Hangar17 Restaurant Review by Kristen & Guy
There are times when you want to get dressed up, go to a nice restaurant and have an expensive meal. And then there are times when you just need to chill and grab a drink after a tough day at work. On those days, you want to head to Hangar 17. The bar and grill boasts traditional American food like burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads but in an ultra-cool atmosphere. The building is a real airplane hanger that's a certified historic building in Sacramento. It was used in the 1940's to house military supplies, and these days it houses six TV's that play nonstop sports, two patios (one in front, one in back) and a full bar that spans the entire length of the restaurant.
On a recent trip to Hangar 17, we were lucky enough to meet brothers James and Chris Lombardi who are two of the three owners of the place (Joe Madrid, a college buddy, is the third). Although they all met while working in the restaurant biz during their time at Sac State, they point out that Hangar 17 is more of a gathering place for the 30's and 40's crowd.
When it comes to the food, the menu features some traditional grille items with some great culinary twists. We started with the panko crusted prawns which are flash fried and served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Hands down the best appetizer I've had in a long time. We also ordered the margherita pizza from the happy hour menu (check out happy hour from 4 to 6pm weekdays), and the wedge salad… which was definitely a step up from your ordinary slice of iceberg lettuce. Guy ate the crunchy lettuce while I scooped up the blue cheese crumbles, bacon bits, candied walnuts and tomatoes.
I'm trying to eat healthy these days and was pleasantly surprised to see a handful of good looking salads along with some pretty light sandwiches on the menu (the back side features what I call 'Man Food' including the heart stopper burger… use your imagination). I opted for the grilled salmon salad with mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and citrus vinaigrette. The salmon was perfectly seasoned and was fabulous paired with the orange, walnuts and cranberries. Being the 'creature of habit' that I am, I will likely order the exact same thing next time I visit 'the hangar'.
Those calories I saved on the salad were spent on dessert. We shared their two featured desserts…the big cheese brulee (crème brulee-flavored cheese cake) and the chocolate thunder cake. Yum! My advice… wrap up that report you're writing, grab the crew at the office, and head to Hangar 17 quick. Before happy hour is over!
I know it's cliche to say it, but paraphrasing that hit show from the 80's-- Hangar 17 is truly a place where everyone knows your name. And that was exactly the intent of the owners, brothers James and Chris Lombardi, and college friend Joe Madrid. These 3 guys got together and decided what Sacramento needed was a comfortable neighborhood "joint" where friends could congregate, eat good food offered at reasonable prices, and drink and share stories after work. This bar and grill (which is actually an old quonset hut used to store old military supplies) has become one of the city's most popular places to meet and greet, especially for Happy Hour between the hours of 4 and 6pm. Stroll in during that period of time and you'll be treated to drink specials and half-off select appetizers. But if heartier fare is what you need, look no further than their impressive menu. One look and you'll see that these guys (Chris has chef duties) are all about the beef. The menu boasts no less than 8 unique hamburgers. Anything from plain and siimple (The Original) to spicy (Tex-Mex-- fried jalapenos,pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo) to button-popping (The Heart Stopper-- two 1/2 pound patties, 3 slices of cheese, bacon, a pile of pastrami and two fried eggs!) Being the California boy that I am, I chose the burger with the avocado in it (The Works-- with bacon and blue cheese crumbles.) I'm not ashamed to say that I ate the whole thing and cleaned my plate of all the delicious french fries as well. Talk about button-popping! If burgers aren't your thing, then check out the dozen or so more entrees on the menu. For the health concious there's the Grilled Salmon Salad (mixed greens, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and citrus vinaigrette.) For the traditionalist there's some nice twists on old favorites like the Patty Melt and the Pastrami Sandwich (piled high!) And more for the meat lovers-- the New York Steak and Garlic Fries. One thing is for sure, you won't go away from Hangar 17 hungry. So come on down for some great conversation, a beer and some spicy buffalo wings. Or congregate with your friends (old and new) on the back patio watching the game on the outdoor TV Or meet for an after dinner cup of java and a piece of their Big Cheese Brulee or Chocolate Thunder Cake. Hangar 17 is a friendly place where the good times soar.