I have a real soft spot for retro. It’s probably due to my life-long fascination with stories. New things, while still shiny and fresh, rarely have much to say beyond “I was made in China.” But older items have been around the block a time or two. Their very patina proclaims, “I’ve been roughed up by a life well lived.” Which is why I enjoy the slightly scruffy Sky Galley at Lunken Airfield.
The original Sky Galley opened in 1931, tucked just inside the main building of Cincinnati’s oldest airfield. Charles Lindberg refueled there in 1927 on his way to New York after crossing the Atlantic. Deco details, two murals by William Harry Gothard (dated 1937), and a yellow 1956 Aeronca Champion suspended from the ceiling greet visitors. The restaurant itself, briefly called Wings in the late ’90s, serves up reliable diner staples such as club sandwiches, cobb salads, and burgers, along with mussels, chicken livers, and baked Alaskan salmon—not surprisingly, flown in fresh.
Panoramic windows that overlook the airstrip allow diners young and old to watch the airplanes and helicopters in action (my son swears he spotted Dusty Crophopper last month). Flight memorabilia and faded posters decorate the walls of the restaurant, and the adjacent bar is always stocked with an array of characters who themselves have been around the block a time or two. This is one historic spot sure to please the whole family.
Sky Galley, 262 Wilmer Ave., East End, (513) 871-7400, skygalley.net