For three decades, the Caldwell Airport Cafe has been a destination for local pilots and visitors from all over to grab breakfast or lunch. But, it may have to close its doors permanently, as the City of Caldwell is looking at the possibility of demolishing the building to put two more hangars in at the Caldwell Airport.
The owner and customers are not ready to see it go so they started apetitionto save the cafe. It’s now gathered more than 1,000 signatures.
“Our airport management came to me and told me that they want to tear our building down” Owner and Operator Rebecca Aldrich said. “They don’t understand how big our business really is.”
Aldrich said she was told by the city and airport management that she could get a food truck and park it on-site, but she says the atmosphere of the Airport Cafe is what makes it special.
City considering redevelopment
While no official action has been taken from the city, the issue has been presented to the city council. Airport Director Rob Oates said in his statement that given its age and ongoing expense of maintaining the building, the city is considering possible redevelopment options.
“To me, it’s thousands upon thousands that they are talking about rather than keeping this and maybe fixing it up because they haven’t done anything to this building in the 10 years I have operated out of this building,” Aldrich said. “The city, I don’t think they understand how many customers we truly have and how much clientele we have”
That clientele includes 94-year old James. B Hayden Junior. The cafe staff calls him Jim, and he comes in almost every day, sometimes twice a day to enjoy a meal.
He says his favorite thing about the cafe is two eggs and two sausages and toast.
“I hope that they do see our signatures and they take that into consideration that it’s not just a place to go have breakfast or lunch. It’s an atmosphere of people whose conversations strike among the entire room and not just at your table,” Aldrich said.