Norm’s Hangar offers classic diner fare plus visuals

Marty Robles, server at Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop, talks about her experience working at the runway-side cafe in La Verne on Sunday. The diner, which is located by Brackett Field Airport, is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. / photo by Natalie Medrano
Marty Robles, server at Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop, talks about their experience working at the runway-side cafe in La Verne on Sunday. The diner, which is located by Brackett Field Airport, is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. / photo by Natalie Medrano

Hien Nguyen
Arts Editor

Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop is a hidden diner right on the runway of La Verne’s Brackett Field Airport.

Opened in 1983, the restaurant has been serving customers classic American diner food with a one-of-a-kind view where they can see planes take off and land on the runway. 

Upon entering the diner, you are greeted by a friendly waiter who asks for your seating preferences. 

One can opt for the outside seating option to feast in the excitement of the loud plane engine noises or inside where vintage airplane models grace the ceiling of the homey dining room.

The menu features classic breakfast favorites like pancakes, omelets, biscuit and gravy, french toast and hash browns, and filling lunchtime meals like french dip, tuna melt and hot turkey.

The items, ranging from $3.25 to $14.95, are listed under titles with witty aviation-themed names like “pre-flight specials”, “runway specials” and “pilot specials”.

Lisa Gustafson Martin, shopkeeper at Periwinkle in Glendora Village, said she likes the retro atmosphere and how diner food is a fitting catering choice for the time period of the building.

Martin said that the scenery is the most unique part about Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop.

“It’s good breakfast too but we’re definitely here for the entertainment, like my daughter who enjoys the view of the planes,” Martin said. “It’s my daughter’s first time ever here and it’s my first time back since the start of the pandemic.”

Glendora resident and contractor Rick Morales said he visits Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop with his two brothers Ron and Mike once a week and they rave about the meals.

“They got the best sandwiches, their egg sandwiches are amazing,” said Rick Morales. “I haven’t had a bad meal here yet.” 

Mike Morales, who owns a solo pilot license, enjoys eating in an environment where he could see planes pass by.

“I used to fly so it’s nice to go here for good food and a good view,” said Mike Morales.

Other than the food and unique view offered, many customers enjoy the courteous service of the staff.

Server Marty Robles said they love that they could be themself while working here, which is a different possibility from other server jobs they have had over the past seven years.

“I tend to be personable with my guests and I really couldn’t do that when I worked at Olive Garden or other restaurants,” Robles said. “At Norm’s, you get to know your guests because at the end of the day, you want them to come back.”

Robles said they come to the diner on their days off with their parents and encourage people to bring families, friends and even pets to check out the planes and enjoy some good food.

“Marty is a sweetheart, knows and gives us hugs every time we visit,” said Pomona resident Mario Espinoza.

Mario Espinoza and his wife Angie Espinoza are regulars at the establishment and prefer a table outside where they get a good view of the runway.

“I’m a Navy veteran and I used to work on the jets in the navy so I get flashbacks when I come here and see the flight lines and the planes,” said Mario Espinoza.

Angie Espinoza said that you can sometimes hear the pilots talk from the speakers that are placed in the corner of the outside dining area.

Norm’s Hangar Coffee Shop is located at 1615 McKinley Ave in La Verne, and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m from Tuesday to Sunday.

Hien Nguyen can be reached at hien.nguyen2@laverne.edu.

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Hien Nguyen, a senior journalism major and psychology minor, is arts editor for the Campus Times. She has previously been a staff writer.

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Natalie Medrano, a junior photography major, is the Fall 2022 photography editor for the Campus Times and a staff photographer for La Verne Magazine.

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