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New airport cafe is taking off

While one might assume an airport eatery's obvious specialty would be wings, one bite of the featured 'Flight Deck burger' puts that notion to rest

The Flight Deck Cafe has found its niche at North Bay's Jack Garland Airport and as word spreads about their tasty offerings, sisters Shelley Dunsmore and Tracy Bissonnette are making preparations to take their business supersonic.

MP Anthony Rota, MPP Vic Fedeli, Mayor Peter Chirico, and various supporters gathered Friday afternoon for a grand opening celebration to congratulate the Flight Deck crew on their new venture.

While one might assume an airport eatery's obvious specialty would be wings, one bite of the featured "Flight Deck burger" puts that notion to rest. Dunsmore describes the concoction as having "a double grilled cheese," meaning the top and bottom pieces of the burger are each full-sized grilled cheese sandwiches. "The homemade burger patty goes in the middle, with bacon, four onion rings, Forty Creek barbecue sauce, tomato and lettuce.

"That is our specialty," she says proudly. "They are made on-site with some special spices. Everyone seems to be liking our burgers."

The menu is filled with traditional home-cooked diner fare, including breakfast, salads, sandwiches, wraps and poutine. A liquor licence is in the works.

Dunsmore says the inspiration to open the restaurant came after she dropped family members off at various times over the past couple of years and she really felt a comfortable establishment with fast, friendly service would go a long way. The Flight Deck now occupies the same space the Northern  Himalayan Cafe did before it was driven out of business during the COVID-19 pandemic and will soon operate from a new location in the 100 block of Main Street East.

"I had some ideas in my head then teamed up with my sister and we contacted the airport management and went from there," she says.

Just because the Flight Deck serves many travellers and the employees of the airport and nearby businesses, the team says locals should not be shy about contacting them about take-out, external catering needs or for a space to hold catered business functions at Jack Garland.

Both sisters have years of experience working in the service industry and Dunsmore says over the past two months they have been seeing quite a few of their regular customers from those days pop in for a bite thanks to the rapport they've formed. She says there is free parking for Flight Deck customers. While operating hours are set for the time being, Dunsmore expects to expand them as flights are added to the airport later this spring.

For more information on Flight Deck Cafe catering or hours, click here.

For the menu, click here.

The sisters are happy to work alongside Dunsmore's daughter Kailey Crawford who helps out on a part-time basis. Dunsmore says while the crew does all of the cooking, serving, and cleaning themselves, they also kept the naming of the restaurant in the family. Dunsmore's husband came up with "Flight Deck."

The team thanked all who stopped by to make the grand opening a special occasion. And, how's this for an endorsement? Two out of three politicians said Flight Deck's fries were the best in town.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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