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DC-10, The World's Coolest Restaurant: FlightAware

Discussion in 'Other' started by Lord Leighton, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    The World’s Coolest Restaurant
    Fine Dining In a Converted DC-10.
    STORY AND PHOTOS BY PATRICK SMITH

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    Welcome aboard, as it were. The La Tante DC-10 Restaurant in Accra, Ghana.



    January 20, 2016
    I’M THE FARTHEST THING from a foodie. The very word foodie irritates me. It goes back to my childhood, maybe. I was raised in what was perhaps the must gastronomically unadventurous family in America. A “salad,” as I knew it, consisted of a bowl of iceberg lettuce doused with steakhouse dressing. We had our pizzas Margherita style, with sauce and cheese only. The idea of adding a topping was almost frighteningly exotic. I don’t think I set foot in a Chinese restaurant until I was in my twenties. I was thirty before I could use chopsticks or knew what a burrito was.

    Food, to me, was always a mundane, unexciting experience. I travel a lot, but to this day I consider dining out to be a chore. This is heresy to a lot of people, I know, but I’m perfectly happy with a burger from room service or some easy-to-grab street food.

    Unless, that is, we’re talking about dinner inside a converted McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Now this is a restaurant to get excited about.

    Welcome to La Tante DC-10 Restaurant, located just outside Kotoka International Airport in the friendly capital city of Accra, Ghana. For several years this venerable aircraft sat derelict next to a hangar, sans engines and wearing the sun-bleached colors of the defunct Ghana Airways. The hulk was destined for the scrap pile when, in 2013, it was purchased by the Vindira Company. It was towed down an embankment to its current resting spot, and refurbished into a full-service restaurant with seating for 118 passengers — er, diners. It’s hard to miss, looming just behind the Marina Mall and painted a ghastly green (the color owes to a sponsorship from the locally brewed Club beer).

    I love the repurposing of commercial aircraft. La Tante is one of several similar projects around the world, including a 747-turned-hotel outside the airport in Stockholm. There’s something about this idea, the recasting of the jet into a wholly unexpected role, that causes one to reflect on the astonishing capabilities of commercial aviation. When you’re sitting on a plane at the airport, it’s easy to take for granted the fact that you’ll soon be soaring through the sky, en route to some exotic city halfway around the world, a feat that would have seemed unimaginable just a hundred years ago. It’s different, though, when that plane becomes a restaurant, and you’re sitting inside and suddenly you think about how this place, this entire building — we think about it now as a building — once flew through the air at hundreds of miles per hour, calling port in London, New York, Johannesburg, and dozens of cities in between. How is it even possible?



    The main dining room is set in what used to be the economy class cabin. The outside seats are original, with tables installed in between. Conventional tables and chairs are used in place of the center rows. If you want, you can stow your extra belongings in the overhead bins.

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    The landing gear gardens are a cool if peculiar flourish.

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    The washrooms are all but unchanged, except for a conventional “land” commode in place of the blue-water toilets.

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    La Tante’s menu isn’t terribly sophisticated. It’s your basic Ghanaian food. But it’s wholesome and inexpensive (at the moment it’s about 4 Ghana cedi to the American dollar). Here I kept it simple and ordered the Jollof rice with chicken, a Ghanaian staple. It was good, if unexceptional. Just the right amount of spicy. My normal Ghanaian favorite is the “red-red,” a stew made with black-eyed peas cooked in palm oil, but La Tante offers it only with fish, not with chicken or beef, and I don’t enjoy the fish version. The waitresses (yes, they dress like flight attendants) are friendly and the food came promptly.

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    There’s a bar/lounge in the forward section, in the space once occupied by first class.

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    The Ghana Airways tail livery remains. Notice the kitchen annex built into the right side of the fuselage.

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    If there’s one thing La Tante is lacking, it’s a little context. I wish the owners would put up some framed photographs of the place from its flying days. In addition to its work for Ghana Airways, the jet flew for the U.S.-based World Airways, which sent it on charters all over the globe. Many restaurants have long and storied histories, but usually just in one place! Here’s a restaurant that has literally been everywhere.
     
  2. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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  3. AeroDon

    AeroDon Administrator

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    Food looks great.
     
  4. Everett 757

    Everett 757 Hangar Silver Member VI

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    Now that is really cool! :)
     
  5. Irish MD-11

    Irish MD-11 Hangar Bronze Member V

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    Saw this documentary by Patrick Smith on an earlier post by him on a.net! But had to watch it again:)! Lots of colours inside! Charlie seems to be a pretty cool cutie too;)!

    Irish MD-11
     
    xnwa, David Barnshaw and Everett 757 like this.

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