Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Altoona-Blair County Airport (KAOO) restaurant receives new management. Altoona, Pennsylvania.

January 17, 2012
By Kay Stephens , The Altoona Mirror

MARTINSBURG - The Altoona-Blair County Airport's restaurant is open under new management on a temporary basis, while terms for a new operator are being negotiated.

Roaring Spring resident Matilda "Tick" Wyland, who has been dining room manager and server for four years at the Kitty Hawk restaurant on the second floor of the airport, is opening the doors for customers on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

"I wanted to keep it going, and keep it open for the community," Wyland said.

She started Jan. 6, the weekend after former operator Mary Jo Donaldson closed the restaurant on Dec. 31.

Donaldson told the Mirror in October that the economy, taxes and the opening of a nearby restaurant had hurt Kitty Hawk's business. She was behind on lease payments to the airport authority and said she wanted to retire. When the restaurant closed, she owed about $7,000 to the authority and signed a promissory note indicating that she will pay, authority solicitor David Pertile said.

Wyland said she didn't know how long she would run the restaurant, which is open to the public, but she is aware of a couple working with the authority to negotiate a long-term agreement.

"I didn't want to do it because I have another job," Wyland said.

She owns Tick's Styling Salon in Duncansville.

Pillar said the couple interested in running the restaurant have met with the authority's property committee. They have restaurant management experience and submitted one of three responses to the authority's October advertisement seeking parties interested in operating Kitty Hawk.

Wyland, meanwhile, will operate the restaurant on a month-to-month basis. In lieu of a monthly lease payment, Pillar said she has agreed to cover the restaurant's portion of the utility bills.

As for the menu, Wyland said that home-cooked meals remain intact, with breakfast, lunch and dinner features. Sunday's pair of features always includes roast turkey, she said.

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