Family Fun at Hangar 38

by Tallahassee Table

Hangar 38 certainly seems to fill a gap in Tallahassee. We were there on a recent Saturday night and the place is a kids’ haven, with bowling, lots of arcade games and the opportunity to win prizes. But Hangar 38 was also built with parents in mind.

There’s a contemporary, 190-seat dining area with a full bar that includes beer from local breweries Proof, Ology and Deep Brewing Co., and there’s a happy hour Monday to Friday afternoon, plus for the next couple months at least, live music is scheduled for Thursday and Saturday nights.

 The menu caters to both adults and kids. Playing on the airplane theme, it features a kids’ menu called Flight School, for kids 12 and under, with a list of seven items, including pizza, burger, chicken tenders with a side and a drink for under $8. I think the whole menu is reasonably priced, good thing for parents who could be pouring money into the entertainment portion of the evening.

Photo: Hangar 38

 For adults, choices include salads, sushi, burgers, wings, pizza, five entrees and a few dishes dubbed “lighter fare” as well as several sides and starters.

Popular items are marked with an asterisk. We began with one of these, the shepherd’s pie egg rolls for $8. These are as decadent as they sound, two crisp egg rolls, sliced in half, filled with ground beef, peas, corn and mashed potatoes. On the side there’s a small serving of a “bacon gravy dipping sauce.” Was it an overindulgence? Sure. But it was pretty darn good.

You could easily graze on the starters, which include deep-fried ribs, ahi tuna nachos, a charcuterie board and fish dip.

 My husband liked his LAX BLT on the “Handhelds” list. The buttery toasted sourdough sandwich was packed with panko fried avocado, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, bacon, roasted red pepper and a garlic crema, with a large portion of French fries for $11.50.

I tried the shrimp scampi, an item on the lighter fare menu, for $13.50. It featured a half-dozen shrimp, perfectly cooked, in a big bowl of pasta in a pesto linguine that could have used a little more flavor. We were too full to try dessert, but I’m sure kids will want to share a brownie and ice cream with the folks.

 When you enter the venue, you’ll be greeted by eight bowling lanes, and behind them are 12-foot screens showing sports and music videos. I don’t think recreational bowlers will care that the lanes slightly shorter of the standard 60 feet. The lanes were all full on our visit with both adults and younger players.

There were also lots of kids trying the rows of arcade games, which include old-fashioned pinball machines. Kids can trade tickets for prizes.

If all this sounds like sensory overload, it can be. We could hear the thrum of arcade machines while eating but we left before the live music started, and we weren’t overwhelmed. If you have young kids, this is part of the territory.

The idea for Hangar 38 came when three friends were playing golf and they “struck up a conversation” about the lack of a family entertainment center in Northeast Tallahassee. The idea might have been easily forgotten by some friends, but these three were businessmen Keith Paniucki, Johnny Lee and Manny Arisso, partners in Blu Halo in Bannerman Crossing and N2 Sweets ice cream shop in Midtown, and they get things done. Hangar 38 opened in April in the former location of New Leaf Market on Thomasville Road.

The center, with its high open ceiling, looks like an airplane hangar and since the center has a helicopter hangar in its parking lot, the name was a natural. The 38 represents the three founders’ families with a total of eight kids.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Happy hour is 3:50 to 6:50 p.m. Monday to Friday.  6668 Thomasville Rd.; 850-999-2606.

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