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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSit-down dining at the Vintage Grill -  it’s not your typical fly-in experience
By Dana Heimos, EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Dennis Biela
Not only is the menu of the Vintage Grill a departure from typical air-show food, but the service is beyond the usual stand-in-line, eat-on-the-fly experience.

August 1, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - Scanning the menu at the Vintage Grill just south of the VAA Red Barn, it’s clear that the latest culinary offering at AirVenture Oshkosh has taken a different approach to flightline dining.

You pick up on the differences just looking at the menu: grilled New York strip steak, coconut shrimp, calamari rings, marinated chicken, and grilled vegetable kabobs are a few options available to diners hungry for relief from the standard hamburger, fries, and brats.

We were eager to take a seat in the fenced-in section under the shade of an umbrella, but outdoor seating was full, a likely result of the spectacular air show taking place above.

Our eventual spot at a table under the main tent offered a comparable experience with great views of aerobatic acts when airplanes flew near to terra firma.

After ordering non-alcoholic drinks from an amiable waiter—beer and wine are served after the air show—we ordered the calamari appetizer ($11). Lightly breaded and served with bistro sauce, the fried squid was done to perfection and still left us with appetites for the main entrée.

Even with the relatively limited menu, we immediately found ourselves in a dietary dilemma.

“Vintage” salads with the option of chicken or salmon ($14) tempted my healthy side, while the full rack of barbecue ribs ($24) and Iowa bone-in chop ($19) reminded me why humans remain at the top of the food chain. The waiter was happy to help me choose, and in no more than 10 minutes I was staring at a juicy rack of ribs coupled with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.

My guest chose the grilled New York strip steak ($23) crowned with sautéed bourbon mushrooms and a side of truffled macaroni and cheese.

Although prepared in a portable food stand, the fare at the Vintage Grill would have any restaurant chef tipping his or her hat.

The ribs fell apart as all good ribs should, and the garlic mashed potatoes rivaled my mother’s—not that we’d tell her.

Although a side of mac and cheese seemed a bit odd sitting next to my guest’s steak, her undivided attention to her food left me believing she was enjoying what she ordered.

And then it was wine time—the air show was over. So we concluded our meals with a glass of pinot noir ($7) while listening to the smooth sounds of live jazz.

If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience complete with professional wait staff, terrific ambience, or the only place that offers an evening beer or glass of wine, the new Vintage Grill may be for you.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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