The Kofa Cafe is Gone

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 240° 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.

Kofa CafeI 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.

9 thoughts on “The Kofa Cafe is Gone

  1. We stopped there for breakfast 2/4/07. There is a printed service disclaimer on each table admonishing diners not to bother or interupt the help. It was 23 minutes to get our table’s first glass of water. Food was okay. Service was indifferent, rude and slow even as we paid the bill.

    I’m stopping in Bouse or Brenda next time!

  2. A printed disclaimer? Really? Wow!

    I’d heard that the place was under new management again and that it was better. I haven’t had a chance to give it a try yet — it’s not like I’m out that way all the time. This is really unfortunate. It’s not as if the people who live out that way have a lot of places to eat.

  3. We are Dutch tourists, and decided to get a cup of morning coffee at the Kofa Café. I can see why you liked the place, it’s a magical setting in the middle of the desert. The coffee was lousy, though, and service quite rude.

    Charming place, terrible people.

  4. is this the same cafe that used to serve awesome chili back in 1975??…I was looking to see about taking a trip back for the chili…

  5. We found the Kofa Cafe several years ago when we were driving back and forth from SO CAL to Prescott nearly every week while we were building a home in Arizona.

    It became a regular lunch stop for a good BLT and some of the Orange Juice that they squeeze while you wait…

    Since then we’ve been stoping at the Kofa Cafe about once a month on regular trips back to California to see the kids.

    So far the food has always been good and the service friendly and quick.

    Maybe the old obnoxious owner rode off into the sunset or perhaps he figured out what / who really pays the bills.

    But in either case or the last couple of years at least we have enjoyed our stops at the Kofa Cafe

  6. I know exactly who you are talking about. The guy (the underlying owner) is one of the most awful people I have ever encountered-a loud-mouth, obnoxious jerk. He’s famous for his abuse of customers and waitresses alike. Holy Cow! How Awful!

  7. We had an EAA Chapter flight from Yuma to Kofa Cafe on 12/4/2010 with 8 aircraft and about 20 people. Good food, OK service. We were happy as clams and plan to go again in Feb. Landing strip was OK.

    • This is good to hear. I used to like that place. I can only assume it has changed hands again. The owner I observed was a real jerk.

      Have you folks ever flown out to the Wayside Inn south of Alamo Lake? They also have a landing strip and restaurant. This time of year, there are pilots out there nearly every weekend. I’m sure I wrote about it here somewhere; search this site for “Wayside” and you should find it.

What do you think?