Baja Taco closes with considerable fanfare

Baja Taco, one of Cordova’s favorite eateries, closed for the year on Thursday, Sept. 28. It opened on April Fool’s Day, and for the past six months has been serving its scrumptious Mexican fare, as well as hot and cold drinks, muffins, cookies and milkshakes of such renown that they attract small plane customers flying in from nearby communities. 

It’s been a long season for owner and manager Andra Doll and her busy staff. With winter on the way things are beginning to slow down.    

Unknown to many Cordovans, Baja had become the location of the traditional early morning coffee klatch for veteran old time commercial fishermen such as Jimmy Webber, Gary Raymond, Bill Webber, Paul Saunders, Wayne Smith, Pip Fillingham and Terry Granger. 

They used to meet at the old CoHo Cafe, drinking gallons of coffee and shooting a similar amount of B.S. In fact, it became so crowded that owner Doreen Bingham made them move out into the bar area so she would have enough room to serve her famous sourdoughs to actual breakfast diners. 

When the CoHo was demolished, the Coffee Crew was desperate for a place to sip their java. First, they shifted to the Reluctant Fisherman, which eventually stopped serving breakfast. Then they zeroed in on Baja Taco. Andra kindly made a big pot of self-serve drip coffee each day as part of her opening routine. 

“It was pretty funny,” said Doll. “Early in the morning they would be waiting in their trucks for me to open up. They even claimed a certain table so they could all sit together.” 


Which led to a spicy moment one early morning, not due to Baja hot sauce. 

It seems some innocuous wader-clad visiting sports fisherman made the mistake of sitting at their table while waiting for his breakfast burrito.  

Needless to say, the fleet of old-timers quickly resolved who got the first “set.”  

“I let them sort it out, which they did,” was how Andra put it.  

Recently I ran into Andra and her husband Nathan while walking along Power Creek Road. During the off season they, with their faithful dog Daisy, trek several miles each day, rain or shine, usually right at daybreak.   

It happened to be the day after they closed Baja Taco, and Nathan was wrapping up his commercial fishing operations. Naturally they were pretty chipper, and I asked them how it felt to be done with another season.  

They wanted to talk about the last day. 

“It was crazy,” said Nathan. “I was using my Skidsteer loader to move the logs that blocked off the parking area, and this van pulled up with a bunch of sports fishermen in waders. They got out and thanked me for making more parking space! Then one of them climbed over the Skidsteer to go place an order.” 

With all the menu signs down, and the picnic tables stacked in the sheltered walkways, one of the fishermen somehow managed to clamber to the ordering window, which was shut. He tapped on it to get Andra’s attention as she was scraping the grill. His plaintive plea through the glass, “Can I order a milkshake?”  

I asked Andra how many shakes and tacos she figured she had served this summer, and she replied,  

“I honestly don’t have a clue. But I know when it’s time to call it quits.” 

It was the first time she had closed to such fanfare, which is defined as elaborate ceremony or attention typically to honor someone or something of importance. 

Andra and Nathan’s last day was memorable for fans seeking exactly that — one last taste of Baja Taco’s famous fare.