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Hangar B Eatery @ Chatham Municipal Airport
On a typical summer day, Hangar B Eatery—the restaurant at the Chatham Municipal Airport—is filled with customers by about 7:30 a.m., and there’s a wait for the remainder of the day. According to Brian Erskine, who co-owns the restaurant with Tracy Shields, patrons with children generally don’t mind the wait because, with planes landing and taking off on the tarmac just outside, there’s always something to keep the kids entertained.
Located one floor above the airport’s reception office, Hangar B features a dining room and an outdoor deck, both of which afford views of the runway. During a visit earlier this year, it was easy to notice the restaurant’s casual feel and welcoming ambiance: a couple takes a selfie, a family of four orders breakfast, and a group of older longtime friends shares a meal by the window. “Just you today?” a server asks another regular walking in the door.
The “specials” board boasts dishes such as chocolate croissant French toast, while the regular menu offers several traditional options including a “pilot’s breakfast”—two eggs, home fries, sourdough toast, and sausage or bacon. The staff makes potato buttermilk doughnuts and other pastries, too. They even mix and bake their own organic granola and jar their own jam.
Erskine handles the menu and the food preparation; Shields coordinates the ambiance and serves as head waitress. She also created the restaurant’s colorful logo. When they opened Hangar B in 2010, the co-owners wanted to create a restaurant with a refined yet informal atmosphere that would provide healthy options using locally grown products. After moving to Cape Cod from the West Coast in 2007, they began scouting locations. “I’ve been a chef for 20 years,” Erskine says, “and when the space became available, we wanted to try out this idea.”
The business partners faced some challenges in those early years. “There was resistance at first to the idea of an airport restaurant that was upscale and used organic and local products,” Erskine says. “A lot of people told us, ‘You’ll never make it.’” Since then, the restaurant has grown into a popular local meeting place—for diners who drive, walk, or land. One day last summer, the staff cooked its way through 1,000 eggs.
“We have a healthy following,” Erskine says. “People are becoming more conscious about what they’re eating.” Erskine adds that everything in the restaurant is made from scratch, and several gluten-free options are available. Hangar B has received numerous accolades as well, and has been awarded the title of “Best Brunch Cape Cod” in Boston magazine in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The name of the restaurant—Hangar B—celebrates the co-owners’ son, Booker, who is 9. Over the years, the employees and clientele have become like an extended family. “For a long time, it was just me and one other guy in the kitchen,” Erskine says. “Now we’ve expanded a bit, and a lot of the staff has remained the same over the years. It’s a family.”
The owners have big plans for the future, which include continued involvement in community service efforts—such as a recent contribution to Calmer Choice, a nonprofit that teaches mindfulness to students in Barnstable County—and perhaps even a Hangar B cookbook. “It’s become sort of amazing,” Erskine says. “I didn’t expect in my wildest imagination that the restaurant would be this successful.”
The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week from April vacation to July 4; daily from July 4 to Labor Day; and Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the off-season.
Hangar B Eatery
240 George Ryder Road, Chatham
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