"I took some of my buddies here, to see if this was a crazy idea," Flight Path bar owner Dan Austin told me, as neighborhood folks starting trickling into his new place on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Boulevard Park. "We checked it out, and it was certainly run down, but had tons of potential. And then we stood outside and the planes flew overhead and it was just obvious it would be Flight Path."
Flight Path is Austin's new bar (with amazing food) that opened up a little more than a month ago in Boulevard Park. Not really Seattle, and not really Burien - this quirky and historic neighborhood is quickly filling up with families looking for a new place to call home.
It's no secret that Seattle is growing; up, sideways and more expensive by the day. In fact, Seattle has gained 22 new million dollar neighborhoods since 2014. But in Boulevard Park, you can still buy a home for less than $500,000. Just a few years ago, that price would have been dramatically less; and as the prices rise each day, Austin saw a chance to get into a neighborhood early, gaining loyal customers.
"There aren't a lot of really great places to just hang out in this neighborhood," he said. "We want to be a place where people can come and watch a Seahawks game, eat a really good burger, and drink a beer with friends. We want to cater to the neighborhood folks and to everyone working in the aviation industry down here."
In fact, Austin is offering a 10 percent discount to all airline and Boeing employees! (Just bring your badge, folks.)
Flight Path inhabits a building that has had a storied and colorful past. It was formerly a bar called Wayne's World (ironically, named after John Wayne, not the movie - but that's a story for another day), and before that, it was another bar named Flight Path Inn. The building has been completely remodeled, with beautiful tables made out of restored Boeing shipping crates, fans made from plane propellers, and boasts the "World's Largest Pac-Man game."
Austin started out in the restaurant industry as a 15-year-old washing dishes, was promoted to cook, and rose through the ranks, becoming a consultant for restaurant chains. He finally decided it was time to own his own restaurants, and opened Peel and Press in West Seattle. Flight Path is now his second restaurant and he has worked 90 hour weeks over the last seven months to get it open to the public.
"I have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old," he told me. "And my wife is a nurse who leaves for work at 6:15 in the morning. I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately."
But that lack of sleep certainly doesn't show in the delicious food at Flight Path. I was expecting the standard bar fare, but instead was served some of the best street tacos I've had at a restaurant in Seattle. The nachos are perfect, and the burgers will fill you up for days. And here's one of the best parts: they serve their full menu until 10:00, but will keep serving paninis until the doors close! (This nearly saved my life on a night with too many vodka/sodas.)
Austin plans on expanding to a brunch menu in September, as well as a special aviation-themed cocktail list.
"It's going really well so far," he said. "Better than expected! We're just striving to be a safe, clean place for neighbors. We feel really optimistic."