Runway Success

The sky’s the limit for fly-in restaurant


Advertise with us

What’s a pilot to do if they start to feel a bit peckish while flying the friendly skies of southern Manitoba?

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe:

Monthly Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/07/2022 (254 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

What’s a pilot to do if they start to feel a bit peckish while flying the friendly skies of southern Manitoba?

Pilots of small aircraft know to look for a small, grassy landing strip at the northeast corner of Beausejour, where they can disembark just steps away from the Airliner Drive-In.

The popular destination embraces the airplane theme, with flight-related decor and menu items with names such as the Spitfire (a spicy burger), the Biplane (a Gimli pickerel burger) and the Avro Arrow (a sweet chili wrap with breaded pork).

Pilots taxi up to the restaurant almost daily — there might be 20 on a clear summer day, often swooping in to rendezvous with fellow flyers.

“All the pilots know about the Airliner. They can come here, land and have a great meal,” says Gisèle Manaigre, who bought the property five years ago with her husband and her son, Alain Manaigre, who owns the restaurant.

Today, people flock in for Chef Alain’s famous cream-of-perogie soup, classic Reuben sandwiches and hefty homestyle burgers.

“People can fly in, drive in, walk in — even sled in. We get lots of snowmobilers stopping here in the winter,” says Gisèle.

There are plenty of picnic tables for outdoor summer dining. And the indoor dining area has been completely renovated to give the space a fun ’50s diner theme, complete with jukebox. But the flying motif still sneaks in, with a spinning model plane suspended from the ceiling where a disco ball once hung. Before it was moved to its current location several years ago, the building was a dance hall on the south end of Beausejour.

“A lot of customers come in and say, ‘We got married in this hall!’ ” Gisèle says.

“People can fly in, drive in, walk in– even sled in. We get lots of snowmobilers stopping here in the winter.”
Gisèle Manaigre

The section of the restaurant that houses the takeout counter and kitchen also had an interesting history in another part of town. Before it landed at the Airliner site, it was a snack bar in a resort area.

Chef Alain came up with all the unique recipes and names for burgers and sandwiches, and he takes pride in his creations. Asked what’s in the perogie soup — other than whole perogies made by Perfect Pierogies in the nearby village of Garson — he just smiles and says it’s a secret recipe. What about the beef patties? Yep, that’s a secret too.

“All of the recipes are mine, gathered over many years of working as a chef all over the province,” he says.

He even came up with a “challenge burger” called the Spruce Goose. Unfasten your seatbelt — it’s made up of three beef patties, bacon, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, deep-fried pickles, three cheeses and more. Finish the $32 burger and you get a free milkshake.

“It’s just something for the guys who want to show off,” Alain laughs. He’s sold a handful over the years, but most customers take a pass.

“Our regular burgers are massive. Once you have one of our burgers, people look at the Spruce Goose and they say no way!”

The Airliner also caters to kids with its Air Cadets menu, and it doesn’t forget the furry family members. Its Stowaways pet menu offers snacks for dogs, from cooked beef or chicken to vanilla ice cream with a dog biscuit.

They may be economy size, but the four-legged guests still get first-class treatment, Gisèle says.

“A lot of people come in with their dogs, and we bring the dog a bowl of water first thing.”

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us