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Bev Brehm owns Sky House Bar and Grill in the Medford airport with her husband, Jason. The restaurant opened Tuesday, giving travelers their first full-service dining establishment in three years. “From the response we’ve had so far, people seem happy with the menu choices,” said co-owner Bev Brehm. - Jim Craven

Full-service restaurant now cleared for takeoff

Jason and Bev Brehm (the spelling of this name has been corrected throughout the story) might argue that it's easier to get a Cessna off the ground than to launch a new airport restaurant these days.

After 81/2 months of planning, consulting, meeting, revamping and waiting, Sky House Bar and Grill finally took flight this week.

The Medford airport's first full-service restaurant since the Red Baron flew off into the sunset in February 2006 operates on both sides of the airport's security gates, providing food and drink from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Bev Brehm says a combination of federal, state, county, city and Transportation Safety Administration requirements dragged out the proceedings.

"Everyone has to work together to create the environment we have," says Bev Brehm, who originally hoped to be up and running in March.

A grand opening is slated for Friday, and the Brehms hope the restaurant's signs will be up in time.

The 5,100-square-foot operation takes up half of the upper level on the north end of the new terminal building with a service area of 3,800 square feet. Sky House accommodates 106 passengers who have cleared security and 126 in the public area.

A special revolving "sally port" allows for food to leave the kitchen area, but allows nothing to re-enter because of security requirements, she says. "Any plate that would return goes into the trash."

Airport Director Bern Case said he's glad the airport now can serve hot food and libations to passengers who have passed through the security checkpoint for the first time in a decade.

"What's really nice is that we can serve both passengers and non passengers from the same kitchen," Case said. "Even prior to 9/11 it was difficult once you had gone through screening to come out."

The Brehms operated Jet Fuel Cafe in the old terminal, but were limited on several accounts. Views of the runway were blocked by the jetway connectors and there was no access for passengers after they were screened by TSA.

"We had a lot of requests for a full-service breakfast," she says.

An expanded lunch menu is followed by dinner offerings featuring Jason Brehm's family recipes for prime rib, chicken fettucini, Greek meatballs and stuffed chicken breasts.

"From the response we've had so far," she says, "people seem happy with the menu choices."

Sky House Bar and Grill will validate one-hour, short-term parking lot tickets with a minimum purchase of $20 in the public dining area.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

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