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SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
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Amarillo, TX

Story and photos by Jay Wischkaemper

Airport restaurants are rare in West Texas. That probably has something to do with the fact that the one airplane that lands at the typical small town airport every three days would hardly be sufficient to support one, along with the fact that most airports in these parts are in the middle of nowhere. If you’re looking for food and happen to find a package of stale cheese crackers to go along with your Coke, you consider yourself lucky. There are some notable exceptions, however, one being the English Field House at Amarillo International.

I recall seeing this restaurant for a number of years, but had never eaten there until recently. It is located a few steps away from the FBO, TAC Air. You couldn’t find a handier location for a fly-in meal. The name of the restaurant reflects the heritage of the airport. Amarillo International’s history began in 1929, when Harold English opened English Field on the site. In 1952, the airport’s name was changed from English Field to Amarillo Air Terminal, then to Amarillo International Airport in 1976.

The menu is eclectic, with sandwiches predominating. However, they are sandwiches with a twist. For instance, have you ever heard of a Cobb sandwich? Avocado, roasted turkey, blue cheese and bacon on rye. There’s a turkey and proscuitto, consisting of turkey and prosciutto ham served over ricotta cheese and grilled sourdough. Obviously, a chef with an imagination works at the English Field House. There are also more typical sandwich offerings that you would expect, like the club, grilled chicken, Monte Cristo, and French dip. Burgers also adorn the menu, with pretty well anything you want on your burger available, including avocado. They seem to have a particular affection for avocado at this place, so if you’re an avocado fan, you’re in luck. You can also get it on the turkey and chicken sandwich, as well as the above mentioned Cobb.

The breakfast menu features the expected eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and toast, along with a number of omelets. Yes, there’s even one with avocado. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, there’s the breakfast burrito, or if you’re needing something more exotic, try Eggs Benedict, or Eggs a la Amarillo (two poached eggs on an English muffin with avocado and hollandaise sauce).

There is also a daily lunch special. The day I was there, it was enchiladas with beans and rice, and that’s what I had. The way I see it, you can never go wrong with the daily special. The food was excellent, and the portions are generous. You won’t go away hungry. Judging from the fact that I was unable to find a table and had to sit at the bar, a lot of people seem to enjoy the food. The place is small, with only 8 tables, so it isn’t hard to pack it, and it usually is. A board as you enter the restaurant is filled with military patches collected from all the Air Force pilots who have visited the place.

Prices? Well, this isn’t McDonalds, but you get what you pay for. Most of the sandwiches run a little over $6.00, a little less than what you would expect to pay at one of the chain restaurants. Of course, the chain doesn’t have a view of the GA ramp 50 feet away, or of runway 4-22. There is a view of the runway and the ramp from any table. Amarillo is a fairly busy place, and there will regularly be a C-17 or KC 135 in the pattern, with an occasional C-5 thrown in. In addition, you might get lucky, like the day I was there, and see a Tiltrotor strutting its stuff. The plant where they are built is on the way to the restaurant, and as I found out, test flights do happen.

Since TAC Air is the only FBO on the field, it isn’t hard to find, and with Amarillo International being a former B-52 base, the 13,502 x 300-foot runway is hard to miss. With a runway that long, if you make a bad landing, at least you’re so far away that nobody will notice.

So, the next time you get a craving for great food with a great view, come to Amarillo’s English Field House. Avocado omelet? Now that could be interesting.

The English Field House restaurant is open seven days a week, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Monday through Friday, and 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Call 806-335-9103 for more information.
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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it
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