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Sky Kitchen Restaurant: Where Delicious Food Takes Off at SQL

French toast, fajitas, flight talk, and much more are why diners love the Sky Kitchen Restaurant at San Carlos Airport (SQL). Heavenly aromas of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast and lunch on the griddle awaken the senses and welcome customers, whether the regulars or those dining for the first time.

Since 2010, Simer Mann and Paul Sidhu have owned and operated the Sky Kitchen, buying it from the former owners who operated it for 25 years. However, the restaurant was known to Simer, an aviation enthusiast, before that as he used to hang out there.

“I love aviation, and have always wanted to be a pilot,” said Simer. “While I wasn’t able to achieve my dream, purchasing and operating the Sky Kitchen allows me to live vicariously through restaurant customers.”

What keeps the business partners motivated to be open and operational daily by 7 a.m.?

“Serving our regulars is what keeps us going,” said Simer. “It’s a good feeling when we arrive to find our local and senior customers waiting for us to open the doors to enjoy breakfast and meet with fellow community members.”

The regulars—including retired pilots, airport tenants grabbing a bite during breaks, pilots and their passengers, and airport neighbors—hang out for hours every day, telling stories to each other and other customers who care to listen in.

“Our regulars and their amazing aviation stories are inspiring, especially to the kids that dine here,” said Simer.

One such kid is Simer’s son, who from an early age hung out at the restaurant with the retired aviators who would take him up on flights. Now age 18, Simer’s son has completed private pilot ground school and soloed recently, giving his proud dad another opportunity to experience life through the next generation of pilots.

Asked how they market their restaurant, Simer says they provide good service and delicious and fresh food, a recipe that continues to work.

“Word of mouth is also what keeps us successful,” he said. “We’re busiest during weekends, when we typically have a wait list to seat families,” he continued.

“We also don’t have capacity to grow beyond the current customer base, and this reduces any pressure to expand,” Simer added.

The restaurant’s outdoor patio—with seating added during the pandemic—is a great spot to watch aircraft come and go, and is pet friendly.

County of San Mateo Airports’ staff have witnessed the restaurant partners’ generosity to the community, such as picking up the meal tab for groups touring the airport. Simer says this is important to him and Paul, as they love to promote SQL, support kids who are interested in aviation and flying, and share with those in need, including delivering to food banks at the holidays.

For the past six years, Simer and Paul have also owned and operated Café San José— featuring an American breakfast and lunch menu—in San Jose (where actor Chris Rock has dined), and Half Moon Bay Coffee Company at the coast, known for its seven different flavors of pumpkin bread, which customers line up for at 7 a.m.

Simer says operating all three restaurants is like spinning plates, literally and figuratively, and key to the eateries’ success is their long-term team, including chefs.

“Our trusted employees, some who have been with us for over 10 years, allow us to relax as they take care of the businesses. They’re like family, and we’re very lucky to have them,” he explained.

Gift certificates—great gifts for Father’s Day and year-round celebrations—can be purchased in the restaurant.

The Sky Kitchen is open daily (except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day) for breakfast and lunch until 2 p.m. on Monday–Thursday, and until 3 p.m. on Friday–Sunday.


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