Wednesday, April 25, 2018

St. Paul Downtown Airport (KSTP) new restaurant attracts fly-in diners, sometimes in classic aircraft

Robert Schroeder gets ready to fly out in his Nanchang CJ-6A at St. Paul’s Holman Field, after having lunch at Holman’s Table with fellow pilot Steve Hamel on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Hamel owns a 1984 Russian Yak-52.


Robert Schroeder, left, and Steve Hamel stand near Schroeder's Nanchang CJ-6A at St. Paul's Holman Field, watching a B-25 (the little speck in the sky at far right), and a Minnesota Patrol helicopter practicing rescues, center, on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.


Spring is here, so why not hop a plane and grab some lunch?

Even better if a World War II-era B-25 is flying practice approaches nearby and the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter is doing practice rescues.

That’s what Robert Schroeder and Steve Hamel encountered Tuesday afternoon.

Schroeder, of Minneapolis, called up Hamel and said his 1983 Nanchang CJ-6A — a Chinese air force trainer plane — was good to go. Hamel, of Hudson, was leaving his Frogtown machine shop, heard the radial engine, and knew his friend was above. He drove over, and the two met at Holman’s Table, at the St. Paul Downtown Airport.

Schroeder hadn’t flown for six months — “This has no heat,” he said, pointing to his craft through the restaurant window  — and was thrilled to get into the air.

They raved about the newly opened Holman’s Table restaurant.

“We’ve been denied a restaurant that we can fly into in the Twin Cities area for a long time,” Schroeder said over a Reuben sandwich and fries. “So a lot of us would fly to Eau Claire for lunch for the infamous hundred-dollar burger and fly back.

“This is much finer. The food’s phenomenal. The location is fabulous. It requires the pilot to use their skills in dealing with the tower, taxiing, a mixed type of aircraft. … So it really does cause you as a pilot to improve your mixed skill set. And have a great meal.”

Just then, a World War II-era B-25 bomber — a “Billy Mitchell” from the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing– flew in, drawing their attention. Diners filed out to watch the pilot’s “touch and go” practices. And then the rescue simulations began nearby.

The restaurant has airplane parking spaces right outside the door and gets fly-in guests several times a week, said manager Patty Pitka: “They come from St. Cloud, Duluth, all over, just to pop in for a meal.”

Original article can be found here ➤  https://www.twincities.com

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