Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bomber Restaurant- a Portland Tradition


The most surprising thing about the iconic Bomber Restaurant isn’t the World War II B-17G Bomber in the parking lot. It isn’t the display of shells, surrounded by crayon renderings of the Easter Bunny. No, the best thing about the Bomber Restaurant is the service- and the food.


Art Lacey originally purchased the Bomber in 1947 in an attempt to draw in visitors to his gas station, originally located beneath the plane. Lacey crashed the first B-17 he purchased after trying to learn how to fly the plane using a manual. He successfully brought home the second B-17 he purchased, landing in Troutdale. With no permit to transport the bomber, he dismantled the plane and brought it piece by piece to its current location in Milwaukie. The gas station closed in 1991, but the restaurant remains open and is still run by Lacey’s descendants today. 

The Bomber Restaurant has been a family-owned business since 1947. If you’re an aviation nerd (like me), or if you have kids, the diner is a no-brainer for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But even if you’ve never been to an aviation museum or flown a plane, the food is worth the trip. Standard fare like burgers is overflowing with fresh veggies. Fries are sparked up with sour cream and onion flavoring. The long-standing specials include Liver and Onions on Wednesdays, Surf and Turf Fridays and thick-cut prime rib on Saturday night. The service is attentive, polite and good-natured, with the servers casually chatting and swapping stories with customers.


The Interpretive Center, PX and Gift Shop shuts down at about 2pm each day, so make sure to arrive early if you want to do the tour.  Breakfast is served until 1:45pm. Visit the website and navigate to the Restaurant page to find a printable coupon, good for $2 off your meal after 4pm. The Birthday Club Coupon offers discounts off group orders (15% off 2-6 meals or 20% for 7 or more people) and a free birthday dessert.



The Bomber Restaurant and Catering
3515 Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 659-9306