A small eatery, the Lindaire Coffee Shop, was opened on the present "Spitfire Grill" site in 1954 by a young U.S. Air force Lieutenant who grew tired of hearing his fellow pilots complain there was “no place to dine” in the airport area. Breakfast and lunches were served to nearby Douglas Aircraft workers and employees of aviation related businesses at adjacent Clover Field. Sometime later, Lindaire Coffee Shop became the Kitty Hawk and Clover Field became the Santa Monica Airport.
The Kitty Hawk was acquired in 1991 and renamed the Spitfire Grill in homage of Santa Monica's aviation history. Clover Field was the base of operations of the Donald Douglas Aircraft factory located just northwest of the present runway.
From the late 1920s, The Douglas factory was a major supplier of commercial passenger planes as well as aircraft to the military and the Navy in particular. The Douglas complex in Santa Monica was so large that the mail girls used roller skates to deliver intracompany mail. During World War II, the entire factory was camouflaged to foil potential air attacks from Japanese warplanes. Among the many aircraft produced by Douglas were the famous DC-3 (A military version was called the C-47 Skytrain), B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-47 Stratojet under license from Boeing.
The eatery was remodeled in a 1940’s, Streamline Modern airplane style complete with a pilot’s cabin clubhouse. The Spitfire's interior was reminiscent of early Donald Douglas model DC series commercial aircraft and with expansion of the dining area in 1995, a distinct "bistro" feel emerged.
In 1996 writer/director Lee David Zlotoff, who had an office above the restaurant, wrote and directed a motion picture titled "The Spitfire Grill" starring Ellen Burstyn, Marcia Gay Harden, Allison Elliot and Will Patton. Although, fictionally set in a small rural town in Maine, the restaurant itself and some characters are based on the Owner and a veteran waitress were prominently featured in the film.
Today, the restaurant is filled with W.W.II military and Douglas Aircraft memorabilia, although the landmark Douglas factory was demolished in 1975 to make way for the Santa Monica Airport Business Park.
With the park, soccer has become a major influence on Spitfire as well.
3300 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 397-3455
Fax: (310) 397-4325
Hours: Monday - Sunday 7:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Happy Hour: Monday - Sunday 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM