From weddings to family gathering to corporate events, Cleveland’s The Aviator makes the magic

Aviator Wedding
The Aviator has a phenomenal team of professionals who focus on the design process and execution of the event, especially weddings.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

At age 30, Khadar Soussou of The Aviator is almost certainly the youngest event center owner in the region. But that’s not a surprise. He’s a natural host. He’s having a good time only when you’re having a good time.

“Being a family-owned business ourselves, we get the most joy out of seeing other families enjoying themselves, celebrating milestones, making memories,” Khadar says. “That’s especially true around the holidays when we have so many parties and events where guests are relaxed and enjoying themselves instead of being stressed out about having to plan the party themselves.”

Khadar owns the center along with entrepreneur Tony G. Di Fiore and the Rababy family.

Although The Aviator is widely known for gorgeous, fairy tale weddings, the center also hosts many other events—from family celebrations to corporate gatherings. And the key to its success is its one-stop-shop philosophy. “We really do take care of everything,” Khadar says. “From the right space to the decorations, food, photography, DJ, flowers. All you have to do is invite people.”

The Aviator also creates magic for corporate events and conferences.

Khadar and his staff stay focused on execution, ensuring your event unfolds exactly as planned. “We have a phenomenal team of professionals who focus on the design process and execution of the event, especially weddings. We always try to say ‘yes.’ It’s your event and it should go just like you want it to, just like you dreamed it would, just like you planned it.”

The Aviator is extremely flexible thanks to four different event spaces that make it easy to host your customized event of any size. These include the 6,000-square-foot, 400-person ballroom; the 120-person Gabriella’s Space; the oak wood Maria’s Place, which can host events up 70 guests; and Sophia’s Room, perfect for family celebrations, and meetings of up to 40 people.

“Don’t worry,” Khadar says. “We’ll work closely with you to choose the space perfect for your event.”

The holiday season is a popular time for engagements, which make January a popular time for wedding planning. But you might not want to wait too long to plan. “We’re already booking into 2025,” Khadar cautions. “So the sooner you contact us the better.”

Various-sized event spaces means The Aviator can host any size wedding, large or small.

Dining at The Aviator
Of course, you don’t have to get married or host an event to enjoy The Aviator. The Pub & Restaurant and Rooftop Bar & Lounge (in season) are open to the public. And right now, Khadar and his team are introducing some new fall menu items.

“Since we opened, our Smash Burgers have been, well, a smash hit,” Khadar says. “So the new fall menu features what we call the Gladiator Smash. It’s perfectly smashed all-beef patties, spicy capicola, fried mozzarella, banana peppers and chipotle mayo. It’s so good.”

For both events and in the restaurant, The Aviator’s Braised Short Rib has been the number one menu item, so the team is putting a fun spin on it to make a shareable. It’s a dip.

“That’s right,” Khadar says. “Our BBQ Short Rib Dip is house-braised short rib, Kowboy Kandy, a three-cheese blend, and salted crostini. Come join us.”

The Aviator also hosts an “aggressive” Happy Hour Monday through Friday.

The Aviator Event Center & Pub is at 20920 Brookpark Road in Cleveland next to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. For reservations or to schedule a tour of the facility, call 216-770 5300 or visit