Restaurant idea taking off

A new restaurant opened up last week at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, as a pair of new owners brought new life to a space that had been vacant since mid-October.

Wings, the new eatery up the hill at the airport in Williamstown, opened Feb. 3 in the midst of the snowstorm that left about eight inches of snow in parts of the region.

Though the eatery is located inside the airport, new owners and close friends Mary Browning and Francis Winemiller take pride in serving up homemade comfort food to all kinds of crowds.

“We make everything from scratch, and we have specials every day,” Winemiller said. The food Wings serves up comes from their own personal recipes.

Many restaurants located near travel hubs are there for convenience, but Browning and Winemiller are around every day in the kitchen, cooking the food themselves, from lemon meringue pies to homemade rolls.

“It’s an interesting concept, being at an airport,” Winemiller said. “It’s fun for people to eat and watch the planes and helicopters land.”

Winemiller and Browning are both from Williamstown originally but have lived in different places, as Browning has gained restaurant business experience in the Carolinas as well as places closer to home.

The pair only started looking at the space a little more than a month ago, and made the decision to open the restaurant officially on Jan. 11.

“We had a friend call and say we should take a look at the place,” Winemiller said. “We started looking, and decided ‘We can do this,’ and now here we are.”

Now specializing in warm, homemade foods like breaded pork chops, ham steaks and fried okra, Wings is not just for travelers.

“A lot of locals and a lot of the churches and businesses have been coming in,” Winemiller said. “We opened the day of the big storm, and we still did well. People are glad we’re here and they love the food.”

Don and Casey Fought finished lunch at Wings on Wednesday afternoon, with no plans to catch a plane.

“We’re from Newark, which is roughly 25 miles from here,” Don said. “So we came quite a ways to get this good food.”

Winemiller and Browning always kept in touch when they lived in separate areas, but most recently worked together as servers at the Omelet Shoppe in Parkersburg.

Sure enough, Wings serves breakfast all day, every day except for Sunday, with a full omelet menu.

“We’ve been friends for a long time, and we make a good team, so it’s working out well,” Winemiller said.

Renee Dillon, a Parkersburg resident who worked with Winemiller and Browning at the Omelet Shoppe, said she hopes more people learn that you can enjoy Wings without a boarding pass; it is privately owned and operated.

“I had been here last about 10 years ago, so it’s been a long time,” Dillon said. “I hope it goes great for them, because they’re good people.”

Wings is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., and future plans might include a few nights where the restaurant is open later.

Winemiller said they are planning an official ribbon-cutting ceremony soon that the airport will invite a local government official to attend, but the details have not been worked out yet.

The airport terminal restaurant was previously Plain View Restaurant, owned by Mary James for more than 20 years.

The restaurant closed down Oct. 16, citing a lack of business. Winemiller and Browning purchased all new equipment, and the airport renovated the space, refreshing it with new paint and carpet.

“We’re trying to run it like it always has been run, and with great food,” Winemiller said.