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In 1977, inspired by the cuisine of northern Mexico, Texas and New Mexico, Chef Steve Stanley and his wife Patricia opened the first Café Rio Mexican Grill in St. George, Utah.
After opening more restaurants in Utah and Arizona, Café Rio Mexican Grill has come to Las Vegas with two locations on both sides of town. Featuring Rio Grande Valley Mexican Cuisine, this growing chain offers fresh food, a family-friendly atmosphere and inviting surroundings. In fact, Cafe Rio's decor is reminiscent of a Mexican marketplace with brightly colored table made of rustic wood tinted in shades of turquoise, apple green, periwinkle blue, lemon yellow, plum and melon. Earth toned tiled floors with chili strings and authentic pottery hung on the sandstone colored walls to add to the feeling of being south of the border.
The food is served cafeteria style but with an open exhibition kitchen that allows customers to watch while the restaurant's corn, flour and stone ground whole wheat tortillas are being made and their meal is prepared.
"Everything is made from scratch," said Tera Sunder of Cafe Rio, pointing out that there is no microwave or freezer on the premises. USDA choice meats are used and up to nine cases of limes are squeezed each day.
“We are thrilled to bring our 5-star from scratch cooking to our loyal customers in the Las Vegas Valley,” said Bob Nilsen, President and CEO of Cafe Rio.
This is not fast-food but a good meal prepared with a fun crew, fresh ingredients, made to order and ready in less than ten minutes. There is an all-you-can-drink soda fountain and the food is served in take out plates with lids readily available. This is casual dining at its best.
The menu includes:
Starters: Chips and salsa (large, $2.50; small, $1.25); guacamole and chips ($3.95); and chili con queso with chips ($4.50).
Soups and salads: Cafe Rio's Famous Tortilla Chicken Soup with shredded chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo and topped with tortilla strips, cilantro and lime ($3.95); Cafe Rio salad ($6.25); chili-roasted beef ($7.25); chicken breast ($7.25); pork barbacoa ($7.25); fire-grilled steak ($7.95); and fire-grilled chicken breast ($7.95). Salads are served in a toasted flour or stone ground whole wheat tortilla with blended cheeses, green chili rice, and black or pinto beans.
Entrees: Burritos are made with flour or stone ground whole wheat tortillas containing green chili rice, black or pinto beans, cheese and a choice of filling and sauce, including beans, rice and cheese ($5.50), chili-roasted beef ($6.50), chicken breast ($6.50), pork barbacoa ($6.50), fire-grilled steak ($6.95) and fire-grilled chicken ($6.95). Served enchilada style, add 95 cents.
Enchiladas are made with corn tortillas and shredded cheese (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), chili-roasted beef (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), chicken breast (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), pork barbacoa (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), fire-grilled steak (one, $5.95; two, $7.95) or fire-grilled chicken (one, $5.95; two, $7.95).
Sauces include a choice of San Antonio red chili sauce (hot), Santa Fe green chili (medium) or El Paso tomatillo (mild).
Tacos, made with flour, stone ground whole wheat or corn tortillas, are served with green chili rice and black or pinto beans and include chili-roasted beef (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), chicken breast (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), pork barbacoa (one, $4.95; two, $6.95), fire-grilled steak (one, $5.95; two, $7.95), fire-grilled chicken breast (one, $5.95; two, $7.95) and fire-grilled salmon (one, $5.95; two, $8.95). Pico de gallo is served on the side.
Quesadillas, made with flour or stone ground whole wheat tortillas, are served with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole and a choice of shredded cheese ($6.50), chili-roasted beef ($7.50), chicken breast ($7.50), pork barbacoa ($7.50), fire-grilled steak ($7.95) or fire-grilled chicken breast ($7.95).
Tostadas feature a crispy corn tortilla with green chili rice, black or pinto beans and melted cheese, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, cilantro, sour cream and lime with a choice of creamy tomatillo house dressing or cilantro-lime vinaigrette, with chili-roasted beef, chicken breast or pork barbacoa ($4.95) or fire-grilled steak or fire-grilled chicken breast ($5.95).
Dessert: Victor's Coconut Caramel Flan, Cafe Rio's Famous Tres Leches, Theresa's Chocolate Cheese Flan and Yolanda's Fresh Lime Pie ($3.25 each).
Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
9002 W Sahara Ave (Northeast corner of Sahara and Fort
Las Vegas, NV 89117
9595 S Eastern Ave (south of 215)
Las Vegas, NV 89123