The 14K Kitchen
If you’ve been a long-time member of the Skydive Midwest community, you’re probably painfully aware, for many years, packing a lunch was the only way to get a meal around the drop zone. It was a dark time for us all. Food and beverages are the perfect compliment to a long day spent at the dropzone and the addition of sustenance has been LONG overdue. In 2021, The 14K Kitchen opened for business. Locals, staff and customers have been overjoyed; their days of starvation are finally over. We are incredibly proud to be home to The 14K Kitchen and its owner, Kristen Beasley. We’d like to take a moment to highlight the vision and hard work of the incredible woman who has filled our hearts and bellies!
Following her service in the US Army, Kristen began skydiving and working as a parachute packer in 2015. After moving around a bit, she eventually ended up taking the position as Lead Packer at Skydive Midwest. She immediately fell in love with the drop zone and the community and decided to make SDMW her summer home.
Like most skydivers working in the Midwest, Kristen has spent her winters traveling to warmer places. After working at numerous drop zones around the nation it became apparent to her that Skydive Midwest was missing something pretty obvious- a café with quick food.
During the many long hot days packing parachutes and dreaming of a hot lunch on the ride to 14,000 feet, the idea of The 14K Kitchen was finally born. Kristen brought her idea to Keith and Megan (the owners of Skydive Midwest) and they were absolutely thrilled. Kristen was exactly the type of motivated, driven, person they had been waiting for to champion the project. They immediately supported her business plan and gave Kristen permission to make her dreams come true, on location, at Skydive Midwest.
“It's so incredibly rare to find people who are self-motivated and brave enough to actually go out and pursue their dreams. Especially, starting something from the ground up. We’ve had so many people over the years come to us with the idea of starting a restaurant at SDMW and never follow through. When Kristen approached us, we just knew, she would be the one to actually do it. We are so inspired by watching her succeed and proud to call her a friend.”
-Megan George (Owner, Skydive Midwest)
Kristen began saving money and doing months of research. Eventually, she found a business in Ohio that made custom food trucks and designed the perfect truck for her needs. As the food truck took off, Kristen soon had another realization. After living in Wisconsin for a few years, the missing puzzle piece was obvious- 14K needed BEER. Once again, she saved money and did more research. In the end, she found herself in possession of a liquor license. **Sounds of champagne falling from the heavens** The 14K Kitchen has been proudly serving a variety of beer, handcrafted cocktails, mocktails and more. (Our favorite is the Lavender Lemonade). She also offers champagne packages to both skydivers and locals who want to celebrate something special. What could be better than ending a beautiful day of skydiving with a full stomach and an ice-cold drink? (Alcohol can only be consumed after skydiving, of course).
It's a great spot for the local community too. You can stop in to enjoy lunch and a beer with a view! 14K offers front row spectating of the landing area and runway at Sylvania airport. Plenty of picnic table seating and an 80ft observation deck to relax and enjoy food and beverages. If you’re a local aviator, this is a great fly-in location! You can fuel up and stop by for a hot sandwich or fresh smoothie while watching parachutes and other aircraft coming in to land.
Kristen has really elevated her menu with fresh and premium ingredients. It beats the pants off of your average sandwich shop with ingredients like goat cheese, avocado, roasted bell peppers, sun dried tomato pesto, red pepper aioli… to name a few of the things that make our mouths water.
“Cooking, for me, is a love language. Food makes people happy. I strive to come up with unique and delicious recipes for my Paninis, Salads and Breakfast Menu while emphasizing the use of the freshest ingredients and most eco-friendly products I can find.”
-Kristen Beasley (Owner, 14K Kitchen)
As a final brag on our friend, we’d like to mention 14K Kitchen is the official caterer for SDMW events. In 2022, Kristen took on the daunting task of creating a menu, table decorations, supplying food, and offering bar service at the awards ceremony and banquet for the USPA Skydiving National Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive Midwest. Serving almost 100 competitors, judges, staff and local community members proves there’s nothing this woman can’t do.