They say that “She who hesitates is lost” … and it certainly is true of my quest to dine at the Air Transport Command Restaurant in New Castle, Delaware.
The ATC was a World War II themed bar and eatery with views of an operating air traffic control tower and several runways on the adjacent airfield (similar to the 356th Fighter Group Restaurant in Canton, Ohio). In addition to the barbed wire and “bombed building” architectural touches, it once had tanks and other military equipment parked outside the building. See the DC-3 that was parked here. It was painted olive green to resemble a military transport plane.
Several times, over the years, I have been in the vicinity of the ATC and I never had opportunity/time to stop. I once came close, but that was just after it closed sometime around 2005. I believe it briefly re-opened at some point in late 2007 or early 2008, but closed for good before I visited again.
In the late Summer of ’09, I was in the area and thought that I would ride by the property to see if anything remained. Sadly, only the main structure and some sparse decorations survived. Several people in a nearby diner told me that the building was scheduled for demolition (oh, the irony!). I imagine that it is completely gone by now, but I don’t have any confirmation of that.
I love your comments. Have you been to the ATC or a similar restaurant? Tell me below!
On a side note ….
I have always admired “urban exploration” enthusiasts who get those great shots of abandoned buildings and factories etc.,. I’m such a scaredy cat that I imagine one of the following happening if I ever attempt my own urban explorations:
a) I would be arrested, convicted , and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor for domestic terrorism – all for my (sure to be poorly composed) picture of a broken window and some graffiti
b) I would stand an unacceptable chance of being devoured by green, bloodthirsty, foaming-at-the-mouth, roaming Zombies
c) I would fall through rotted flooring and perish (slowly and painfully) in the moldy basement of some ancient insane asylum that I thought was really “cool-looking” just minutes prior to my plunge.
So, I’m obviously not much of what one would label a risk taker. The abandoned ATC seemed pretty safe and harmless. It’s along a busy four lane and bordered by a Home Depot and similar retail spaces. It was broad daylight. What could possible happen to our heroine?
Well, I was on the ATC property no longer than 10 minutes — and actually preparing to leave once I took one last photo of the restaurant sign at the end of the driveway. I noticed a dark blue car driving slowly from behind the building (where I had been parked just minutes prior). Yep, you guessed it! It was the local Five-Oh coming after yours truly!
Luckily, he was greatly intimidated by my imposing figure and mannerisms …. he let me go with a stern, “Take your pictures, Lady. Then scram”
He wouldn’t even pose for a picture with me
You can’t visit Air Transport Command anymore … but here are some other airport-themed establishments. Let me know if you go to one!
I believe that this is the company who owned the ATC at one point – Specialty Restaurants. It appears that they still have some airport venues in business.