Cafe Rio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
IndustryCasual dining restaurant
Founded1997; 25 years ago (1997)
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah
Number of locations
149 (2022)

Cafe Rio, or Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, is an American fast casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City, with branches in Arizona, California, Colorado, 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 April 2022, it has grown to 146 locations.


A restaurant in Provo, Utah with the sign "Cafe Rio Mexican Grill" on its storefront
A Cafe Rio location in Provo, Utah

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 December 2020, Cafe Rio is operating in 135 locations across 11 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. There are plans on opening 12 new locations in 2021 and converting current some existing locations to include drive-thru's.


The company has locations in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • 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