Landing For Lunch
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
The Cafe at Stennis International Airport
operated by Million Air
7250 Stennis Airport Rd, Kiln, MS 39556
If your idea of dinner and a show means going out to a restaurant and a movie, you may want to switch things up and take a lunch date out to the Stennis Airport, where you’ll have a bird's eye view of the comings and goings of all sorts of aircraft while you eat.
Stennis airport is located right off of Highway 603, as you’re heading north from the coast. While it carries the same name as the enormous government and corporate “city” that thrives on the western edge of Hancock County, it’s located much closer to Bay-Waveland - just off interstate 10, north of MS exit 13.
But, yes, you are still in Kiln, Mississippi. And the name Stennis International Airport is not a delusion of grandeur. Although there’s no commercial international flights traveling to and fro – yet – corporate, cargo, and military aircraft from all over the world frequent the airport. Built to handle emergency landings for the Space Shuttle, airport director Bill Cotter says that the runway is one of the longest in the Southeast, stretching for over a mile and a half. And it’s strong enough to handle super-sized aircraft like the Antonov, the largest cargo plane in the world.
Downstairs in the new air terminal, there are two chic lounges, a large corporate meeting room, a small, but posh, theatre and even small private rooms where travelers can nap in overstuffed recliners.
Upstairs the entire side of the building facing the runway is glass. In fact, it’s designed with the glass projecting outward at an angle, so observers watching the runway can lean forward in their excitement and not a nose will be broken.
While more offices and meeting spaces flank the central open staircase, the lively part of the building is the corner café.
The café is open from 8am to 3. The breakfast menu is served to 10:30am. The lunch menu kicks in from 10:30am - 3pm. It’s a limited menu (you can download it at the end of this article), but the food is so good, pilots with assignments allowing them to pick their destination are flying into the Stennis Airport at lunch time. They’re enjoying the fried or grilled shrimp (in a plate or as a po-boy), catfish, salads and gumbo. Yep. Authentic, made from scratch gumbo. There’s also homemade mac and cheese and crispy sweet potato fries as side options to regular fries.
But don’t expect to be looking at your food very much while you’re eating. The astonishing variety of jets and planes zipping in and out before you is guaranteed to arrest your attention, making the lunch hour fly in more ways than one.
Download the Jet Away Cafe menu!