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 by John Clarizio 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.