The airport is a destination. Walk into the THRA terminal on a typical day and you’ll feel the energy. Glance up and you’ll see planes criss-cross the tarmac and fill the airspace above. Each corner of the property hums with activity, whether it’s a collegiate flight program, business or military installation. On a drive to the airport, new businesses shine and others are under construction. There’s a buzz on the east side of Terre Haute. Someone’s getting ready to add to that buzz at THRA – with fresh-roasted local coffee and a home-style breakfast and lunch menu. Meet Jesie Galion and the Fly-in Cafe.
Jesie Galion (that’s correct, one ‘s’) was born in Terre Haute. Her family moved away for a few years when she was young. Then she came back and graduated from Terre Haute South in 2005. Following a decade of hard work and advancement in the corporate world (and living the corporate life of relocation and uncertainty), she found herself looking back home – to Terre Haute. Actually, maybe Terre Haute came looking for her.
It was Jesie’s father who, when flying his small airplane through Terre Haute one day, found out that there was a cafe for lease with big, broad windows facing the tarmac and runways of Terre Haute Regional Airport. Jesie’s dad struck up a conversation with airport executive director Jeff Hauser to find out more. This was October 15th. By November 20th, Jesie had put in her two weeks notice and Fly-in Cafe was in the works.
Her corporate job had taken her to Galesburg, Illinois, with her husband still back in Indiana. Her dad saw the strain of such an arrangement. And he knew of his daughter’s talents, including kitchen skills which came naturally. “Grampa was a marine. He expected three square meals a day. Home-cooked. And that’s what grandma did!,” says Jesie. Jesie and her dad have followed the example grandma set with their penchant for home-cooking, cake decorating and an appreciation of the bonds created over a good meal.
Jesie is breatheless with excitement over the opportunity. “It feels like a homecoming. It was a great feeling walking in that room the first time,” she says.
So, what will it be like? Jesie promises home-style meals. Biscuits, sausage gravy, chicken and noodles, Italian beef sandwiches…even a family favorite or two that will surprise and delight. And Rex Coffee. Local roaster of note, Rex Coffee, will produce Fly-in Cafe Blend. It will roast just before delivery. It will be a family affair, with Jesie handling cooking duties early on. “It will be fun reconnecting with old friends, having family close by (helping in the cafe, too) and bringing local flavor to the airport,” says Jesie. “It will be a great place to have a satisfying meal and watch the planes come and go.” It will be a destination.
The Fly-in Cafe is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. on January 2nd.