Ramble Plan Golf: Doolittle’s Air Cafe

Weather: 36°F (2°C) Under clear skies.
Road Conditions: Briny wet with some clear patches.

Scarlet waits on the “flightline” at Doolittle’s Air Cafe.

It felt so good to get back in Scarlet’s saddle after more than a month of commuting by truck.

That four-wheeled routine of driving down the long, dark tunnel of freeway in the mornings, and getting stuck in gridlock every afternoon was weighing heavily on my soul. Existential Gravity ruled my days, and I could tell that I was slowly becoming one of them: the pitiful sheeple who do this sad routine every working day of their so-called lives.

So when the weather forecast told of highs in the forties this week, and lows in the twenties, it was all I needed to hear. I spent the weekend out in the garage, making sure Scarlet was ready to go. I even started up Frogwing and let him run for awhile, to circulate his oil and charge up his battery. Hearing his steady thumping heartbeat charged up my batteries as well. It was pure, mechanical therapy, and the perfect way to end my little vacation.

A P-51 Mustang dives upon diners from the flag-draped ceiling.

Doolittle’s Air Cafe sits at the gateway to all of my Ramble Plans. Only about a half mile from work, it is a popular lunch spot, and hosts some of our company’s after-work functions. It’s very convenient for when I need refreshment after a hard day in the cubicle, and I’ve become something of a regular there over the past several years.

The aviation theme is what originally attracted me to this place. I’ve been an airplane buff even longer than I’ve been into motorcycles. My first mechanical exercise ever, was the construction of a Revell plastic Spitfire model, at the tender age of seven.

I flew that little fighter plane all over my world for the next year or so, until one of my cousins introduced me to the joy of fireworks. The old Spit’ met a spectacular end when the fuel tanks were hit by enemy fire, late on the 4th of July, 1971. There was no parachute. This happened on the shore of Mud Lake, Wisconsin; but in my mind it was thirty years earlier, and we were on the bank of the Thames.

Anyway, the ceiling of Doolittle’s boasts many large models of aircraft both old and new, military and civilian. The walls are painted in a style once called “nose art”, in the spaces where there aren’t classic aviation prints hung in fancy wood frames. It is the kind of place you would hope to find close to a local airfield, but never do.

And the food… well, the food is definitely airworthy.

I chose my selection from the appetizer menu, because that’s what I usually do. At the time I stop by, it is too soon for dinner, and I have a ways to go before I get home. The Chicken Quesadilla is the perfect combination of light and spicy. Topped with a tangy chipotle sour cream, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions, it is also a fairly healthy dish. They present it well, and I always order a side of their fresh salsa.

Doolittle’s Chicken Quesadilla appetizer. One of my after-work favorites.
Go ahead, click on it… you know you want to.

They also have excellent Buffalo Wings, and the few times I have actually eaten dinner here, I’ve never been disappointed. I can recommend the Walleye Sandwich or Steak Fajitas from firsthand experience.

There’s been a bit of a shake-up at Doolittle’s lately, due to the use of that particular name. One of World War II’s best-known heroes was Jimmy Doolittle, who conceived and led our first bombing raid on Tokyo shortly after we entered the war. I don’t know all the particulars, but I do know that they are going to be moving away from the aviation theme at this location, to something they are calling the “Woodfire Grill”. It will still have the same basic menu, but I know the decor is going to change.

I’m glad I was able to present this place to you in it’s current incarnation. I don’t know what they are going to do with the various airplane models, flags, and beautiful aviation prints when they redo the place, but I would like to take this opportunity to call “dibs” on that beautiful Spitfire print that adorns the west wall…

9 Responses to “Ramble Plan Golf: Doolittle’s Air Cafe”

  1. Bill Sommers Says:

    It seems a shame to move away from a theme that I would have enjoyed. “Woodfire Grill” has a trendy sound to it, and I personally steer away from trendy types of places, and look for more unique eateries to satisfy my desires.

    Who knows, maybe it will be better than before, and worthy of another Ramble Plan. I would make for an interesting comparison.

    Have fun,

  2. Sidewalk Dan Says:

    Many thanks for getting out and enjoying the 40F weather in Feb.

    I think I’m on an even lower rung than the other sheeple in the cars – as I ride the bus. I used to take some pleasure of running the MT up and down the gears. Not so anymore. Now I sit and read. My life is now ruled by the bus schedule. How sad is that??? Sorry to ramble.

    Your quesadilla looks mighty good – great, now I’m jonsing for a ride and some Alberto’s… Fat chance of either of those happening anytime soon.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and your ride – gives me some hope that March is right around the corner.

    RE: the restaurant. Hard to believe decor like that still exits in today’s uber-PC world. Glad somebody still has the nadz to do it. Thanks for the pics.

    Sidwalk Dan out.

  3. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Bill: I have since learned that the Woodfire Grill is going to feature rotisserie chicken in many of it’s dishes and entrees, along with other improvements. So yeah, when they complete the change, I will be revisiting RP Golf.

    Sidewalk Dan: “…running the MT up and down the gears.” -? Okay, I’m stumped. I sympathize with you about the bus thing. I’ve done it, but guys like us never enjoy it.

    Alberto’s? Is this a place I haven’t tried yet? We must ride there. Spring isn’t too far away.

    Ride well,

  4. combatscoot Says:

    I had a full diorama of the Battle of Britain hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom throughout my teenage years. Some of the planes were complete with bulletholes made by a heated needle. That was in the 80’s, though. In 1971, I was still in diapers, crawling around and drooling on things.

  5. Gary Charpentier Says:

    CSJohn: I’ve got a decade on you, but not a lot has changed. At the Cycle World show, I WALKED around, drooling on things. I’ve often wondered how many sportbike riders are really frustrated fighter pilots at heart…

    Ride well,

  6. Sidewalk Dan Says:


    Manual Transmission. I’m probably one of the few folks out there that ordered his car from the factory with a 5sp MT. At least then you can somewhat take part in your commute – driving like a Sunday School teacher, or maybe trying to do your best A.J. Foyt imitation. Otherwise it’s Park to Drive, and a half hour later your at your destination.

    Like you, I don’t listen to music or whatever when I’m on my bike. Earplugs (a must) and that’s that. Singing of the gears or something like that I believe you once called it. Well, same goes for my little Japanese boxer engine – I’ll leave it up to you to find out the car type (and when you do, can you see if my nadz turn up – I haven’t seen them since I bought the car – long story…).

    Alberto’s. Wow. In a galaxy far, far away and a lifetime ago (Camp Pendleton) – we had this chain of ‘restaurants’ (very, very loosely applied word) outside the back gate and in and around Oceanside, CA. Serving (24 hrs a day by the way!), bar none, the best greasy Mexican food that to this day, has not been surpassed in my humbled opinion. It’s the kind of place that you go through the drive through because you don’t necessarily want to look at the inside of the place – much less the kitchen. And the staff – well I’d wager they weren’t on a work visa by any means…

    Google up Alberto’s and Oceanside – see what you get.

    Coming from SD, let’s just say my cultural exposure was quite minute – so this new found food was simply heaven to me. My roommate at the time was from Honduras (would you believe his last name was Gomez Gomez???). He had the car – so he drove and I bought. He’d start in w/ the Spanish and 10 min. later we would have all sorts of stuff not on the menu.

    Burritos so big (putting Chipotle to shame) – you ate half for dinner, then went out and got good and hammered (at the E-club because I wasn’t 21 yet, how lame is that???), came home, went to sleep, and you had breakfast waiting when you awoke. And no, most of us did not have microwaves to heat up said leftovers.

    I’ve been told there are places like this in S. MPLS and down there on C. Chavez in Saint Paul – and someday I hope to sample their fine cuisine. Maybe that could be a ramble plan someday – and I’d like to tag along (you know, for official purposes and all…) if you don’t mind.

    Looks like I’ve rambled enough – hope you got another day of riding in – as it was nearly 50F when I went home yesterday… But what is this business of 6-8″ of snow this weekend???

    Sidewalk Dan out.

  7. seagullplayer Says:

    My lifes goal was to be a pilot, military plans, would have been great!
    Then they checked my eyes…
    They won’t let the “blind” fly, or so they told me.
    So at the last, very last minute, after planning to fly my whole life I went to trade school to become the “jack of all trades electrical” I am today.
    Maybe that’s why my first bike was a nighthawk, at least it had a birds name?

    Lunch looked good.

  8. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Sidewalk Dan: So you went and bought a Subaru, huh? I knew that right away, when you said Japanese and boxer. I have three friends at work who drive WRXs. One of them does Rally-Cross in his. Enter your cage in a Rally-X event, and you may find your missing nadz offroad! ;^)

    As for Cesar Chavez Blvd, hell yeah! El Burrito Mercado rocks! We will have to KLR it down there some evening this Spring.

    Panicky predictions of snowstorms are just a plot by Walmart to sell out their overstock of snowblowers and shovels here at the end of the season. Remember, you read it here first.

    SGP: As far as I know, they let guys with glasses fly transports and bombers. But fighter jocks have to be perfect physical specimens, and they are required to have an ego at least ten times the normal size.

    Ride well,

  9. Biker Betty Says:

    Once again your food shots are excellent. The Doolittle’s Chicken Quesadilla appetizer photo looks good enough to eat. If I remember right, we have a small restaurant inside a real plane here in town. Maybe this summer my husband and I will have to vroom on over and check it out. Since I work part-time I don’t get much of a chance to ride to work, but I actually did yesterday (work and good weather hit on the same day) and was it fun!!!

    As always, enjoy reading your rambles,
    Betty :)