Oh, how prophetic a breakfast dish can be.
When the team at Baja Café sat down to plan their first menu several years ago, little did they know that the names given to a couple of their dishes would mysteriously take on a whole new context years later at their West Ina Road location.
This is a tale of the Construction Burro, the Train Wreck, the Ina Road Traffic Interchange Construction project and one local restaurateur who’s thrilled to see the construction complete.
“Construction is always an inconvenience, and I’m super excited to have everything flowing now,” said Tyler Leveque, owner of the Baja Café at 3930 W. Ina Road. “This construction project has impacted our business, as well as others in the area, and just since the freeway access has opened up, we’ve seen an uptick in business.”
While restaurant patrons may have assumed that the Baja Café’s Construction Burro was named to mark the moment when Ina Road dirt started to move in 2016, the years-old name simply refers to its build-your-own architecture. The dish is anchored by two eggs, two kinds of cheese, hash browns and additional ingredients, or what Leveque calls “tools and supplies,” can be added to this burro behemoth, from chorizo to chipotle bacon.
“We like to call this one ‘a burro the size of your head,”’ Leveque said.
Given the traffic-related chaos that ensued once the interchange project began, nearby businesses may have collectively defined it as a train wreck of epic proportion. But for the record, Baja Café’s Train Wreck existed long before the dozers drove up (or an actual train derailed last year not far up the road).
This dish starts with a large bowl into which a house-made green chile tomatillo sauce is ladled. It’s then topped with hash browns, jalapeno bacon, sausage, ham, caramelized onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, finished with two eggs and two kinds of cheese which makes it a monstrosity worthy of its name.
“It’s an ‘I’m full but it’s too good to stop, so I have to keep going’ thing,” Leveque said.
Although the names of these dishes have nothing to do with the bedlam that was experienced by area businesses during the project, with Leveque calling it all “a happy coincidence,” he and his team have started to brainstorm ideas for new dish names that celebrate the end of the construction.
He plans to reveal them May 4, the date of the Town of Marana’s Ina Road Celebration Weekend.
“This will be our way of saying huzzah for finally finishing the project,” Leveque said.
After personally reflecting on name ideas, I thought a dish called Welcome Home would be a nice nod to their customers in paving their way back to the Baja Café, but it turns out that the name is already taken. Baja Café’s Welcome Home is one of their 12 distinct Eggs Benedict expressions, which is free for military troops coming home from deployment.
I’m sure that Leveque and his crew would be open to other suggestions for names of dishes that symbolize the return to normalcy on the corridor. So get creative, dear reader. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll pass them along.
Alternatively, you can swing by Baja Café on Ina Road and share your suggestions with them directly, after you take down a Construction Burro or Train Wreck for yourself.
Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at email@example.com. Russell is also the publisher of OnTheMenuLive.com, a regular contributor to “Tales of the Keg” on ESPN Tucson, KFFN 1490 AM & 104.9 FM, as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.