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A Publication of WTVP

Not only is the food fabulous, but you can feel good about yourself no matter what you eat. Perfect Landing is the restaurant at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport and a wholly owned subsidiary of Peoria Area Association of Retarded Citizens (Parc). This was a first for the agency because it isn’t a program to put its clients to work. Its purpose is to furnish the funding to help them put their clients to work. “We must make a profit in order to increase the funding to make our programs possible,” said Polly Meagher, Parc vice president.

The restaurant employees aren’t necessarily current or former Parc clients, and the restaurant isn’t a Parc program, though it’s a partnership with the airport authority. An agency like Parc will always rely on public funding and volunteer fund-raisers, but a successful for-profit venture could supply steady revenue for the agency’s general fund. Perfect Landing opened a year and a half ago with two employees serving doughnuts and coffee. It’s since grown to six employees offering a full-service menu.

“You’ve got to have good customer service to make a profit in the restaurant business,” said Lola Broomfield, Perfect Landing manager. Due to so many requests, they’re now open at 5 a.m. to cater to early morning travelers.

The restaurant features a full breakfast menu from opening to closing, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., along with easy carryout breakfasts and lunches that include daily specials for hurried travelers. The deli is open until 5 p.m.—and later if traffic is heavy. As much as Meagher stresses the profit motive, the prices are reasonable: $5.95 for a special and $1.75 for a bagel and cream cheese.

You can also get some local fare like Butch’s Pizza and Lester’s Donuts. “We want to try to use local entrepreneurs whenever we can,” Meagher said. They’ve also created their own claim to fame with their homemade potato chips. They’re simply out of this world.

The airport has helped the agency remodel the restaurant’s layout, making it brighter and larger. The authority also allowed Parc to use equipment left over from the days when the airport ran the restaurant. A partnership like this forges new ways to fund a worthwhile agency like Parc and takes initiative from both parties. The success, or proof, is in the pudding. It’s my recommendation for a guilt-free meal. IBI

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