Airplane Inspiration and Airstream Americana

A small history of Airstreams and the serendipity that lead to Lion & Owl.

Kirsten and Crystal originally had the idea to bring a new food truck to Eugene after touring Europe and becoming enamored with the mobile chicken and potato rotisseries in France. It wasn’t until they stumbled across a 1977 Airstream for sale in Portland, outfitted with a full-service kitchen, that the concept of luxury brunch emerged from their memory bank of European meal experiences.

Inspiration for Lion & Owl came from the leisurely style of European dining, the whimsical nature of Eugene, the simplistic luxury of Airstream Americana and a pure passion for food and wine of the world and the Willamette Valley.

The concept of an Airstream came from designer William Hawley Bowlus who had worked on Charles Lindburgh’s Spirit of St. Louis. Airplanes inspired Bowlus to create his Bowlus Road Chief trailer, originally made of wood in the 1930’s. Instead of selling physical trailers, Bowlus sold plans on how to build his trailers in the back of Popular Mechanics magazine.

The lightweight build and sleek design earned these trailers places in institutions like NASA and the military. But in recent years, the airstream has become a nostalgic symbol of adventure, whimsy and luxurious simplicity. From NPR to Sunset Magazine to Forbes, stories of refurbished Airstreams and tips on how to live in them consistently sprinkle lifestyle media.