The year was 1997. The place, a little town in southern Utah called St. George. A beautiful couple named Steve and Patricia Stanley started a restaurant called Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. Cafe Rio served authentic dishes derived from inspired recipes and traditional cooking of Northern Mexico’s Rio Grande region, Southern Texas, and New Mexico. Central to every bite was the concept that every ingredient should be fresh and made fresh to order. And you know what? People loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it. So much in fact, that one restaurant became six. In 2004, these six little restaurants caught the interest of a fine gentleman named Bob Nilsen. He purchased Cafe Rio Menu from the Stanleys with the thought of spreading the love of making this fresh Mexican food to everyone close to Utah and beyond.
He made sure to keep the mantra of “fresh food, made fresh” on the very core in the brand. No freezers. No microwaves. Nothing premade. Our staff begins each day, bright and early, hand-squeezing limes, hand-scooping avocados, simmering sauces and preparing desserts. The crowds that line up at our over 125 Cafe Rio locations today, aren’t the sole ones to consider notice. We’ve won over 100 awards, from the Best of City Search as well as the Oxnard Salsa Festival towards the Inc. 500 and the Alfred P. Sloan Award. And also you know what else? We’re just getting started.
Cafe Rio opened in 1997 in six Utah locations. Currently, you can find fifty-seven locations in ten states: Arizona, California, Montana, Wyoming. Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah inside the West and then in Maryland and Virginia on the East Coast. A listing of locations may be found at http://www.caferio.com/locations.
The VRG spoke with Aubrie in the Support Center at Cafe Rio. She told us that neither the black beans, the pinto beans nor the rice contain any animal flavors or broths. None with their bread products were made out of L-cysteine being a dough conditioner. The guacamole does not contain gelatin. A soybean-based shortening can be used in your kitchen where vegetarian and vegan menu products are prepared separately from meat products.
Aubrie told us that Cafe Rio’s purchasing director is really a vegetarian and thus understands many of the ingredient concerns of vegetarians and vegans. She has evolved lists (previously available on the web) of all the menu items which are vegetarian or vegan and is also currently updating them. In mid-March 2013, Aubrie stated that “the [updated] vegan and vegetarian information ought to be available on our website shortly.”
The update was needed because of a recent ingredient change. Aubrie informed The VRG that
There was clearly a change made recently with all the margarine that is utilized within our California, Maryland, and Virginia locations. Previously the margarine was dairy-free, though with the change made the newest margarine does contain dairy…If you are looking for vegan or animal-free products within the California, Maryland, and Virginia markets listed here is a listing of items which are safe:
* black beans
* pinto beans
* flour tortillas
* corn tortillas
* corn chips
* corn strips for salads
* tostada shells
* Pico de Gallo sauce
* Salsa Fresca
* romaine lettuce
To explain the margarine change, we asked Aubrie if Cafe Rio restaurants in other states use margarine containing dairy. She replied by stating that “all in our other markets usually do not use dairy-free margarine and that we tend not to anticipate that any changes will likely be made soon.”
On its website, Cafe Rio states that most of the food is “fresh and made daily. There aren’t any microwaves or freezers in almost any in our locations. Nothing is premade. We don’t have mechanized processed food.” Readers thinking about mkxorn more about Cafe Rio Menu may visit its website: http://www.caferio.com/
The items in this article, our website, and our other publications, such as the Vegetarian Journal, are certainly not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical health advice should be extracted from a qualified health professional. We frequently rely on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are usually possible. Please make use of your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you personally. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.