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Airport View Restaurant offers quite a sight

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

An airplane is taxiing, another aircraft has taken off and the 398-

foot air traffic control tower at Hartsfield-Jackson can be seen in

the background.

The scene at the world's busiest airport can be seen up close from

Airport View Restaurant, at 3670 Georgia Ave., Hapeville. Georgia

Avenue is adjacent to Perry J. Hudson Parkway.

"They [patrons] trust my food, my restaurant," said Restaurant Owner

Yong Choe, in a thick accent.

Choe, of South Korea, said the employees of the airport and its

surrounding businesses frequent his restaurant, which is open Mondays

through Fridays, from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m. He said workers from

companies such as Delta Air Lines, Air Tran Airways, U.S. Customs and

Border Protection and Wells Fargo come to eat.

Willie Pritchett, a firefighter with the Airport Fire Division of

City of Atlanta Fire Rescue, said he comes to Airport View because of

its great customer service, cleanliness and its "fantastic" view of

the airport. "The food is really good," added Pritchett.

Senior Patrol Officer Lorenzo Stripland said he is part of the

Atlanta Police Bomb Squad and serves the Atlanta Police Department

precinct at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Stripland said he has dined at the restaurant for about three years

and it is one of his favorite lunch spots because of the fresh and

tasty Southern food that is served. He said the eatery provides a

healthy salad bar, as well.

"It is very unique," said Stripland of the view. "You can see the

airport and the planes landing while you're eating."

James Becker, an employee at the neighboring regional operations

center of Wells Fargo, said he has enjoyed eating lunch at Airport

View for about five years. "It is a minute from work," said Becker of

the convenience.

Restaurant Owner Choe said many of his customers have been coming to

the restaurant for years. "There are many 10-year customers," he said.

T.E. Lee said he has been a loyal customer of Choe's for 20 years. "I

like his cooking," he said.

Lee said he was practically born at the airport and that his parents

lived where the current North Cargo building is located.

"The airplanes took off over the top of my house," said the current

Riverdale resident.

The restaurant serves Southern-style food, such as meatloaf, fried

boneless and skinless chicken, potato cream soup, cornbread and cobbler.

The eatery only serves lunch, and prices range from $1.75 to $5.50,

said the owner. Patrons can partake in the all-you-can-eat salad and

fruit bar for $6.50. Customers can have soup from the bar for a

dollar extra, Choe said.

"We will start the dinner menu soon," he said.

He said he plans to roll out a dinner menu and a cocktail bar in

about two to three months. The menu would include shrimp cocktail,

steak and Southwestern chicken, he said.

Customers would be able to order mixed drinks, domestic and imported

beers and wines at the bar, said Choe. The average price for beer

would be $2.50 a bottle and wine for $3.50 a glass.

The breakfast menu is only available for patrons who make

reservations for special events or meetings, from 6 a.m., to 10 a.m.,

he said. Customers can also reserve space during regular operating

hours. Events scheduled for the breakfast menu are charged $12 per

person.

When asked why he focused on Southern cuisine, Choe responded, "The

American dream allows you to start any kind of business."

Choe said Airport View Restaurant opened in July 1997 and he directly

operated it for seven years. While still owner of Airport View, he

said he opened Cafe Hwy 85, at 5214 Highway 85, Forest Park, in 2004

and focused his time there.

He said he came back to directly oversee Airport View in November 2010.

Choe said that in order to dedicate 100 percent of his time to

Airport View, he hired a manager to oversee Cafe Hwy 85, in February.

Choe said that in 1979, he moved to the U.S. and settled in Kentucky.

He said he attended the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, from

1979 to 1980.

He moved to Marietta in 1980 because his older sister lived there and

he wanted to be close to family.

Choe said that with the help of his sister and his brother-in-law, he

opened his first restaurant in Fayette County, called Paw Paw's

Cafeteria and BBQ, in 1985.