 5 p.m., while Sundays offers an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet.
For breakfast, start your day right with down-to-earth dishes, whether you prefer oatmeal, pancakes, or a diverse selection of omelets, while lunch offers hamburgers and other sandwiches. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy a meal that will fuel you up enough to take flight, even if you aren’t a pilot or passanger.
Everything is served through fresh cooking with a simple manner. The corned beef especially is highly recommended by the owner, as its slow-cooked up to 18 hours until prepared to tender, melt-in-your mouth perfection.
Whether you stop by for breakfast or lunch, or even if you plan on staying late on Friday for happy hour or dinner, you’re sure to be treated with the type of Southern hospitality one would expect from a city such as Bartow.
“We offer friendly southern charm,” said owner Darren Denington “The management team want to know the guests and personalize their service and take great care of you.”
Ever since he was a teenager at the ripe age of 13, Denington has been involved in the resturant industry. As a certified chef with a degree in food and beverage management, he brings with him 36 years of resturant experience.
Such experience makes him the prime candidate to take over the eatery at the Bartow Municipal Airport. The airport itself has gone through several eateries in the past, so this new one helps fill a great need, especially with the local airport experiencing recent expansion and renovation.
“I have been getting to know Bartow more and more,” Denington said. “The vision of the airport and what I felt the resturant could be was well aligned, and they have been great support. So we had the right idea at the right time with the right partners.”
The Bartow Municipal Airport recently hired a new airport director one year ago. Since then, the airport has concentrated on improving overall infrastructure through maintenance projects, especially restoring the 80-year-old airfield.
The director himself, John Helms, brings with him ten years of airport management experience. Prior to that, he served within the Navy and as a commercial pilot. Such experience has made him the best person to oversee the revitalization of the local airport.
Part of these revitalization efforts has been bringing in a new eatery. Helms considers that an important asset to any airport, as pilots needs a place to eat before and after their flights.
As someone who has had lunch there and tried everything on the menu, he especially recommend the corned beef, which is good either with hash or as a Reuben.
“This one [eatery] is unique,” he said. “The effort that their crew put into working around a diverse group between the airplanes and industrial park, and making sure to not only have a nice place for the aircraft to fly into, but also a place for the working members for the airport to come into for lunch.”
Trish Pfeiffer, Bartow Airport Authority, is not big on meat herself, as she preferred the broccoli casserole. However, she has seen the burgers and believes they would look and taste awesome for any carnivore.
“The new resturant, we are excited to have it here at our terminal,” she said. “We had many eateries come and go before, but Darren and this team are professionals cooking up good food, so we are looking for success from them at this location.”
Pfeiffer herself has a close friend from Ocala who flies in once a month to have lunch with her husband. As such, the eatery serves as a big draw for many pilots, and will hopefully help draw in greater traffic to the airport, she said.
Everyone involved, from the resturant owner to the airport manager, all have high expectations for the new eatery, and hopes that it will not only serve the many busy pilots there, but also bring in more people to the airport with its good food.
“My expectations is that we will offer good food at great prices at good service,” she said. “It is really important because we have aviation traffic that comes in here, so we want to have something to offer the pilots…We are not a destination place, but a lot of pilots do say lets fly to Bartow, to the airbase, and have lunch. And so pilots like to do recreational flying, and we want to be a destination for that.”
Runways At Bartow is located within the Bartow Municipal Airport, located at 5995 Airport Blvd Bartow, Florida 33831. For more information, call 863-519-4400, or visit their website at http://runwaysatbartow.com/