OSU Airport restaurant gets off ground again
Barnstormers Grill is back in business.
Jodi Perez has reopened the somewhat hidden restaurant -- and tweaked the name a little -- located in Hangar 1 at the Ohio State University Airport, 2160 W. Case Road.
Perez likened it to an old-school diner -- friendly faces, big portions and nothing fancy.
She's doing a lot of things from scratch, such as the buttermilk pancakes, daily specials and biscuits with sausage gravy.
"Honestly, you leave out of here full," she said.
The menu is rich with classic breakfast fare -- omelets, French toast, hash browns and such -- which is served all day.
Lunch, too, is unfussy, with salads, wraps, hand-patted and house-seasoned burgers, and sandwiches, including fried bologna. Nothing on the menu tops $7.50.
When Perez and her husband, Hector, looked at the space, which had been vacant for about two years, it was in pretty rough shape and had a fairly drab interior, she said.
So, they gave it a fresh coat of paint and added a few minor appointments.
"We brightened it up," she said.
That was in December. Since then, they've been adding customers the old-fashioned way -- consistent fare, reasonable prices and efficient service.
Perez, who has a background in the hospitality business, said the 30-seat restaurant was just the right size and provided her an opportunity to show off her cooking skills.
"It's something that I always liked doing," she said. "It was my dream to open a restaurant."
The restaurant was long known simply as the Barnstormer. In the early 1970s, it was called the 707 Room following the accidental landing of TWA's 707 at the airport July 4, 1967, said Doug Hammon, director of the OSU Airport.
Originally, it was the mess hall for the Navy pilots who trained at the facility.
In the distant past it was run by the university food service, and then again in the early 2000s, before it was contracted to individuals and companies, including Subway for a short stint, Hammon said.
Perez said she was somewhat concerned about the location, which has little visibility from West Case Road. And there seems to be an impression that the eatery, which has been under different ownership over the years, is open only to pilots and staff at the airport.
But the good news is there are few breakfast-and-lunch places on nearby Bethel and Sawmill roads, she said.
"We just thought the atmosphere in the airport over here was kind of unique," she said.
She said because of space constraints, there's no possibility of dinner hours.
Barnstormers Grill is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week and closed Sunday.
Jodi and Hector Perez purchased Barnstormers Grill and reopened the Ohio State University Airport restaurant in December.