Cafe Rio

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Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
IndustryCasual dining restaurant
Founded1997; 23 years ago (1997)
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah

Cafe Rio, or Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, is a fast casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City, with branches in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. The company specializes in Mexican cuisine. Its menu includes appetizers, tostadas, salads, burritos, desserts, enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, soups, and beverages. The company also provides catering services.[1] In October 2017, the chain had 120 locations.[2] In September 2019, it has grown to 133 locations.


Cafe Rio was started in 1997 by Steve and Tricia Stanley in St. George, Utah. In December 2004, Bob and Kathleen Nilsen, Spencer K Hill, along with SKM/Apax Partners purchased the chain, which at the time had six restaurants. In 2011, Dave Gagnon took over as CEO and COO at the same time as Bob Baker was appointed President and CFO. In 2018, Steve Vaughan became CEO when Dave Gagnon retired. Previously, Mr. Vaughan was CFO. As of September 2019, the company operates 133 restaurants in 12 states. Cafe Rio's recipes are inspired from the traditional cooking of the Rio Grande region of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas and New Mexico.[3] Meals are cooked in each restaurant's kitchen, fresh every day. The signature dish is a sweet pork barbacoa burrito made enchilada-style.


The company has locations in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming


  1. ^ "Cafe Rio, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  2. ^ "Cafe Rio | Mexican Grill-60 Awards and counting". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  3. ^ Our Story