A "Hundred Dollar Hamburger" is jargon I learned last year from John. In the aviation community, this term refers to a short flight to nearby airfield to grab a quick meal, then a return trip home. My first "Hundred Dollar Hamburger" was a Sunday afternoon spent at The Only Home of Throwed Rolls, Lambert's Cafe, located in Sikeston, Missouri. As with other restaurants on the "Hundred Dollar Hamburger" list, the meal doesn't even remotely approach the cost of the fuel used to get there. It's all in the fun.
Last week, the winter sky was crisp and perfect for a trip to another favorite destination eatery for pilots. Just a quick 45-minute flight from Nashville in John's Robinson R44 helicopter delivered us to a tiny runway surrounded by Tennessee's rolling hills. A stroll across a country road and we arrived at a quaint mom and pop hideaway, Southernaire Restaurant & Motel. John and I nestled ourselves in the quiet back room and were greeted by long-time waitress, Sandy. Her favorite item on the menu? Tater-tots. We obliged. I also crunched into freshly-caught fried catfish from neighboring Kentucky Lake, and John enjoyed a toasted ham & cheese sandwich. Delicious. Our lunch was perfect for warming the body and soul on a cold winter day.
The beauty of this particular "Hundred Dollar Hamburger" is the location. There we were on a quiet hillside in Stewart, Tennessee in a restaurant & motel obviously cared for with pride and love. Every corner of Southernaire has a framed family photo, a hand-written letter of gratitude, or a decorative detail unique to the individuals who call this place home. Its good, honest food was comfort for us miles away from home, a welcomed stop for the hungry stomach of passing aviators.