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Christmas Dinner Tradition 2011

Every year in December, we (my wife, kids and I) take out annual Christmas Dinner Tradition  trip to our favorite Christmastime restaurant: the 356th Fighter Group.

356th Fighter Group Restaurant
356th Fighter Group Restaurant


It’s a very original looking restaurant with a stucco exterior with chunks missing exposing the underlying bricks.  This creates the illusion that the building has weathered some hardships during a war.  Actually thinking clearly, this has to be one of the best theme-oriented restaurants that I’ve even been to.

Why this restaurant is our traditional Christmas Dinner Restaurant?

Much of it has to do with my childhood.  My family didn’t go out to eat much when I was a kids, but when my Aunt and Uncle from Delaware came over to visit, they treated us all to dinner.  My uncle had been to a restaurant similar to the 356th restaurant, and suggested that we go there.  At first I didn’t want to go (I think I was 8 or 9 years old), not really feeling comfortable going out to eat, since we didn’t do that much in my childhood.  But once my parents put their foot down, off I went.

The first unique feature of the restaurant I noticed as a kid was the parking lot had all of these old beat-up wartime vehicles, much like what they would have looked like if they were still active.

356th Fighter Group Parking lot


The things that really sold me on making this a Christmas Tradition was the fact that my kids got to watch the airplanes take off and land because the restaurant is beside an airport, and the cool headphones that you could listen to and hear the air traffic control center.  It was always neat to hear the air traffic controllers instruct the planes.  In the present though, the restaurant removed the headphones and stopped the listening to the air traffic controller communications though (perhaps because of security?).

The Restaurant Decor

The decor inside is as good as the exterior!  The restaurants have pieces of planes mounted to the ceiling, and tons of pictures from the war with the various captains and other such things from the past.  It’s like a different world!

356th fighter group sand bags
daughter with sand bags above



Not a very Frugal Christmas Dinner Tradition

Unlike many of the articles that I have written in the past, this is not a frugal experience.  The prices average over $20 per entrée, and while this isn’t horrible, it’s not cheap either.

When my wife and I were younger, we had a good time going to this restaurant, but I have to admit, I always would cringe once we got the bill.  Now that we have kids and are older, the prices seem more affordable.  I no longer cringe upon receiving the bill and overall enjoy the experience much better than I use to.

Our 2011 Christmas Tradition Dinner Experience

Snow would have been nice, but the drive on the way down to the restaurant, in the rain, while listening to Christmas music, was still enjoyable.  Even though it’s much more enjoyable seeing the planes take off with snow floating down from the sky, it was still pretty awesome and the kids seemed to enjoy it.

This year the restaurant had a musician perform.  He was a solo act, but was a good singer and played the piano very well!  It was a nice surprise.

So while the weather didn’t really add to the enjoyment, it was still a great experiences (as usual).

Happy Holidays,


5 Responses to Christmas Dinner Tradition 2011

    • Merry Christmas to you too!

      Some day, you’ll have to write about what it’s like having Christmas in Australia! I remember watch the Wiggles and then seeing Santa on the beach. I forgot that it’s very warm down there at Christmastime 🙂