Air­plane-themed restau­rant opens

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHOU LIHUA in­Wuhan andHOULIQIANG in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at zhouli­hua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The first air­plane-themed restau­rant in China proved a big hit after it opened re­cently in­Wuhan, cap­i­tal of Hubei province, the owner said.

Lo­cated in­side a re­tired Boe­ing 737 air­craft, Lily Air­lines restau­rant gives its din­ers the feel­ing of be­ing on­board a flight. “Pas­sen­gers” must ob­tain their bill, which is printed on a replica flight ticket, be­fore they pass down the aisle into the cabin. All wait­ers and wait­resses are dressed to re­sem­ble air hosts and hostesses.

Opened on Fri­day, the re­tired air­craft got a wa­ter can­non salute, as if it had made a vir­gin flight on a new route.

“I didn’t ex­pect it to be so pop­u­lar,” said Li Lang, owner of the restau­rant. He said they set amax­i­mum­daily ser­vice limit of 150 guests. “It will be be­yond our abil­ity to serve more than 200 din­ers,” he said.

The restau­rant has a ca­pac­ity of 78 peo­ple, with 19 ta­bles. Only those who have a VIP mem­ber­ship card can call to make a reser­va­tion, while those with­out have to wait in the “de­par­ture hall” if there are no seats avail­able. There is an 800-yuan ($120) de­posit fee, which goes to­ward fu­ture din­ing bills, for those want­ing to ob­tain a VIP mem­ber­ship card.

With four for­eign chefs, the

restau­rant.

restau­rant of­fers five va­ri­eties of set meals, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can, Ger­man and French cui­sine, de­pend­ing on the “air route”, which changes. The price of the set meals ranges from 158 yuan to 398 yuan.

A woman sur­named Chen said she trav­eled more than 30 kilo­me­ters to eat at the restau­rant. “I came be­cause my son re­ally likes air­planes. It’s a pity that we have to wait un­til next month to ex­pe­ri­ence the sim­u­la­tion cock­pits.”

As the founder of a land­scape en­gi­neer­ing com­pany, Li is a big fan of ve­hi­cles and ma­chin­ery, and is cur­rently ap­ply­ing for a pi­lot li­cense.

Li said he got the idea of open­ing the restau­rant after see­ing an air­plane-themed ho­tel four years ago in Swe­den. After fail­ing to find a suit­able air­craft in China, Li bought the re­tired air­craft from In­done­sia for 35 mil­lion yuan.

It took four months and cost 3 mil­lion yuan to trans­port the air­craft back to China, and was dis­man­tled eight times in the process.

The name of the restau­rant is ho­mophonous with Li’s fam­ily name and his wife’s given name.

Li said he gave the restau­rant its name as it is a gift to his wife, who chose to marry him at a time when he had fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

“When we got mar­ried, we didn’t hold a wed­ding ban­quet and I didn’t even buy a wed­ding ring for her,” he said.

CHEN ZHUO / FOR CHINA DAILY

An aerial view of the plane restau­rant in Wuhan, cap­i­tal of Hubei province.

CHEN ZHUO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Servers dressed as flight crew mem­bers pour drinks for cus­tomers in the air­plane-themed

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