One of my favorite fly-in destinations changes ownership and goes down the tubes.
The Kofa Cafe is gone. And I’m very unhappy about it.
The Kofa Cafe was one of my favorite fly-in meal destinations. About 50 nautical miles southwest of Wickenburg (bearing 240Ã‚Â° as per my GPS), it was a great place to fly for a burger, some good chicken fried steak, or an ice cream sundae. I’d land in the back, among the creosote bushes and pencil cholla, off the dirt road so I wouldn’t kick up so much dust with my rotor wash. I’d shut down and walk in. Because no windows looked out at the back, no one knew I’d arrived by helicopter. I’d have my meal, visit the ladies room, pay, and leave.
I wrote about my first landing at the Kofa Cafe in an article for wickenburg-az.com’s Day Trips section. I liked the restaurant’s big servings and down-to-earth atmosphere. I liked all the junk out on the front porch and in the yard. I liked eating with the truckers. I liked taking the helicopter someplace that wasn’t on an airport but didn’t get me in trouble. Three-Niner-Lima parked in the truck parking area the first time I visited the Kofa Cafe. The Cafe is the blue building.
The Kofa Cafe was for sale for years. No one wanted to buy it. Finally, the owners just packed up everything on the porch, locked the doors, and left. That was last spring. I’d arranged a helicopter outing there with our Heli Group and I found out the day before that the place had closed down. (We wound up going to Prescott instead. Not the same.)
But a few weeks ago, Mike and I had flown over in Mike’s plane. When I looked down, I saw cars in the parking lot. Perhaps the owners had come back. Perhaps they’d opened for the season. Today, I decided to fly out and find out.
Well, the old owners didn’t come back. Instead, there’s a new owner. He was there and he’s a certifiable jerk. He spent all of his time talking loudly to another customer, telling them how he runs the place so much cheaper than the last one. He complained about my waitress putting too much whipped creme (not cream) on my sundae — “I lose $2 every time she makes one of those.” He demanded to know why he was paying for iceberg lettuce and bagged salad. He claimed his property was worth “three quarters of a million dollars” and that’s why he lived in a motorhome there.
The guy was obnoxious, the place was sad. It had been open 24 hours a day. Now it’s open 12 hours a day, only 6 days a week. Half the menu items are gone. There are only three flavors of ice cream. The pies aren’t’ even made on the premises anymore. And I won’t even go into detail about the Alzheimer’s lady they leave sitting at a table by herself so they can keep an eye on her.
The waitress was unhappy. Frankly, I would quit rather than put up with her boss’s obnoxious behavior.
Needless to say, I won’t be back unless it gets a new owner again.
The Kofa Cafe is indeed gone — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.