If you’re anything like me, heading out to the airport specifically for a meal is kind of like going to prison for the weight room. Yeah, it’s there, but you could probably find a better one elsewhere with fewer, erm, headaches. Imagine my surprise, then, when a recent trip out to the Runway Grill at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport proved to be an enjoyable and affordable experience.
Of course, the main selling point here is the restaurant’s proximity to the tarmac and its commanding view of the Front Range and Denver skyline. And it is commanding. Diners can sit either outside on the wrap-around deck or inside along the huge bank of windows and wile away the hours watching planes of all shapes and sizes cavort under the gaze of the awe-inspiring peaks beyond.
A casual atmosphere reigns, with friendly servers taking care of families, pilots and travelers. (I know, friendly servers at the airport? I don’t get it either.)
I stopped in during a busy Saturday lunch as the Buffs and Rams were playing the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown. An unassuming space, the Runway Grill dining room is oriented toward the windows with a small bar near the entrance, oldies on the squawkbox and a life-size, cardboard John Wayne in the corner. The décor is nothing special, aside from the odd bit of charming airplane kitsch and the flight maps under glass at each table.
But the room is clean and well looked after and seems like the kind of place my grandfather, a pilot for a hundred years or so, would appreciate.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Runway’s menu features many classic family-oriented dishes, which is to say that there is something for everyone and every budget. Burgers and steak sandwiches give way to salads, pastas and Mexican favorites, many of which carry aviation-themed nicknames (e.g. the C-130 Hercules Chili Relleno Plate).
I opted for a cup of soup (this day’s selection, which my server did not immediately know, was white bean and ham with rosemary, which was hearty and tasty at $0.99 as an add-on), followed by the Atlas 5 Lean Buffalo Burger ($6.95, plus $0.99 each for my bacon and cheddar cheese). The sign at the front desk, after all, says that the burger was voted “Best in the West” by The Yellow Scene readers, along with Runway’s view, sandwich and happy hour.
My experience wouldn’t necessarily support that claim, but it also would not purport to refute it. It was a tasty burger, well prepared and ample with a sizable portion of curly fries, and I was certainly pleased with it overall.
The happy hour, however, does sound promising. Free bar appetizers and $1.75 domestic beers are available from 4-7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday nights, and with the kind of view and laid-back atmosphere the Grill offers, that could be a really
good time. Just don’t go jumping in your Cessna afterward.
Oftentimes a restaurant that boasts a spectacular view will overcharge its patrons and forget about food quality. Nothing about the vittles at Runway Grill is as awe-inspiring as its backdrop, but it does make for a comfortable and tasty meal at economy class prices.
11705 Airport Way, Broomfield
Bottom Line: Homey and affordable fare with a killer location.