Manager has high hopes for new restaurant off Airport Road
September 11, 2012
A Carson Valley restaurateur is hoping an historically difficult dining location off Airport Road will take flight under her management.“This is a tough location,” said Lori Baxter, general manager of Flight Restaurant & Bar. “That’s why we chose ‘Flight.’ It has that connection with the airport, so people remember where we are.”The restaurant, with an expansive dining room, bar, and 45-person banquet hall, sits just off Airport Road in Minden on the north side of the Meridian Business Park. It’s the former location of Doppelgangers Brew Pub and Grill, which closed a little more than a year ago, citing the location and signage challenges as contributing factors. Backroads Bar and Grill, which preceded Doppelgangers in 2009, also closed its doors.Baxter, however, is confident that the new restaurant’s brand, product and service will soar where others have failed to gain altitude. She acknowledged that other tenants have made mistakes in the past, mistakes she can learn from.“Consistency is a huge word here, both in service and food,” she said, pointing out the restaurant officially opened in May. “We laid low the first three months because we wanted to do things right.”The airport community appears to have rallied around the new establishment. Hutt Aviation donated a wing, tail piece and helicopter window for the interior. U.S. Air Force veteran and test pilot John Hannan donated stained glass aviation pictures, and other pilots donated a retired parachute and an assortment of airplane models hanging from the ceiling.“My concentration was warming things up, creating that nice vibe,” Baxter said. “Our tagline is, ‘Your culinary destination.’ There are 600 people in this business park, and 5,000 homes behind us in Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way. What we’re doing is making really good food and offering it at a fair price.”Baxter, an 18-year resident of Gardnerville, has started four restaurants in Carson Valley. The Daily Scoop, created in the late 1990s, laid the sushi foundation for Wasabi’s, which opened around 2005 in the Minden Village and has since changed hands. She also started Bella Vita, a gourmet sandwich shop, and still owns and operates the catering side of that business. She also founded Indigo in the Minden Village in 2007, but had to close it last December, an action that saddened her.“I love feeding people and dealing with people,” she said. “I was approached to get involved with this restaurant.”Backed by a silent owner, Baxter handles daily operations.“Business is good, better than expected,” she said. “Once you get customers here, you want to keep them coming back because it is off the beaten path.”Baxter described the menu as versatile and eclectic, complementing the herb and tomato garden on the outdoor patio. The homegrown rosemary is used to flavor the restaurant’s “rustic bread,” and the basil is used in a number of dishes.The “Flight” samplers span wines, beers, appetizers and desserts. So far, Baxter said, big hits include fish and chips, tacos with homemade carnitas, mahi-mahi and grilled chicken, and pulled pork and French dip sandwiches.Live music Thursday through Saturday helps pack the house, and a delivery service helps broaden the restaurant’s customer base, Baxter said. “It’s a kid-friendly, fun environment, not stuffy,” she said. “People come in here, and they have a good time.”Located at 2244 Meridian Blvd., Flight Restaurant & Bar is open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, for dinner 4 p.m.-closing Saturday, and for brunch and lunch 9 a.m.-closing on Sunday.For more information, call 782-1333 or visit http://www.flightrestaurantandbar.com.