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The Beach Gourmet: The Spitfire Grill:


Such was the cry heard in the mess rooms of British Royal Air Force airfields during the summer of 1940. Today, the same command might be heard at Santa Monica Airport. This time however, the reference would probably be to the style in which eggs are to be prepared at a unique and intriguing eatery there called The Spitfire Grill.

Located on the south side of the airport, The Spitfire Grill is appropriately themed after that famous WWII Battle of Britain icon, the Supermarine Spitfire, and as such, an aviation thread runs throughout the whole place.

This location has quite a history to it. Originally opened in 1954 as the Lindaire Coffee Shop, the raison d’etre of the café was to address the complaints of local pilots that there was “no place to dine.” The Lindaire soon became a favorite stop for Douglas Aircraft factory employees and those who worked in related industries at what was then known as Clover Field.

After going through name changes (The Kitty Hawk), remodels and new owners, The Spitfire Grill acquired its current nomenclature in 1991.

I recently visited this fascinating bistro for a Sunday Brunch and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Santa Monica is blessed with a swathe of brunch options, and in order to “keep up with the pack” a café has to stay on its toes. The Spitfire benefits from a location that is, at least for me, perfect. Located within view of the runway and a soon-to-be completed park boasting a baseball diamond, with ample parking available right behind the restaurant and a refreshing breeze, The Spitfire has some inimitable “visual aids.”

The interior is split into two separate dining areas, or wings (ouch!), one being larger than the other. My friend and I chose to sit in the smaller and somewhat cozier of the two in a comfortable booth. The theme here is impossible to ignore, and the glass table coverings protect a wonderful display of Spitfire memorabilia, in the form of period cartoons and magazine snippets.

The menu is as extensive as one expects from a restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, drunch and dinner. There is a cute aviation theme running through the menu also, with dishes like “First Class” (5 oz. New York steak and eggs, $10.25), “The Sea Plane” (grilled filet of Ahi tuna on focaccia with wasabi mayo served with Spitfire’s cole slaw and house special chips, $10.95) and “The Lear Jet” (classic roast beef French dip on sourdough baguette, $8.50).

All rather tempting, but brunch was the order of the day so I ordered “The Navigator” (spinach, mushroom and a blend of cheddar and jack cheese omelet, topped with a dollop of sour cream and served with home fries and toast, $7.95) while my friend ordered “The Grumman” (sausage, bacon, mushroom, tomato and cheese omelet served with home fries and toast, $7.95).

The first thing that caught my attention was the coffee, piping hot, oh so tasty and served in real, robust mugs. It became a barometer of what was to follow.

In no time at all our brunches arrived, splendidly presented, and grease-free, with more than ample portions. The omelets were perfect half-moon shaped and the home fries cubist and crunchy. The ingredients were fresh, the whole affair was delicious and our table was well attended to by our cheerful server, Lilly.

The Spitfire Grill is a very cool place with a cheerful ambience, and word has it that they will be expanding and landing squadrons of Spitfire Grills at local airports all over the state. What a good idea. I intend “flying” back to the Santa Monica location soon, and sampling a dinner at The Spitfire Grill, so without further ado, tally-ho!

The Spitfire Grill, 3300 Airport Avenue, 310.397.3455

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