Tucked in a southwest Missouri farm field is an airstrip that invites visitors to watch small-engine planes take off and land, all while eating in a large Quonset hangar.
There is no dirt and grease or even airplanes in this hangar, quite the contrary. It is full of tables, chairs, airplane décor and delicious food. The Hangar Kafe is located on Kingsley Air Field on Route 66 outside of Miller Mo. The Kingsley family owns the establishment and the farm surrounding it.
The family operates a crop-dusting business from the farm base. The small restaurant gives pilots a place to rest and eat before continuing on their journey. But it is more than that. The Kingsleys opened the Hangar Kafe to share their love of aviation. It gives people a chance to see planes up close, owner Kiman Kingsley says. But walk through the glass-fronted building, and aircraft are inside as well.
Nod to yesteryear
Hung from the ceilings are model airplanes. Most are World War II-era fighter planes. “A lot of people come in, a lot of families and their grandad was in World War II, to show their grandkids the planes,” Kingsley says.
There’s the Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft, the German fighter plane that is on record with more aerial kills than any other aircraft. The U.S. fought it off with another model plane in the Hangar Kafe, the P-51 Mustang with the guns in the wings, Kingsley explains.
But the historic airplanes are not just inside. Kingsley owns a 1943 Howard DGA-15 Nightingale used by the Army and Navy as an air ambulance. If visitors are lucky, they can see this historical plane parked outside the hangar or in the air.
Dine in or out
While looking at either miniature or full-size planes, visitors to the Hangar Kafe have a lot of food options. However, there is one go-to dish — hand-breaded pork tenderloin. And true to Missouri style, it is bigger than the bun and your appetite. But save room for dessert of signature homemade cream and meringue pies, along with cobblers.
The Hangar Kafe is open Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and later until 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. So, if you’re ever traveling through southwest Missouri, whether by air or land, stop by the Kingsley farm. Sit a spell. Eat the local fare. Watch the airplanes fly.
To see inside the Hangar Kafe, catch the video on Missouri Ruralist’s Facebook page.