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First-class dining at The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs

by | Sep 17, 2018 | Historic Aircraft | 0 comments

Colorado Springs aviation museums

For an aviation buff, Colorado Springs is known for two great air museums, Peterson Air & Space Museum and National Museum of World War II Aviation. We visited both in one day and when it came to decide where to break for lunch between the two, the choice was obvious: Solo’s Restaurant, also commonly known as The Airplane Restaurant.

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

The Airplane Restaurant

The main attraction of The Airplane Restaurant, which opened in 2002, is the option to dine inside of a converted Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter, a piston engine strategic air tanker. The plane was originally built in 1953 and served many years with the 70th Air Refueling Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base and later with the Texas Air National Guard. At one point it was converted to an L model with a two J47 turbojet engines on underwing pylons to help match the cruising speed of B-52s bombers and other jet aircraft of the era. Without the turbojets, KC-97 crews had to perform a tobogganing maneuver which was essentially a shallow dive to pickup some speed while refueling.

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Purchasing the plane

The restaurants’ tanker was withdrawn from service in 1975 and put on display at the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, TX. In 2001 Steve Kanatzar, a managing partner of the Solo’s Restaurant and also a pilot himself, purchased the plane and had it transported to Colorado Springs in pieces using help and expertise of the Worldwide Aircraft Recovery team.

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Terminal Room

There are 42 seats available inside of the main fuselage that has been refitted with sitting booths. Over 200 seats are available in the main “terminal” room which was built around one of the KC-97’s wings with engine still attached to it. The room is also decorated with aircraft scale models, posters, photos and other aviation memorabilia. The menu itself is full of aviation history facts and is tempting you with dishes like a Philly Flyer, Runway Crunchy Chicken Strips, Flying Fortress Fajita Salad and Air Tower Nachos.

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Touring the plane

While waiting for you food you can visit the plane’s cockpit and pretend to fly a refueling mission in the 50s or peek into the tail section where a mannequin dressed in an aircrew uniform is lowering the refueling boom. The restaurant is located at the 1665 N. Newport Rd. in Colorado Springs, adjacent to the Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs, and is open 11:00 am – 9:00 pm daily. You can call 719-570-7656 to confirm the hours or make a reservation.

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter restaurant

About The Author

Igor K.

I am the founder and editor-in-chief of the AirMuseumGuide.com blog. Together with my son - hopefully a future aerospace engineer - we are trying to visit as many aviation and aerospace museums in the US as possible with the ultimate goal of visiting them all. We have been able to visit approximately 60 so far. We are hoping this site will help preserve aviation history and inspire young people to pursue a career in aerospace.

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