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Waco Kitchen

March 2, 2021

  • 15955 S. Airport Road
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (269) 520-1200
  • Website
  • Menu

Show of hands. How many of you know there’s an airport in Battle Creek?

Everyone should be raising their hands. There’s an Air National Guard Base there, WMU’s College of Aviation, and it’s where the Field of Flight is at over the July 4th holiday.

What the Battle Creek Executive Airport at Kellogg Field doesn’t have is a public terminal. There are no commercial flights in and out of Battle Creek. For passenger travel, the airport has a couple of private hangers but you won’t be hopping on a United flight anywhere out there.

Without a public terminal, it seems odd that I’m about to write a blog post about a restaurant at the airport, but here we are.

Waco Kitchen is part of Waco Aircrafts on Airport Road right on the Battle Creek Executive Airport. The restaurant is inside the main building at Waco Aircrafts between Columbia Avenue and the Control Tower at the end of Airport Road. It’s a place you won’t find if you’re not looking for it. There is a billboard for the restaurant on Columbia Avenue just before you get to Airport Road if you’re coming from the City but once you actually get to the building, there’s very little signage pointing you in the right direction until you get inside the massive hangar.

Once inside the building, it gets much easier to find the restaurant. There is a sign at the front door letting you know you’re in the right place.

From there, a staircase at the end of the hallway leads you up to the dining room on the second floor.

The staircase (and elevator) lead right up to the restaurant overlooking the tarmac and part of the hanger used by Waco Aircrafts.

I had put an order in online and it’s a pretty good idea that I did. I was actually kind of surprised how packed the place was for a Friday afternoon during lunch. This is not an easy place to find. I’m sure many of the people found out about this place the same way I did….an article in the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Waco Aircraft (pronounced Wah-Co, not Way-CO) is a product of a couple of Battle Creek High School grads in the early part of the 20th Century. There have been sales and moves throughout the years of the Weaver Airplane Company of Ohio but they settled back in Battle Creek 1999. This large complex at the Battle Creek Executive Airport now serves as the Waco HQ and bringing a restaurant to the space is part of the process to show the community what they do.

When I got up the stairs I walked in to the dining room past a group of people waiting in the hallway for a table. I could see two brown bags sitting on the bar and assumed one was mine. The bartender asked if I had a to-go order and I gave her my name. I had ordered the Barnstormer Burger with a side of potato wedges. She grabbed the bag and had me sign the credit card slip.

The first thing I did when I got back to the office was pop open the to-go container with the potato wedges. The potatoes weren’t really thick steak fry type wedges. They were thinner and crispier. The edges had a real good crunch to them. The potatoes were pretty heavily seasoned but not overly salty. There was a cup of ketchup and a cup of fry sauce in the bag but I’m not a huge fan of either and the fries were good enough to stand on their own.

The Barnstormer Burger was up next and it was delicious. The Michigan raised beef patty is served on a grilled bun with arugula. heirloom tomato, pickled cucumbers (or as most of us call them, pickles), carmelized shallots, and a house made smoked honey BBQ sauce. Being the simpleton I am, I really like cheese and bacon on a burger and both were missing from this sandwich…and it didn’t matter. The meat alone was amazingly good. It was so tender, and juicy plus it had that flavor you only get from fresh, high quality beef. The rest of the accouterments were fine but it’s more veggies than I like on a burger. The meat and the bun, however, were fantastic and made this burger shine.

The cost of my meal was $12 before the tip.

Waco Kitchen is not something you would expect to find in this location but it’s definitely something worth seeking out. They have a whole menu of locally sourced entrees and it’s such a unique dining experience at an airport most people don’t really know exists. And…if you’re really in the spending mood, you can buy yourself an airplane to go along with that hamburger. They even have combo deals.

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