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 cafe or 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 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, all six of these little restaurants caught the attention of a fine gentleman named Bob Nilsen. He purchased Caferio from the Stanleys with the concept of spreading the love of making this fresh Mexican food to everyone in and around Utah and beyond.
He ensured to keep the mantra of “fresh food, made fresh” on the very core of 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 and the Oxnard Salsa Festival towards the Inc. 500 as well as the Alfred P. Sloan Award. And you know what else? We’re just how to get started.
Cafe Rio opened in 1997 in six Utah locations. Currently, you will find fifty-seven locations in ten states: Arizona, California, Montana, Wyoming. Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah within the West and then in Maryland and Virginia on the East Coast. A summary 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 of the bread products were made with L-cysteine as being a dough conditioner. The guacamole will not contain gelatin. A soybean-based shortening can be used in the kitchen area where vegetarian and vegan menu merchandise is 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 is currently updating them. In mid-March 2013, Aubrie said that “the [updated] vegan and vegetarian information ought to be seen on our website shortly.”
The update was needed because of recent ingredient change. Aubrie informed The VRG that
There was clearly a change made recently with all the margarine that is used in our California, Maryland, and Virginia locations. Previously the margarine was dairy-free, but with the change made the new margarine does contain dairy…If you are searching for vegan or animal-free products inside the California, Maryland, and Virginia markets this is a listing of items that 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 of our other markets tend not to use dairy-free margarine so we usually do not anticipate that any changes is going to be made soon.”
On its website, Cafe Rio states that every of its 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 interested in mkxorn more about Cafe Rio Menu may visit its website: http://www.caferio.com/
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, like the Vegetarian Journal, are certainly not designed to provide personal medical advice. Health advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend upon product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are usually possible. Please make use of own best judgment about whether a product would work for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.