The Money Burger from Chef Stuart Stein:
BlueSkies Grille, Hampton Roads Executive Airport, Norfolk, Virginia (KPVG)

4:02 PM

By Chef Stuart Stein

Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG) is a fantastic example of a thriving general aviation complex. This non-towered airport has crossing runways, full serve and self-serve fueling facilities and a recently opened $2 million, 6,300 square foot executive terminal building. Located 7 miles southwest of the heart of downtown Norfolk and having access to the interstate freeway system makes it the perfect reliever airport for Norfolk International (KORF).

Steve Fox and Andy Gibbs, the principals of Virginia Aviation Associates, L.L.C., bought the airport through bankruptcy proceedings in May 2000. As pilots, these business men are committed to airport growth and improvement. Fox and Gibbs expanded from 300 acres to 634 acres, built a new terminal building and actively recruited aviation related businesses. These guys are just getting started. KPVG is currently in the process of constructing a new 5,350 foot east-west runway, converting the existing runway 10/28 to a taxiway and installing an ILS.

One flourishing business that seems to be the heart and soul of Hampton Roads Executive is Karen Singletry‘s BlueSkies Grille. Over the last ten years Karen, with her daughter Lauren and son Jarred, have fashioned a relaxing and friendly place to refuel and plane watch. A recently remolded patio facing the runways contains Adirondack patio chairs, bright blue umbrellas and white picnic tables. Inside vibrant red upholstered chairs and booths give this place an urban diner look. It just feels clean and inviting.
Ambience aside, patrons come for the view, the cuisine and Karen’s hospitality. Every one of the 40 seats gazes out on to the south flight line and runway 10/28. Cessna 172s, Piper Cherokees and an odd Cessna 336 in-line twin frequently pass by the window. A & Ps from Lear Steven’s Aviation next door float in and out throughout the day grabbing a piece of pie d’jour and a cup of coffee. Various hanger rats invariably stop by just to say “hi” to Karen.
BlueSkies is only open for lunch and serves a simplistic diner-like menu. Four categories dominate: Soup & Chili, Salads, Sandwiches & Franks and Desserts. Barely two dozen items in total. This place isn’t about local farmer produce, pasture-raised hand massaged cows or just off the boat fish. In fact there isn’t a piece of fresh fish offered. What BlueSkies is about is executing a limited short-order menu with grace and a smile.
The Lode Star Burger ($5.99), named after the WWII Lockhead C-60, is a solid ¼-pound beef patty topped with the regular fix’ns. It’s not pretentious, not fancy and not at all greasy. It is tasty. The Mile-High Club ($6.99) is an expanded version of their Turkey Sandwich ($6.49). It stacks alternate layers of sliced pre-purchased turkey and ham with crisp bacon and American cheese. The classic doesn’t break any new ground but does satisfy. The Grilled Chicken Salad ($7.29) has warm strips of grilled to order chicken breast over fresh chopped green leaf lettuce. Olives, red onions and tomatoes are nestled among the greens. Again, we’ve seen this before but somehow the bright, airy and sunny room makes it taste special.
While many menu items saw a can opener, BlueSkies’ Chili ($4.99) and Soup of the Day – Chicken noodle on this visit ($3.99 - $4.99) – were definitely made from scratch. Hearty offerings but it’s what the body craves in winter. “Today’s Desserts” selections are worth the trip. On this occasion Karen offered Banana Cream Pie ($3.49) and Apple Pie a la mode ($3.99). These were not made on premise but who cares. Yummy is yummy no matter the origin. The apple was decadently, gooey sweet while the banana cream had a dense, rich custard. In a word, delicious.

BlueSkies is a place you want to like and Karen and her staff make it easy. It isn’t the best diner food. It doesn’t have the widest selection of items. It doesn’t even have the best view of the airstrip. BlueSkies does have something elusive, something intangible. Call it a feeling, a vibe; a certain je ne sais quoi. Whatever you call “it”, it keeps newcomers coming and regulars coming back.

Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG)
Elevation: 23 ft. / 7.0 m (surveyed)
Zip code: 23321
Sectional chart: Washington
Control tower: no
ARTCC: Washington Center
FSS: Leesburg FSS
Wind indicator: lighted
Segmented circle: no
Runways: 02/20 3,525 x 70ft. and 10/28 4,057 x 70ft
Traffic Pattern: 677 ft. AGL for helicopters, 1,223 MSL for multiengine aircraft
& turbine aircraft, 1,023 MSL for light aircraft
Right Pattern for runway 10 & 20
Lights: Dusk-Dawn, ACTVT MIRL RYS 02/20 & 10/28 - CTAF.
WX AWOS-3: 118.375 (757-465-2175)

BlueSkies Grille
5172 West Military Highway #D
Chesapeake, VA 23321
Phone: (757) 405-3313
Open Monday - Sunday 11:00AM - 2:30PM

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