Inside the St. Louis Downtown Airport, travelers excitedly bustle about on their way to distant destinations or emerge from vacations rested and ready to return home. The constant stream of action is all part of the experience for diners at Crusoe’s on the Runway, which combines the spectacle of air travel with hearty American meals. Whether they’re traveling or just stopping by for a bite, diners fill their bellies as they overlook two of the three runways from the airport’s east ramp. St. Louis–style pizza, steaks, and pastas satiate hunger pangs, along with comfort food such as Mom’s meatloaf and country-fried steak. As they watch Airbus A320 jetliners and lightweight Boeing 757 aircrafts launch into the sky and gently touch down on the runway from their tables, guests can hold up score cards to judge the pilots’ form.
Italian-born recipes guide Schiappa's chefs as they hand-spin pies out of house-made dough, crafting colossal disks that span up to 40 inches. Dining duos weave one of the menu's traditional toppings, such as italian sausage, pineapple, or pepperoni, through the14-inch pizza's lush mozzarella foliage or into drab living-room tapestries. Cheesy first courses make way for 10 wings dressed in one of eight flavor getups, including sweet hot, Caribbean jerk, and scorching. A pair of soft drinks washes down savory slices, and on Sundays during football season from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., NFL games get sports buffs more riled up than a bull trapped in Santa's walk-in closet
The culinary gurus at Thip’s Thai Cuisine blend pineapple, chili paste, and basil while churning out 50+ authentic curries, noodle entrees, and rice specialties. Patrons choose among chicken, pork, and tofu for nearly every dish, and upgrade to beef or shrimp to infuse their plates with a classic surf-and-turf vibe. Knives chop fresh veggies such as bell peppers, carrots, and green onions, which pile atop rice noodles and play water polo in steaming coconut milk.
Orange Leaf showers customers with healthy dessert options, including flavors with 2 grams of fat or fewer, dispensed from rows of self-serve machines. A torrent of frozen yogurt in honeydew, chocolate coconut, or cotton candy pours into waiting cups below, augmented by wisps of coconut or mochi. After finishing their masterpieces, customers can take seats next to the shop's neon-lime walls to eat or read the detailed nutritional information out loud in an important voice.
The pizza at Papa Murphy’s Take 'N' Bake Pizza is always cold. Not because it's old, but because it’s so fresh that it hasn’t been cooked yet. Assembled and customized before your eyes, the colorful, unbaked disk is then taken home and thrown into your own oven. The crust crisps to exactly your preference, whether a thin crust bubbling with chicken, bacon, and artichoke, or a Chicago–style stuffed with salami, pepperoni, sausage, and ground beef. Each pizza can also be customized from scratch, with ambitious eaters choosing from 8 meats, 4 cheeses, and 15 veggie toppings. A bevy of side plates complements any meal, with crisp salads, bake-your-own cookie dough, and dessert pizzas.
Chefs at Jonny's Pizza and Pasta slather sweet red sauce onto pizza disks, creating a brightly colored canvas for thinly sliced black olives, shrimp, and other customer-chosen toppings. After a spell in the oven, these custom pies arrive at tables sizzling and, at the Fairview Heights location, can be devoured in the glow of big-screen TVs. Along with specialty pizzas, which can showcase other sauces such as alfredo, barbecue, or garlic-butter, chefs also layer lasagna, bake mostaccioli, and stuff footlong sub sandwiches with hearty fillings.