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Skydive dive

Indoor skydiving place has cafe for decompressing

The Buzz Burger has a secret ingredient: bacon jam.
The Buzz Burger has a secret ingredient: bacon jam.

It’s not what you expect to find next door to Father Joe’s, but right on the corner of 14th and Imperial you can now join the craze for indoor skydiving and then nosh on a good burger.

Harris has the Launchpad Chicken Sandwich every day.

The skydive, where you’re inside a transparent tube with 200-mph vertical winds keeping you airborne, will set you back about $70. Or you could just watch the whole thing from the Breakaway Cafe a few feet away.

“People can get debriefed and then stick around, eat, drink, make a social outing of it.”

The cafe and the skydiving operation are in soft-opening mode right now. But it’s all happening (no wine and beer license yet). When I first discovered the place, Leana the barista was serving the flight-suit-clad skydive instructors.

Guys diving right down the chute, then flattening out and whooshing up again. You think: dolphins.

One of those instructors, Harris, was eating a Launchpad Chicken Sandwich ($11.99), “breaded chicken tenders shaken in a spicy ranch sauce topped with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled onion with a garlic aioli spread on a hoagie.”

“I have it every day,” Harris tells me. The guy has been an instructor of real outdoor skydiving for five years. Has 5000 jumps to his credit. He loves it. “For that one minute when you’re free in the air, you forget all past, all future. It’s pure living,” he says.

It’s also fun just watching kids, grandpas, everyone floating up on that column of air while you down a coffee or a burger.

The menu’s sandwich-centric. Like the garlic cheese sandwich ($8.99) or the Italian Stallion burger ($11.99) with marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and “a Parmesan crisp on a garlic brioche bun,” which sounds interesting.

I end up with the Buzz Burger ($11.99), which comes with all the normal fixin’s plus “bacon jam.” I ask Leana what that is. Leana asks the chef, Rafael.

“Rafael says it’s fig jam with onion, maple, bacon, and espresso coffee in it,” she says.

Place

Breakaway Cafe

1401 Imperial Avenue, Imperial Beach

Now I’m definitely interested. You also get a choice of seasoned fries, chips, or side salad. I go for the salad.

Of course I’m desperate to see someone go up. “We have a bachelor party coming,” says Harris. “But not till 9:30 tonight.”

So Leana shows me some video she took on her phone, and it’s pretty spectacular. Guys diving right down the chute, then flattening out and whooshing up again. You think: dolphins.

First thing about the Buzz Burger is the salad. It’s huge, in a basket on its own. The burger itself is savory but also sweet. That bacon jam. It’s a good combo.

Leana says the place can be quite social. “The owner has based this on the European model,” she says. “It’s not like traditional indoor skydiving places where you come, pay, skydive, and go home. Here, people can get debriefed and then stick around, eat, drink, make a social outing of it. And after you’ve done one of these crazy flights, that’s just what you want to do.”

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The Buzz Burger has a secret ingredient: bacon jam.
The Buzz Burger has a secret ingredient: bacon jam.

It’s not what you expect to find next door to Father Joe’s, but right on the corner of 14th and Imperial you can now join the craze for indoor skydiving and then nosh on a good burger.

Harris has the Launchpad Chicken Sandwich every day.

The skydive, where you’re inside a transparent tube with 200-mph vertical winds keeping you airborne, will set you back about $70. Or you could just watch the whole thing from the Breakaway Cafe a few feet away.

“People can get debriefed and then stick around, eat, drink, make a social outing of it.”

The cafe and the skydiving operation are in soft-opening mode right now. But it’s all happening (no wine and beer license yet). When I first discovered the place, Leana the barista was serving the flight-suit-clad skydive instructors.

Guys diving right down the chute, then flattening out and whooshing up again. You think: dolphins.

One of those instructors, Harris, was eating a Launchpad Chicken Sandwich ($11.99), “breaded chicken tenders shaken in a spicy ranch sauce topped with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled onion with a garlic aioli spread on a hoagie.”

“I have it every day,” Harris tells me. The guy has been an instructor of real outdoor skydiving for five years. Has 5000 jumps to his credit. He loves it. “For that one minute when you’re free in the air, you forget all past, all future. It’s pure living,” he says.

It’s also fun just watching kids, grandpas, everyone floating up on that column of air while you down a coffee or a burger.

The menu’s sandwich-centric. Like the garlic cheese sandwich ($8.99) or the Italian Stallion burger ($11.99) with marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and “a Parmesan crisp on a garlic brioche bun,” which sounds interesting.

I end up with the Buzz Burger ($11.99), which comes with all the normal fixin’s plus “bacon jam.” I ask Leana what that is. Leana asks the chef, Rafael.

“Rafael says it’s fig jam with onion, maple, bacon, and espresso coffee in it,” she says.

Place

Breakaway Cafe

1401 Imperial Avenue, Imperial Beach

Now I’m definitely interested. You also get a choice of seasoned fries, chips, or side salad. I go for the salad.

Of course I’m desperate to see someone go up. “We have a bachelor party coming,” says Harris. “But not till 9:30 tonight.”

So Leana shows me some video she took on her phone, and it’s pretty spectacular. Guys diving right down the chute, then flattening out and whooshing up again. You think: dolphins.

First thing about the Buzz Burger is the salad. It’s huge, in a basket on its own. The burger itself is savory but also sweet. That bacon jam. It’s a good combo.

Leana says the place can be quite social. “The owner has based this on the European model,” she says. “It’s not like traditional indoor skydiving places where you come, pay, skydive, and go home. Here, people can get debriefed and then stick around, eat, drink, make a social outing of it. And after you’ve done one of these crazy flights, that’s just what you want to do.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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