That Food Guy
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
  Compass Rose Café - Fantasy of Flight

What could be better than combining two of my favorite things? Good food and flying machines! In rural Florida, just off Interstate 4, near Polk City, Kermit Weeks’ Fantasy of Flight offers both in unmatched abundance. While on other errands in the area one afternoon, we decided to stop by and see if there had been any changes since our last visit. Fantasy of Flight is one of the preeminent collections of aircraft spanning the era of human flight.

The look is a 1940's art-deco airline terminal, from design of the building to the furnishings. It is a step back in time to when air travel was becoming the predominate way to cross the country. Gleaming stainless steel accents the Compass Rose Café. It looks as new as it did during our fist visit perhaps ten years ago. On previous visits the attraction was the airplane collection and we did not avail ourselves of the opportunity to try the food in the café. That was a mistake, one we wont make again.

The café is open limited hours, 11:00 am until 3:00 pm as a result, the menu features luncheon fare. There are salads, chef, chicken, tuna and garden, from $3.75 to $6.95. There are Buffalo-style and fried chicken strip luncheon plates, $6.96 to $7.25. There is a wide variety of sandwiches, from grilled cheese and hot dogs, BLTs, tuna salad, grilled and fried chicken and burgers. Chicken sandwiches and burgers at $5.95 to $6.95, come with lettuce, onion and tomato and your choice of French fries or cole slaw.

The three of us had different things in mind for lunch so we ended up with a good sampling of the café’s offerings. The wife ordered a fried chicken sandwich and fries. Father-in-law ordered a tuna salad sandwich. I ordered the Fantasy burger, featuring mushrooms, bacon and my choice of Swiss cheese. All of the sandwiches came with generous portions of nice crispy French fries. We all opted for sodas. They are served in large glasses and not loaded down with ice. The waitress came round to see if we wanted refills. All of the sandwiches were well prepared, of good proportion and presented well. They were flavorful and would probably be ordered again on our next trip to Fantasy of Flight.

Aside form the wonderful tour of the aircraft and aviation displays, the café experience was enjoyable, one that we will partake of again. The café operates for limited hours, during the busiest tour time, and is quite busy. Even so, the wait was actually quite short before we were seated at a spacious booth. When full, the café is quite noisy even with the high ceiling. As the patrons thin out, the noise level drops rapidly. The staff was courteous, gracious and prompt, their attention contributed greatly to our appreciation of our visit. If you ever in the area, drop in and visit Fantasy of Flight. Enjoy a step back in time as you lunch in the Compass Rose Café and enjoy a tour of the hangars and marvel at the aircraft that gave us the golden age of flight.

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