Why not combine airplane watching and fun dining? Kids love watching airplanes fly. With the world’s busiest airport, the seventh busiest general aviation airport (DeKalb-Peachtree), and several other general aviation airports in the metro area, there’s ample opportunity to marvel at the miracle of flight. Here are two restaurants where you can do just that.

Downwind Restaurant

2000 Airport Rd., Suite 200, Chamblee
770-452-0973; downwindrestaurant.com
Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. noon-10 p.m.; closed Sun.
(“Date Night” after 7 p.m. Fridays with live music, kids 12 and younger not allowed)

An Atlanta institution for 25 years, the Downwind overlooks the intersection of runways at DeKalb Airport-Peachtree. The open deck and glass-enclosed dining room afford prime views of the constant action created by an eclectic mix of helicopters, business jets, small personal planes and even the occasional blimp. In the cozy lounge area model airplanes hang from the ceiling and airplane pictures cover the wall. Don’t miss the adjacent airport playground.

What’s on the menu: You’ll always find Greek dishes here, and many claim the half-pound Classic Downwind Burger is the best in town. Other menu choices range from casual American fare like chicken wings and sandwiches to more upscale entrees such as wild salmon and blackened shrimp. Entrée prices range from $7-$14 (specials may be more). Kids’ menu choices include a hot dog, chicken fingers or grilled cheese for $5.50-$6 (tax and a drink included).

Why parents will like it: Very reasonable prices in a fun and festive atmosphere.  The Greek and upscale menu items even add a little touch of romance. There’s plenty of room for little ones to get a good view of the airplanes or burn off energy in the playground.

Why kids will like it: Lots of different kinds of aircraft. The playground is great fun, too.
Note: The restaurant is on the second floor with no elevator and there are steps to navigate within the restaurant (there is a wheelchair lift to the second floor). High chairs are available. Being in an old airport building, bathrooms are “down the hall and around the corner.”

– Dan Ward

Concorde Grill

One Hartsfield Centre Pkwy., Atlanta
404-209-9999; marriott.com
Daily 6 a.m.-midnight

Surely there must be a way to dine and watch the airplanes at the worlds’ busiest airport without going through security? There is at the Concorde Grill inside the Renaissance Hotel at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Grab a seat along the window bar and to get a full view of the airport action, where at peak times a plane takes off or lands every 24 seconds. You might even see a 747 or an A380 – the world’s largest airliner.

What’s on the menu: Breakfast features Southern style dishes ranging from $8-$14 or an expansive buffet for $18. Lunch offers more upscale Southern inspired starters like soup, crab cakes and fried green tomatoes ($7-$12), burgers, salads and sandwiches ($8-$16), and entrees like smoked pork tenderloin ($17-$25). Dinner is similar to lunch and adds steak and fish filets to the menu (up to $30). A kids’ menu is available with choices including chicken fingers, burger sliders and pizza ($5-$7).
Why parents will like it: Fine airport dining without having to go through security! A lot of menu choices at different price points can make an upscale meal pretty reasonable. The bar area is both intimate and elegant.

Why kids will like it: Airplanes, airplanes and more airplanes! A birds-eye view of the world’s busiest airport provide unusual entertainment. The kids’ menu can satisfy even picky eaters.
Note: Have your parking ticket validated for three free hours. High chairs are available. The restaurant is easily accessible via the hotel elevators.

– Caroline Ward

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