By Burt Davis
Photos by Burt Davis or Dianne Davis unless otherwise noted
Café Rio recently opened its seventh location in greater Las Vegas on 509 N Stephanie Street in Henderson. The chain, founded in 1997, has grown rapidly due to its unique approach to serving Mexican food. I would describe Café Rio as a semi-fast food/cafeteria type restaurant.
Customers can read the menu off the wall or grab a copy as they wait in a cafeteria style line to place their orders.
The food is prepared from fresh ingredients in front of you behind a glass separation.
The menu includes classic Mexican items such as enchiladas, tacos, and burritos as well as soups and salads. Customers can select from various meats, beans, cheeses and sauces and watch while their selections are prepared.
I enjoyed an enchilada style fire grilled steak burrito with black beans and mild sauce. Enchilada style applies to burritos and is the addition of extra sauce on top baked with cheese.
The drink bar is unique. It includes ($1.99) unlimited supplies of the usual items but also offers an extensive array of fruit drinks, teas, and syrups. Many of the drinks are sugar free.
Prices are reasonable. As example, a huge chicken breast burrito is $7.50 and includes rice, cheese and beans. Café Rio has received several excellent awards from Zagat. The Cafe Rio Restaurants are located primarily in the West. They are open until 10 PM and have an extensive take out menu.
Key Lime Pie. Yum
It's important to note that on one of my visits my wife and I arrived at just five minutes before closing wondering if we would even be admitted. Not only were we able to get in, we were warmly welcomed and told not to worry about the time. And as they always do, they prepared our order from fresh ingredients. In my book, attitude along with good food makes me a fan of a culinary destination. This one is certainly on my A list.