Airport Themed Restaurant located in the Historic Registered Passenger Terminal Building (OFK)

about barnstormers history

About our Airport Themed Restaurant

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The unique airport themed restaurant’s atmosphere is in a historically registered airport terminal building and has many delights to experience. You’ll want to come back & visit many times after eating in the comfortable seating area which was the former passenger terminal waiting area. You’ll also enjoy drinking your favorite beverage served from the new Runway Bar location! To get a fantastic view of the airdome, the artwork and signage, visit the Mile High Club area.

There is much to see and tell stories to your children and grandchildren about your life experiences associated with flying and driving. Experience an old style booth setting while you take in your favorite sports team on the many TVs. The bathrooms have been upgraded to include children changing tables. The menu includes gluten free and vegetarian offerings as well as kids meals.

The Origins of Barnstormers

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Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the United States in the 1920’s, in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, either individually or in groups – called a flying circus. Barnstorming was the first major form of civil aviation in the history of flight.

The term barnstormer was also applied to pilots who flew throughout the country selling airplane rides, usually operating from a farmer’s field for a day or two before moving on. “Barnstorming season” ran from early spring until after the harvest and county fairs in the fall.

barnstorming
airport theme restaurant with an old plane and hot rod painted artwork

Barnstormers Today

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Due to its location in the old terminal building of the Norfolk Airport, Barnstormers derived its name from these barnstorming activities which used to take place here. The atmosphere at Barnstormers is filled with images and ideas of flight. The new bar area is centered around an airplane theme while the dining area still reflects the large bi-plane wings with a backdrop of pictures from the early days of the Norfolk Regional Airport/Karl Stefan Memorial Field (OFK). You’ll sit in an area with planes and clouds overhead. The second dining area is centered around bikes and hot rods. This area contains many antique keepsakes that complete the atmosphere. Most of the art work was done by Karl Reeder is still on walls of the facility. The outdoor dining patio is still available when weather permits.

Operations

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The original restaurant was opened with the support from 100 local investors that saved and funded the transformation from a terminal to a restaurant in 2011 but closed in 2016. Under a new set of shareholders, board of directors and managers the restaurant reopened in 2017. The Norfolk Airport Authority has been instrumental in making this 2nd chance a reality (NCN report). This is a interesting economic developmental story of local investors investing in a local enterprise.

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