French Valley Café, Home of the $100 Hamburger

After eleven years on the runway, French Valley Café continues to captivate customers with its uniqu...

French Valley CafeAfter eleven years on the runway, French Valley Café continues to captivate customers with its unique airport ambiance and famed food. Situated in the French Valley airport with its windows facing the tarmac, this little spot essentially offers breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and a show.

Watching planes while enjoying a meal is not something most people have the chance to check out everyday. In offering consistent service and quality food, French Valley Café has built a solid reputation among the aviation industry making it a desired destination for flights and families alike.

Pilots from Camp Pendleton, San Diego, and all over often make a midday trip simply for a taste of French Valley’s famous one-hundred dollar hamburger. While the popular hamburger itself is actually reasonably priced, it is the cost of the trip to try such a fabulous burger that makes the meal more pricey, yet still worth every penny.

In addition to their hearty hamburgers, the café makes all of their homemade soups and sauces from scratch using only the highest quality ingredients. Owner and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Darci Castillejos, says that supporting the community is important to her. She works to achieve this by sourcing the restaurant’s fresh bread from a local bakery and many of their fruits and veggies from local produce vendors whenever possible.

Along with supporting smaller vendors, Darci strives to give back to the community in more ways than one. She works with the Murrieta and Temecula school districts by providing them with twelve gift certificates each month to use as a reward system for their students of the month.

As an active member of the Navy Reserve herself, Darci is proud to support the US military. French Valley Café offers a 10% discount to any military personnel in uniform, including local law enforcement as well. “We actually get a lot of pilots in uniform, coming in for lunch from Pendleton,” she shares, “which is an added bonus for diners who get to see military aircraft up close right out on the tarmac.”

Primarily a family focused restaurant it is these novelties that keep kids and parents coming back. In an effort to help families out, children eat free on Tuesday nights from 4:00 pm until close. While six days a week French Valley fosters a family atmosphere, Darci reveals, “Wednesdays we pretend to be a bar for one night a week.” Offering karaoke from 8:00 pm until midnight, and a fully stocked bar, Wednesdays are for adult fun.

French Valley Cafe
French Valley Cafe
One might assume a restaurant located in an airport would start out something of a goal or dream, but for Darci it was more happenstance than anything else. In 2000 the Riverside County Economic Development Agency contacted her with an offer she could not refuse.

They needed a restaurant built and were willing to fund two thirds of the cost by means of an economic grant. Since she had a background in banking and previous experience running the Bomb Shelter Restaurant over at Perris Airport, she decided to give it a shot.

Now, eleven years later she attributes the café’s success to more than just its location. A majority of their business comes from the repeat customers she has built a loyal relationship with. She listens to her customers and watches carefully, if a menu item isn’t moving then they change up their selection and try something new.

While she admits, “I love working with people,” she also claims, “I’m a numbers person at heart. It’s part of what has kept us successful in this economy, paying close attention to the books.”

And so it would seem, the combination of comfort food classics, an awesome ambiance, and brilliant business smarts makes for one successful venture.

French Valley Cafe
French Valley Café
37552 Winchester Rd
Hangar 81202
Murrieta, CA 92563
951.600.7396

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Post a Comment

  1. Awesome place to check out if you haven't great food, service and atmosphere. One of my favorite stops for breakfast and lunch with a great view of the planes and runway.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why don't seniors get a 10% discount? There is a very large population of senior citizens in the area and a lot of pilots are seniors.

    ReplyDelete

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