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Café Rio is a chain of mid-priced, quick-service Mexican eateries in Utah. The first location was opened in St. George in 1997, with a second location in Provo opening shortly afterwards. The restaurant has been phenomenally successful, spawning a number of imitators (The Cabo Grill and Costa Azul being the most blatant, although the food at both establishments tastes just as good).

The food you'll find there is wonderful. The most popular item on the menu is the salad, which features your choice of meat (try the pork barbacoa... you'll thank me for it later), beans (black or pinto), cheese, lettuce, and little tortilla chip strips. You’ll find most traditional Mexican restaurant fare there- the average lineup of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas. Expect to pay about $8.50 per person (including drink). One thing that you definitely won’t find there is peace and quiet… the diners are loud, and if a patron has a filled loyalty card that they use for a free meal, the entire kitchen staff screams “Free meal!”. They also tend to yell about other things, although by that point I have to admit that I’m concentrating on my food, so I don’t have a clue as to what they’re saying.

The most comparable national chain restaurant would be Baja Fresh, with both taking a “No Canned Ingredients, No Microwaves, Everything Fresh” approach to the preparation of their food. Costs between the two restaurants are comparable.

Restaurant open date gleaned from the November 2nd, 2003 edition of The Daily Herald, a newspaper based out of Provo.

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