The year was 1997. The place, a small 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 idea that each and every ingredient must be fresh and made fresh to order. And you know what? People loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it. So much so, that one restaurant became six. In 2004, these six little restaurants caught the interest of a fine gentleman named Bob Nilsen. He purchased Caferio from the Stanleys with the concept of spreading the passion for making this fresh Mexican food to everyone in and around Utah and beyond.
He made sure to maintain 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 only ones to adopt notice. We’ve won over 100 awards, from the very best of City Search and also the Oxnard Salsa Festival towards the Inc. 500 as well as the Alfred P. Sloan Award. And you also know what else? We’re just starting out.
Cafe Rio opened in 1997 in six Utah locations. Currently, there are fifty-seven locations in ten states: Arizona, California, Montana, Wyoming. Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah within the West as well as 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 inside 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 fails to contain gelatin. A soybean-based shortening can be used in the kitchen where vegetarian and vegan menu products are prepared separately from meat products.
Aubrie told us that Cafe Rio’s purchasing director is actually a vegetarian and thus understands many of the ingredient concerns of vegetarians and vegans. She has developed lists (previously available on the internet) of menu items which are vegetarian or vegan and it is currently updating them. In mid-March 2013, Aubrie stated that “the [updated] vegan and vegetarian information ought to be seen on our website shortly.”
The update was needed because of a recent ingredient change. Aubrie informed The VRG that
There is a change made recently using the margarine which is used in 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 searching for vegan or animal-free products within the California, Maryland, and Virginia markets listed here is a list of items that are secure:
* 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 clarify the margarine change, we asked Aubrie if Cafe Rio restaurants in other states use margarine containing dairy. She replied by stating that “all of our own other markets usually do not use dairy-free margarine and we tend not to anticipate that any changes will likely be made in the near future.”
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 of our own locations. There is nothing premade. We don’t have mechanized processed food.” Readers considering mkxorn more about Cafe Rio Catering 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 not intended to provide personal medical health advice. Health advice needs to be extracted from an experienced health professional. We frequently depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please make use of your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.