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Future of Aviators Restaurant at Sacramento Executive Airport up in the air

Iconic restaurant at Sacramento airport has uncertain future
Iconic restaurant at Sacramento airport has uncertain future 02:37

SACRAMENTO — After almost a quarter of a century, the future of the iconic Aviators Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport is up in the air.

The owner, who goes by Chick, has been running Aviators at the south Sacramento airport since 1999.

Hal Baker has been eating there with his cycling buddies for decades.

"This is kind of an institution," Baker said.

A runway view combined with more than 5,000 square feet of collectibles tells the story of Sacramento aviation and a time gone by, but airport authorities say it's time for a new restaurant to take flight when the lease is up at the end of January.

"That's how they approach me. They want to say, 'We want to see some change,' " Chick said.

The Sacramento County Department of Airports, which oversees the restaurant, will put the lease out for solicitation. Sources say they are looking for something a little more upscale that offers both lunch and dinner. Currently, Aviators closes at 2:30 p.m.

Chick says he's weathered a lot of turbulence, so to speak, including a parking lot renovation that stalled business for nearly a year. He's not sure he will put in a bid.

He says, after decades in the restaurant business, this leaves a bad taste in his mouth.  

"You feel a little bit down," Chick said. "Yeah, after that many years, going through the COVID and going through everything, no loyalty."

The Sacramento County Department of Airports runs four facilities: Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento Executive Airport, Mather Airport, and Franklin Field Airport.   

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