The owners of Staci’s Catering are planning to take their business to new heights this summer when they open a sit-down restaurant at the Yakima Air Terminal.
If everything remains on schedule, Staci Sainsbury and Donnie Foster will be opening Reno’s On The Runway in the next couple of months inside the former Northwest Airlines Terminal.
“People love our food, but they haven’t had a chance to enjoy it in a place like this,” Foster said of the long-vacant building at the east end of the main runway. “The pilots really wanted this to happen, and we’re excited to bring them a healthy food option right here at the airport.”
Foster and Sainsbury had been talking to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) for the past two years about opening an eatery at 2012 S. 16th Ave., but the idea had gone dormant until last fall.
The couple had been working with the city of Yakima for months trying to secure the space, but when they didn’t hear back for an extended period of time, they assumed the deal was dead.
“We had kind of put the idea in the back of our minds, but then it just came up again all of a sudden,” Foster said. “The city told us we had been approved — that we were actually approved a while ago — so we started working on getting the place ready right away.”
City officials made a series of upgrades to the property, including fresh paint, fencing, gravel and railroad ties for the exterior. The city also provided tables, chairs and other fixtures for Staci’s Catering to use once the restaurant is up and running.
Foster and Sainsbury also have put a lot of work into the building, decorating the former terminal with model aircraft and historic photos from the McAllister Museum of Aviation.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the outdoor seating area that looks out over the runway.
“This is a one-of-a-kind thing that is really special for us and for Yakima,” Foster said. “We’ve lived here our whole lives and we think Yakima needs something like this.”
Foster and Sainsbury will continue to operate their catering business out of a kitchen on West Washington Avenue, not far from the new restaurant. They opened in 2012 and have been thinking about expanding their reach for a number of years.
“It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point, but things are going well,” Foster said. “It feels good to set goals and achieve them. Seven years later, here we are.”
Reno’s On The Runway will rely on favorites from the Staci’s Catering menu — including wraps, soups, sandwiches and a variety of prepared salads — and will feature a salad bar and soda fountain.
The restaurant may eventually offer grilled items, but in the beginning, all of the menu selections will be freshly made. Foster said the Staci’s Catering special is the Reno Sandwich — thin pork loin, muenster cheese and a homemade barbecue spread served on a fresh baguette.
“The Reno Sandwich is already famous,” he said. “We expect to sell a lot of those.”
Foster added that the restaurant will be filling a need in the neighborhood — not just for pilots and airport personnel, but also for Perry Technical Institute students and staff, plus a growing number of businesses along Washington Avenue.
“There aren’t many lunch options in this part of town, so we expect to be pretty busy,” he said. “People can either grab-and-go or come in and sit down. Spend 10 minutes or two hours — just come on by.”