WILLIAMSTOWN - A warm, homecooked meal is now waiting for everyone at Wings at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport with the opening of the new restaurant.
Following months of being empty, the restaurant, which looks out on the airport's runway, opened Feb. 3 and immediately had customers, said co-owner Francis Winemiller.
"We had a pretty busy Monday, even with the snow and by Wednesday it was very busy," said Winemiller.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Mary Browning, left, and Francis Winemiller are the new owners of Wings at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, the restaurant at the airport. The restaurant opened Feb. 3.
Winemiller and partner Mary Browning, both of whom worked together at the local Omelet Shop, decided to open their own eatery in the airport after one of the facility's maintenance employees urged them to try their own business.
"Roger (Haynes) was eating at the other restaurant and told us we should come up to the airport," Winemiller added.
"I had owned two restaurants down South - one each in North and South Carolina - and had thought about opening my own here," said Browning. "We are really happy to be at the airport."
At A Glance
* Wings at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
* Owners Mary Browning and Francis Winemiller each have more than a decade of experience in the restaurant business and look forward to serving locals and travelers.
* Airport manager Jeff McDougle said he is pleased with the public's response to the new restaurant and expects to see a lot of people enjoy meals there.
Following a couple of months of discussions with airport manager Jeff McDougle and the family of a former tenant about equipment in the restaurant, Browning and Winemiller opened Wings in the hopes of serving not only travelers but also local members of the community.
"We serve homecooked comfort food," Winemiller said. "We want people to come here and enjoy the food and company."
Along with a menu and specials made up of homecooked meals that include items such as baked steak and turkey and stuffing, Browning and Winemiller also brought in Liz Steele to make desserts.
"People who ate up here when it was owned by Mary and Helen had the restaurant will be happy to know Liz is back and making pies and cakes," Winemiller said. "Her pies are really the best and we plan to have a lot to choose from."
Airport manager Jeff McDougle said he is pleased to see people already having meals in the restaurant after it had been closed for several months.
"It is nice to see people in there and enjoying a meal again," McDougle said. "Since there have been a nice number of people who came in during the week, I can only imagine how Sunday will be."
Browning, Winemiller and McDougle believe Sundays will be busy.
"When Mary's was open people from the community had their after church meal here every week," said McDougle.
Browning said the restaurant received phone calls on Monday asking about hours and wanting to make arrangements for groups on Sunday.
"We've already had several people call to set aside tables for 20 or more people after church services," Browning said. "It's exciting to see people are happy to have us open."
Browning and Winemiller have a two-year lease with the airport and responsibility to keep the restaurant and the two attached bar area and snack areas clean.
Before the opening of Wings, the airport spruced up the space with a fresh coat of paint and new carpet.
"These ladies seem to know what they are doing and the customers have already started to enjoy what they offer, so I hope this is as good a fit as it appears to be," McDougle said.
The restaurant facility had been empty since Oct. 16 last year when the previous tenant closed because of a lack of business.
Before that, Mary's Plane View Restaurant, owned and operated by longtime restaurateur Mary James, had been in the terminal location for more than 20 years.
James retired in September 2012 when her lease ended and Tracy Pettit started her own restaurant there at the time.
"We hope we are here as long, or longer, than Mary's," Winemiller said. "We expect Wings to be open for a very long time."