Family affair

The airport restaurant is a family affair | State and region

Don Abner has about as many businesses as he has children, and he has six children.

He’s now set to add another business to the list, the Raleigh County Memorial Airport Restaurant, which held its grand opening on Friday.

While Abner is the patriarch of his family which includes three daughters, three sons, more than 20 grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren (in his memory), when it comes to business, Abner said that it was a family affair.

Abner said the family took over the airport restaurant in January, which was closed at the start of the pandemic.

He said he was interested in the business because it seemed like a good place for his family to meet and connect over a good plate of home-cooked food and he hoped he could extend that same experience to any customers who have visited it.

“In business, in any business, you sell either quantity or quality and we sell quality here,” he said.

Former customers of the airport restaurant might not notice big changes in the look of the business except for the addition of a few tablecloths, but when it comes to the atmosphere of the location, Abner said he wanted people to feel at home when they entered the restaurant.

Having already been open for about a month, it seems people are already open.

Sitting in a chair at the restaurant counter, Abner greeted everyone who walked through the door on Tuesday morning of this week.

Some he knew by name and order, and those he didn’t, he greeted as if he knew them.

Working with him this morning was his daughter, Cindy Lee, the youngest of his three daughters but the middle child of his six children.

Asked about her title at the restaurant, she simply shrugged and laughed, as if to say that she does a bit of everything, which she does.

While her dad called her the promotion manager, proudly describing how she hosted a special Valentine’s Day event last month and was working on other events, her role this week included taking orders, checking of customers and arranging delivery orders all under the watchful eye of his father.

Lee said she enjoys working with her father on this new venture as well as other members of her family, although like any family business they sometimes butt heads.

“It was fun. I learned a lot,” she said. “It’s fun because we all have our own way, especially when it comes to cooking.”

Lee said a lot of the recipes come from her dad, who makes sure they’re followed to perfection.

She said one of her favorite recipes is her dad’s chili recipe, which takes a few days to make but is worth the wait.

As for customer favorites, Lee said the Philly cheesesteak is a go-to meal for most.

Although Abner said the restaurant would cook just about anything if there was enough demand, the Raleigh County Memorial Airport Restaurant’s established menu features breakfast items, lunch and dinner.

The breakfast menu includes homemade biscuits and gravy, French toast, made-to-order eggs, and other traditional breakfast items.

Lunch and dinner entrees include the popular Philly cheesesteak, as well as a classic BLT, burgers, fried bologna sandwich and more.

For those ordering a sandwich, Lee suggested pairing it with onion rings, which are his favorite.

The restaurant also offers daily specials which are posted on its Facebook page as Raleigh County Memorial Airport Restaurant.

Located inside the Raleigh County Memorial Airport, as its name suggests, the restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. except Tuesday and Saturday when it closes at 4:30 p.m.

The restaurant offers dine-in, take-out and delivery options. Orders can be placed by calling 304-252-9970.