The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 9, 2013

Mike Pound: Hangar Kafe has great meals, great atmosphere

By Mike Pound

— Monday night was one of those hot summer nights that you expect to come along in early July.

I’m not complaining here, but we haven’t had as many of those hot summer nights as we normally get this time of year.

Of course, there is a good chance that by calling attention to this, I may have just ensured a month of blistering evenings.

Drawing attention to our weather is a lot like drawing attention to a no-hitter in a baseball game. It’s bad luck.

Anyway, on Monday I didn’t feel like firing up the grill. Our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, was away at dance camp, so I decided the best thing was for my wife and me to go out and eat and let somebody else fire up the grill.

Several weeks ago, Sally Armstrong, my wife and I heard about a new place near Miller called the Hangar Kafe.

Sally said she and Dan and some friends of theirs had lunch at the cafe and that the cheeseburgers were very good.

Sometimes I forget to pay attention when people are talking to my wife, but I perked up when Sally said “cheeseburgers.”

The Hangar Kafe opened in April and is owned by Kiman Kingsley and his wife, Darlene. According to Sally, the Kingsley family has been around the Miller area for more than 100 years and pretty much knows everyone there. Several years ago, Kiman and his three brothers discovered flying and began what is now a flourishing crop-dusting business to go with their farming operation.

The Hangar Kafe is housed in an actual airplane hangar at the Kingsley family’s busy rural airport and reflects the family’s love of flying. The walls in the cafe are painted sky blue and are decorated with aviation photos, large model planes and hot-air balloons. The restaurant’s cash register sits in an actual hot-air balloon basket.

The Hangar Kafe sits on a working airport, which means it’s possible to eat lunch or dinner while watching planes — that often carry loyal restaurant customers — land. On weekends, skydivers land in the field right in front of the cafe.

We didn’t see any skydivers or planes Monday, but we did watch two guys flying those go-carts tethered to huge parachutes take off and land.

As per Sally’s description, I was prepared to get into the Hangar Kafe’s big bacon cheeseburger. But then I saw a cheeseburger served with a slice of ham. I was torn between the two. Then I saw a five-word description that untied me: “Hand-dipped chicken fried steak.” Also included in the description were the words “with white gravy.”

I mean, what was I supposed to do? I ordered the chicken fried steak and my wife ordered the bacon cheeseburger.

Lest you think that my wife and I indulged in unhealthy gravy, red meat and bacon, I should point out that I also had a salad.

So there.

The Hangar Kafe is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. To get to the cafe, take Missouri Highway 96 east out of Carthage to Missouri Highway 97. Go north on 97 two miles to FR 2040 (you will see a sign for the cafe) and go east one mile to FR 1070, where you will find another sign. Go north, and the airport and cafe will be on your left.

Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.