As of May this year, Café Rio Mexican Grill, or Café Rio for short, has 73 restaurants to its name. With branches in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Virginia, Café Rio has taken not only “invaded” the West Coast but the Southwest, East Coast, and Pacific Northwest regions as well. Not bad for a fast casual dining restaurant that serves recipes inspired by the cuisines of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas, and New Mexico.
Everything is Fresh Everyday
When you want fresh (and who doesn’t want fresh?) Mexican food, Café Rio is the place to go. The limes are all hand squeezed, the avocados hand scooped, and the tortillas hand rolled. And all of these are made right before your eyes on the amazingly hot Comal – that smooth, round flat griddle where tortillas are cooked, spices are toasted, and meat is seared in Mexico — every single day. In fact, you won’t see any food freezers or microwave ovens in Café Rio because even dressings, sauces, and desserts are made fresh daily.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Café Rio has the Zagat imprimatur as well as the Sandelman and Associates #1 Overall Quick Service Restaurant award. Not to mention the more than 60 other awards from Utah’s Best of State, INC 500, City Weekly, the Alfred P. Sloan Awards, the Oxnard Salsa Festival, Utah Business Magazine, and Best of City Search, among others. The main reason, of course, is the variety of salads, tacos, enchiladas, tostada, nachos, quesadillas, and the chips and salsa. All fresh, all delicious, all authentically Mexican.
What’s On the Café Rio Menu? Mucho!
Take a look at some of the food items on the Café Rio menu:
Burrito: flour tortilla – handmade, of course, stuffed with your choice of pinto or black beans, cheese, cilantro lime rice, and your choice of meat oven baked and served with shredded Romaine lettuce and Pico de Gallo.
Tacos: handmade flour tortilla stuffed with your choice of meat, Romaine lettuce, a blend of authentic Mexican cheeses, and Pico de Gallo. And since Pico de Gallo seems to pop up all the time, you should know that it’s made from tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime juice, garlic, and Serrano chiles, and made from scratch, everyday.
Enchiladas: corn tortillas – freshly made – stuffed with your choice of meat, cheese, and sauce and topped with even more cheese before it’s baked. Enchiladas at Café Rio are served with your choice of either pinto or black beans.
Nachos: crispy, golden tortilla chips topped off with your choice of meat, your choice or pinto or black beans, your choice of authentic Mexican cheeses or Chile Con Queso, sour cream, fresh guacamole, more cheese (hand-shredded this time) and Pico de Gallo (see, there it is again).
Tostada: this corn tortilla is topped with Romaine lettuce, your choice of meat and your choice of either pinto or black beans, Cilantro Lime Rice, crispy golden tortilla strips, cilantro, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and Cotija Cheese served with any dressing you want.
Salad: Mexican salads have tortillas all the time, and the ones at Café Rio are no exception. Theirs are freshly made and baked with a lot of cheese, filled with Cilantro Lime Rice, Romaine lettuce, your choice of meat, tortilla strips, and your choice of pinto or black beans. These are topped off with Pico de Gallo, cilantro, tortilla strips, fresh guacamole, Cotija cheese, and your preferred dressing.
Tortilla soup: of course the soup has tortilla and of course it’s made fresh as well! This has all white chicken breast meat shredded and topped with delicious broth that contains crunchy strips of tortilla, fresh vegetables, Pico de Gallo, fresh guacamole, and cheese.
Desserts: the pleasant surprise you get from Café Rio’s desserts comes from knowing that they are all also handmade as well. You can have a choice of the Tres Leches (literally, three kinds of milk) or Fresh Lime Pie (okay, so it isn’t Key Lime, but this is Rio Grande lime, baby, with the more piquant taste).
Strawberry lemonade: a drink that’s completely sugar-free made from lemons, strawberries, and 100% natural sweetener Stevia.
All of the food items on Café Rio’s menu may be ordered online from their website. That’s pretty convenient, huh? And what’s even more convenient is Café Rio has their catering service where you can get a free meal for every $100 that you spend. So what’s their catering menu like?
Catering and Building Communities
Café Rio has the Taco Fiesta Package, the Enchilada Party Pack, Elsa’s Chile Rellenos (you’re going to have to ask them who Elsa is), Chicken Wraps, Yolanda’s Tamales (Yolanda might be Elsa’s sister), and the Santa Fe Nacho Bar. And if you want to get better deals in the future, you can sign up with the Café Rio VIP program. You get special discounts, a free meal on your birthday, and, when you buy 10 meals, you get one meal free.
Café Rio is a restaurant as well as a community. Helping to build the future means taking care of loyal customers. Café Rio accommodates requests for donations because they believe in building communities. The U.S. armed branches of services, underprivileged children’s programs, and organizations like Hope for the Warriors, Make a Wish Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity are supported by Café Rio.