Affectionately known across town as Kenny King Kahuna, this Foothills restaurateur is bringing his love of the beach to the breakfast plate.
Move over, mediocre morning meal. There’s a new lifeguard in town.
Missing nothing more than a shmear of sunscreen on his nose, King keeps a close watch over the business at Fini’s Landing, or what I call Tucson’s dock of the bay for its maritime theme and coastal menus inspired by the kick-back lifestyles of the Baja, the Caribbean and the Keys.
But his watch is not limited to the lunch, happy hour, dinner or late-night shifts. As I’ve recently discovered, weekend breakfast on the beach is now a legitimate Fini’s thing.
“Our Saturday and Sunday breakfast menu is a continuation of the traditions that our other menus showcase,” said King, general manager and executive chef at Fini’s Landing, 5689 N. Swan Road. “And in our weekend style, that’s kind of a slow move into lunch if you’re having one of those lazy coastal days.”
That explains why some have called King’s weekend breakfast the perfect bridge from the night before to the day ahead.
While guests might love themselves a little laze on their weekend mornings, King and his crew are anything but lazy, kicking out nearly 30 fresh dishes on the breakfast menu alone. These include some breakfast classics, such as pancakes and French toast, and others with a more regional twist, such as eggs with ropa vieja, an Old Bay grilled cod omelet, and a Benedict-style egg dish with serrano greens and a poblano hollandaise sauce.
There’s also a nod to taco traditions, with morning hour versions ranging from Mexican pork chorizo with eggs, avocado and house-made Chubasco Sauce aioli to carne asada with eggs, roasted poblanos and grilled onions.
Other beachfront breakfast menu items include Wave-Os-Rancheros (get it?) with charro beans, a pizza-esque breakfast flatbread with eggs, pecan-smoked bacon, chorizo, jack cheese, pico de gallo and Chubasco aioli, and King’s creative twist on the iconic Mexican chilaquiles.
“The traditional chilaquiles dish is a layered enchilada casserole of sorts, but ours is more like a bird’s nest,” King said.
He starts with what he calls “the best fresh corn tortillas in the city” which he sources from Tucson’s Carnaciera La Noria. He then strips them down, fries them up, and tosses them in an enchilada sauce before they’re intentionally nestled together onto the plate to form a nest. Atop that he adds melted jack cheese, chorizo scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, and queso fresco.
Maintaining a breakfast menu with almost 30 distinct dishes seems like a bold move to me, but King responded to my query about the wisdom behind it in a tone for which he’s widely known.
“There are 52 weekends in a year, right Matt?”
Well played, Kahuna. Well played.
Weekend mornings at the flip-flop-forward Fini’s Landing are certainly family-friendly, but those on the adult swim side of the beach will enjoy a full bar anchored by several “breakfast bubbles” beverages from mimosas to bellinis, as well as cold craft brews and tropical cocktails.
Breakfast at Fini’s Landing is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon. I’m told that it will get you out of bed so fast that you’ll be kicking up sand. Just make sure that you courteously shake out your towels before being seated.
Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at email@example.com. Russell is also the host of “On the Menu Live” that airs 5 to 6 p.m. Saturdays on KQTH 104.1 FM, as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.