WACO Kitchen takes off to prove ‘airport food does not have to be bad’

WACO rhymes with taco.

For years, that’s how people at WACO Aircraft Corp. have explained the correct pronunciation of the name.

So when WACO Kitchen opened on the second floor of the classic bi-plane manufacturer at 15955 S. Airport Road at the Battle Creek Executive Airport, it did so with the the WACO Taco as its signature dish.

“What else would you call it?,” said Randall Nash, head chef at WACO Kitchen.

WACO Kitchen opens for carryout Monday. It’s the first restaurant at the airport since 1988 and is part of a $20 million expansion project at WACO Aircraft Corp.

WACO Kitchen is pictured at Battle Creek Executive Airport on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 in Battle Creek, Mich. The restaurant opens for carry-out orders on Monday, Jan. 4 and will open their dining room when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Sven Lepschy, chief executive officer for WACO, said the blend of locally sourced American and European style cuisine and the panoramic views of WACO aircraft production and the runway at Kellogg Field make the eatery unlike any other.

“WACO Kitchen is something totally different… We want to be different in food selection, food choice, in quality, and hopefully, we can open soon so many many people can get their first impression and say, ‘Wow, this is something I have never experienced before,'” Lepschy said by phone from Florida. “It’s very important we get the point across that airport food does not have to be bad. In fact, it is really really good in Battle Creek.”

Locally-sourced food

A gourmet pretzel with an obazda cheese spread and German sweet mustard is on the menu at WACO Kitchen on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 in Battle Creek, Mich. The restaurant opens for carry-out orders on Monday, Jan. 4 and will open their dining room when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Under the current orders by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, WACO Kitchen is offering takeout at this time, and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Nash said the restaurant will have a seasonal menu prepared from an open kitchen, with vegetables sourced from Avalon Farms in Climax and beef and dairy from Moo-ville Creamery in Vermontville. Vegan and gluten free dishes are also offered.