When it comes to tasty Mexican food, the first state that comes to mind likely isn’t Utah. However, one Utah-based Mexican fast-food chain has honed its craft, by making everything on its menu from scratch, every single day (including the tortillas), and is expanding into new markets. It is also now looking to compete with the assortment of Mexican restaurants in the Valley, with the chain’s very first Arizona location.
Set to open in Buckeye, Cafe Rio Mexican Grill is combining the new with the old. It takes an old way of cooking food, where everything is made in-house, including salsas, marinated meats, and guac. And it is combining it with the new, where just about every interaction customers have with the restaurant will be digital.
Customers can walk into the restaurant and place their orders on one of two large digital kiosks (similar to the digital kiosks found at other fast-food chains like McDonald’s).
For those who don’t feel like going inside, they can place an order through the Cafe Rio Mexican Grill app and receive their food curb-side, and there is also a drive-through option. Of course, all the food inside is still prepared by employees, but taking the orders digitally helps free up the staff to focus completely on food preparation.
The very first Cafe Rio Mexican Grill opened in St. George, Utah back in 1997. According to the restaurant, they focus on crafting food from southern New Mexico, Texas, as the Rio Grande “region” of Mexico (of course, the Rio Grande is called Rio Bravo in Mexico, and the “region” makes up the entire Mexico/Texas border down to the Gulf of Mexico). After several years of preparing fresh food daily, the restaurant expanded to six locations around St. George. Eventually, new management took over (several times), and now, Cafe Rio Mexican Grill has moved south into Arizona.
Some of the menu items include the Sweet Pork Barbacoa, which is smothered in the restaurant’s specialty sauce, and loaded with pulled pork, rice, and beans. The Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad as well as the Burrito Enchilada Style are other fan-favorite items on the menu, which also includes everything from tacos to nachos and a handful of specialty sauces.
The Cafe Rio Mexican Grill in Buckeye is located at 19550 West Indian School Road (#140). It is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 AM until 10 PM, and on Sunday from 11 AM until 10 PM.