Shelby's Diner is an all-American fly-in restaurant at the Tradewind Airport in Amarillo, Texas. Read on for our full review of the food and experience.
For our inaugural airport diner review, we decided to visit a joint not too far from our home airport in the Texas Panhandle that we'd already visited before: Shelby's Diner at the Tradewind Airport in Amarillo, TX. We have to say, this little diner sets the bar high for all the others! Read on for our honest review of Shelby's Diner, including the food, service, and what to expect.
About Shelby's Diner
Shelby's Diner is located at the Tradewind Airport in Amarillo, TX inside the FBO. Named after Shelby Masterson Kritser, a talented aerobatics pilot who founded the Tradewind Airport in 1946, the restaurant honors the legacy of the enthusiastic aviator. At the classic American style diner, you'll find locals from Amarillo enjoying a meal and conversation while watching airplanes takeoff and land through the large windows, as well as customers from across the state and country who have come to to enjoy a meal while making a fuel stop. You'll also find people like our little family who have come to eat for a Saturday family adventure.
The diner is open for breakfast and lunch each day of the week, except for Sundays, and serves dinner on Thursdays and Fridays. The menu features a selection of all-American classics like burgers and sandwiches, down-home favorites like chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy, as well as daily homemade specials. You'll also find a variety of delicious homemade pies made by local bakery Mama Jo's.
Our Honest Review
Shelby's is a welcome upgrade from your typical airport diner. Located right off the runway inside the beautiful FBO, the clean, inviting, and spacious restaurant is decorated with photos and memorabilia of the airport's founder and restaurant's namesake. Big windows allow a nice view of the tarmac and runway. The homemade pies are nicely displayed in a case at the front, ensuring you'll be mulling over which dessert to get before you decide on lunch! Overall, it is a great atmosphere.
The menu offers a pleasant selection of diner classics and slightly upgraded American food - including burgers, ciabatta sandwiches, and wraps as well as fresh salads and down-home favorites like chicken fried steak, fried shrimp and hamburger steak. I was happy to see a choice of sides that included sweet potato fries, waffle fries and okra beyond the typical fries or potato chips. There is also a daily special offered.
All the dishes that walked by us on their way to hungry customers looked mouth-watering and sure to please. In our two trips to the diner, we've ordered a variety of sandwiches, a salad, and a burger. They were all freshly prepared, nicely presented, and most importantly, delicious! The dietitian in me appreciated a thoughtful salad of grilled chicken, green chile corn and avocado (I ordered the Charlie Chicken Cobb) that went beyond the typical chicken strips on a bed of iceberg lettuce. I'm a sucker for sweet potato fries, and the ones at Shelby's did not disappoint! The Spitfire Burger with green chili, bacon and pepper jack was juicy and served on a toasty bun, with perfectly crisp waffle fries. The sandwiches we've ordered - the club, the Thunderbolt Ciabatta (grilled chicken), and the Gunner Ciabatta (ham and swiss) have all been satisfying. They're all served on fresh bread with perky veggies and generous portions of meat and cheese.
Dessert is not to be skipped! The selection of homemade pies is impressive, with at least 3 or 4 different varieties to choose from. Generous pieces served with whipped cream are the perfect treat to end a good meal. We all agree that the chocolate cream pie is our favorite, so be sure to snag a piece if they have it that day, but the key lime and the Oreo pies are also good choices.
Finally, our experiences at Shelby's have been made even better by the excellent service. The staff is friendly and quick to help with smiles on their faces. It is truly a breath of fresh air compared to the service at most establishments lately, and another reason we'll be sure to return for another visit soon.
Things To Know About Shelby's Diner
- The diner is closed on Sundays, and closes between lunch and dinner on the days that dinner is offered (Thursday and Friday).
- If you're planning on exploring Amarillo during your stop, be sure to call ahead about a car rental as there is not a courtesy car offered.
- If you're gluten-intolerant or have other sensitivities, be sure to call ahead and inquire about menu items, as there doesn't seem to be many allergy-friendly options.
- Don't skip the pie! You won't be sorry.