I only tell you this as a disclaimer. That quality/personality flaw affects my view of Kitty Hawk.
I traveled to this quirky, inconspicuous spot inside the York Airport (formerly Orville's Restaurant Catering) in search of a certain dining atmosphere.
I sought a place where people can sit for an hour, eat too much food and drink too much coffee. I wanted a place that felt very York County - and by extension, very Pennsylvania.
At a relatively young age, 26, I've lived in quite a few places in this state, and no matter where I go, Pennsylvania people seem to love getting a lot for a little. Kitty Hawk reminded me of the diners in my grandfather's old neighborhood in
Appropriately, the Kitty Hawk menu offered an expansive selection of the typical diner food, with a few twists, such as crab cakes and higher-end steak specials.
The wide variety of clubs and melts - including Reubens and different combinations of roast beef, ham and turkey - tempted me. But deciding on something a little different, I settled on a hot hamburger sandwich ($6.95). It resembled a hot roast beef sandwich: the ground beef patty between two pieces of white bread smothered with brown gravy.
The burger tasted a bit overcooked and chewy and the gravy under-seasoned, but the hearty "side" of fries actually highlighted the meal. The browned, juicy cuts with the potato skin left on reminded me of delicious boardwalk fries. So much that I considered asking if they had any bottles of malt vinegar or shakers of sea salt. With fries like these, I think Kitty Hawk should consider putting the vinegar right next to the ketchup container on every table.
The lone, lunch-hour waitress was as courteous as could be. When I sat down, she asked me, "Can I get you something to drink a while?" I knew then I was in the right kind of place.
I find that classic York County-ism - "a while" - as endearing as some of the other seemingly nonsensical phrases spoken elsewhere in the state.
In my normal office attire - dress pants and a collared shirt - I looked more than a little out of place alongside the other patrons clothed in denim jackets or hunting caps. The meal left a heaviness in my gut, outweighing the small subtotal on my check, just as it should be.
Before I left, I listened to the group of men sitting next to me - wolfing down sandwiches, telling stories and busting each other's chops. I couldn't help but smile and feel embarrassingly wistful.
Cheap Eats is a biweekly column on local restaurants' meals for less than $10. Suggestions are welcome. Reach Wade Malcolm at 771-2101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
LOCATION: 6053 Lincoln Highway West in Jackson Township
WADE'S PICK: Hot hamburger sandwich, $6.95
PARKING: Large lot
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
PRICE RANGE: $3.50 to $14.95
ACCEPTS: Cash and major credit card
KID'S MENU: Hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken strips, grilled cheese and spaghetti.