Feel like some fresh homemade food with a side order of aviation? Reno’s on the Runway opened in late September next to the McAllister Museum of Aviation on South 16th Avenue. The restaurant is right next to the runway, so you can watch planes take off and land while you eat. It’s in a small white building that was once the home of Yakima’s original airport terminal, built by Northwest Airlines in 1938. There are about a dozen tables inside the bright, cheerful room, with half a dozen more outside on the deck.
The owners are Staci Sainsbury of Staci’s Catering and her husband Reno. (His name is Donnie Foster but everyone has called him Reno for as long as he can remember.) The couple’s goal is to serve the freshest food available, with everything made from scratch, down to the croutons and dressings on the salad bar, which has a big selection of crisp, colorful veggies and homemade salads. The day I went there was an Asian pasta salad, macaroni salad and a cranberry bacon cashew salad, all fresh-made and delicious.
The menu reflects the aviation theme with names like the Runway Dip, Foxtrot Flatbread and Bravo BLT. Our waitress Nancy was friendly and efficient, and Staci herself stopped by a couple times to clear dishes and answer questions. Menu items range from giant hot sandwiches to salads and appetizers. I asked a guy at a nearby table what he was having because it looked so good. It was a Reno Sandwich, with thin-sliced roasted pork loin, Muenster cheese and Reno sauce on a fresh baguette, roasted until the top was crispy and the cheese melted down the sides.
I settled on the Peanut Chicken Salad with spinach, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, peanuts and roasted sesame chicken with a sweet chili vinaigrette. It came in a big metal bowl, which I thought was odd at first, but as I cut the chicken and cucumber into bite-sized pieces, I realized what a good idea this was, as nary a spinach leaf or peanut flew out of the bowl as I was vigorously tossing things around. The sweet chili vinaigrette had a little kick to it and a touch of cilantro was the perfect compliment to the other flavors. It was fabulous.
My friend had the Tower Wrap, with grilled chicken, feta cheese, chopped vegetables and vinaigrette. It was enormous and she took most of it home, because it came with a trip to the salad bar and you know how those are — before you know it your plate is piled about four inches high when you really intended to get just a tiny plateful.
Both the wrap and my entrée salad were big enough to split, and all of the sandwiches come with a single trip to the salad bar and a bag of chips.
So go ahead — unlock your tray table and relax your seat from the upright position. After a delicious lunch at Reno’s on the Runway, surely you’ll be cruising smoothly at 30,000 feet for the rest of the day.