The Maricopa County Durango Campus can feel like an island. There are few businesses nearby and even fewer neighborhoods next to the sprawling property that features jails, courts, Animal Care and Control, MCDOT and Flood Control. It has always been a challenge for employees and visitors to find breakfast or lunch in what appears to be a food desert. You have to know where you are going in order to find the Durango Grill Café tucked between the other buildings off Durango Street.
“Everything’s good!” announced Richard Villoria during a recent visit.
Chef Richard runs the kitchen alongside Joseph Martin. They point to the eclectic menu of sandwiches, burgers, burritos and breakfast favorites displayed on bright LED screens in front of the kitchen.
“We can make anything,” Villoria said.
Patty Montijo has been the operator of the café since December, 2015 after going through the DES program: Arizona Industries for the Blind. She says she lost her sight about five years ago and the program helped her learn to use the computer without her eyes. The next step was to find a way to translate her previous work experience to the restaurant business.
“It’s been a blessing,” Montijo said in a phone interview. “I look for that each day. It’s adversity but you can’t let it keep you down. It happened to me but look where it has taken us.”
Montijo says they spend a lot of time listening to what customers want on the menu. That is why the café now features a coffee and fruit smoothie counter along with a brand new salad bar. The grill has daily specials and some vegetarian options. In addition to the menu changes, it is hard not to notice the new floors and fresh interior.
This oasis is tucked away in a nondescript building at 3341 W. Durango Street and open from 6:30am to 2pm. There will be a grand opening on Taco Tuesday, May 9 from 11am to 1pm.