The Tin Goose Diner in Port Clinton combines three of my favorite things: breakfast, diners, and airplanes! The recently reopened diner is located in the Liberty Aviation Museum, which is in turn part of the active Erie-Ottawa International Airport, making it a delightful experience for enthusiasts of great breakfasts, diner culture, history, and aeronautics.
The Tin Goose Diner is a classic American diner space, from the countertops and flooring, to the booths and counter seats, to the stainless steel appliances and menu of hearty favorites.
The diner itself originated in New Jersey in 1951 and operated for decades as a restaurant before being purchased and reassembled in Ohio in 2012. Like the menu says, it really is a bit of living history.
We visited with a large group while on a family vacation to Lake Erie, and even though we overwhelmed them a bit, the team was friendly and welcoming, the coffee was hot, and the food came out blazing fast.
As a bit of a museum piece, the Tin Goose could have phoned in the food, but it truly is well-executed diner fare, with big portions and good seasoning. With a group our size, you can imagine we ordered a bit of everything, so here’s a short rundown.
First off: a big plate of biscuits and gravy with their house home fries, which were crispy and lightly salted.
Classic combos like golden brown pancakes with eggs and meat on the side.
Big omelets with your choice of three fillings and a side of home fries.
French toast dusted with powdered sugar.
The standard combination of eggs, meat, potatoes, and toast.
Plenty more omelets!
My choice was a rare find on diner menus around us: SOS, or Sh*t on a Shingle. The dish is creamed chipped beef on toast; it was popularized in military mess halls earlier in the 20th century. It’s served on an old school metal cafeteria tray with eggs and home fries.
When you’re done with breakfast, be sure to buy tickets to tour the Liberty Aviation Museum. (The diner and the museum share the same lobby.) The museum features two small hangars’ worth of historic displays (including fascinating pieces about the role of the Ford Trimotor in air service around Port Clinton and the Lake Erie islands), vintage aircraft, classic cars, boats, and other vehicles.
The vehicles on display are in marvelous shape.
The second hangar, which you walk outdoors to from the first, features a number of aircraft under restoration. You can see the volunteers actively working on them, including a Ford Trimotor they’re re-assembling.
All in all, the Tin Goose Diner and the Liberty Aviation Museum make a perfect pairing!
The Tin Goose Diner is open Thursday-Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on the Liberty Aviation Museum, visit libertyaviationmuseum.org.
To get more ideas about travel around Port Clinton and the surrounding area, visit our Lake Erie Islands travel page!