The restaurant was a second career for Richard, who
retired from the Air Force “after a career spent jumping
out of airplanes,” he recalls. He hung up a few aviation
pictures to give the nearly-airport-based restaurant some
flair, but he didn’t intend for it to turn into a miniature
“That happened by accident,” he says. “There was a
Boeing engineer who worked across the street and used to
come in here. He was retiring and said he had some model
airplanes that I might like. Those are the ones that you see
over the cash register.”
That innocent exchange started a trend of customers
bringing in photographs, models, squadron patches, and
even aircraft parts. The models are the most noticeable.
They range from airliners to ultralights and hang from the
ceiling and are placed on shelves and in glass cases.
“Every now and then, someone will come in and tell
me about the airplane they used to fly and ask me why I
don’t have one of them,” Richard says. “Then I have to go
out and find one of their models.”
One of the most popular models is the Memphis Belle,
the B- 17 that was the first to complete 25 missions in
Europe during World War II and then return to the United
States. The model was signed by the late Col. Bob Morgan,
who as Capt. Morgan piloted the famous Flying Fortress.
“He and his wife came in together, and they were very
nice people,” says Richard, gesturing to a signed photo
that is on the wall behind the counter. “It’s fair to say that
history comes in here!”
Other famous visitors include pilot Dick Rutan and
retired astronaut-turned-Museum of Flight Executive
Director Bonnie Dunbar. The museum is a few blocks
north of Randy’s.
“When the museum is busy, the restaurant gets busy,”
says Karin Binkely, whose name tag reads “Ole #7,” which
is a comment on her somewhat acerbic wit.
Originally from the Bavarian Alps, she swaps jokes
Lucia and Richard Roadenizer spend most of their time at the
restaurant, which has become a Seattle landmark.
A model of the Memphis Belle, which just may be the most famous
B- 17 in the world, hangs over the lunch counter. The model bears
the autograph of Col. Bob Morgan, the pilot of the Belle.
Some of the items, such as parts from crashed aircraft, are
carefully displayed in model cases along with placards that tell the
story of each piece.