Cafe Rio is alright but not good enough to spend

20 minutes sitting in the drive through line

For us a once in a while guilty pleasure.

Mine is a different issue…

Magna got Café Rio a little over a year ago. Before they come here we had one great Mexican food place (El Habanero), three worth using when the great one is closed, and a McMexican place.

The challenge for Café Rio is they actually cost more than El Habanero for food that isn’t as good. Needless to say, I don’t go there for food.

In an update I got from the Café Rio people, they will likely be closing this restaurant within the next year due to lack of traffic. The truth is it wasn’t a competitive product. The developer would’ve been smart to chase something like Panda Express…food types that are hard to find in Magna, not the food type that you can’t go a block in any direction and not find.


There is always a better option nearby than a Cafe Rio. I’ve eaten there a few times, and the only way I’ll ever be back is if a group drags me there. It’s not bad, but in today’s world, why would I ever settle for “not bad”?


Of all the fantastic places to eat in the Salt Lake Valley, I have no idea why anyone would go to Cafe Rio.


I finally went to Cafe Rio in the airport earlier this year. I’d heard amazing things about that pork. It was “Meh”. I mean … like others have said … it’s “not bad”, but why go there? After I ate I wished I had not eaten and saved myself for the amazing Tex-Mex waiting for me at home in Texas.


Not to sound sexist but it seems like Cafe Rio is more of a lady’s idea of Mexican food. I usually see a lot more groups of women than groups of men there. My wife knows better than to suggest it.

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I still haven’t found Mexican food in Utah as good as the TexMex in Texas.


It’s a fast food place, so it’s not really fair to compare it to a sit-down restaurant. Compare it to Chipotle’s, Qdoba, or whatever local fast Mexican you have. Even with those restrictions, I would always prefer a local taco stand or burrito joint.

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I agree with Sancho. That being said have any of you guys tried Maria’s on 3300 S and 2300 E? Pretty good food and also pretty reasonably priced. It is always packed.

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Sorry, Maria’s is not that good. The best spot, by far, that I’ve found in SLC is Lone Star. But in general it can’t come close to the stuff I would get all over the place in Southern California. Mexican is the only food where there is not a decent substitute in SLC from what I could get in SoCal.

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I don’t love Lone Star but I also don’t like fish tacos so… Is that Chronic Taco still open in Sugar House?

I believe so, but it’s not good. It’s nothing like the original in Newport (or the one in Corona Del Mar). Even in California there is a massive discrepancy in the quality of various Chronics.

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Just checked and it is out of business. I had very mixed experiences there - the last time I was there with my brother the guy split the tortilla rolling his burrito. So he got a new tortilla, dumped the ingredients from the first into the new one, spread things around with his fingers and then rolled it on the same counter next to the register. We said, “Uh… we’re not eating that…” and he seemed very bothered that we made him make a new one.

I think most Mexican restaurants are like sausage, it is better to not know how it was made.

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I’ve had great Mexican and great Tex-Mex in Texas, California, Utah, and about 20 other states. The best Mexican I’ve ever had, of course, was in Mexico.

I asked for one of Rick Bayless’ Mexican cookbooks for xmas last year, and I’ve been making stuff all year. It’s been great. I’ve made various moles that turned out very well, lots of tacos and lots of salsas. Most recently, I grilled turkey breasts rubbed in achiote paste, which I had never tasted before. Delicious.


Cafe Rio is pretty much just a fair fast food establishment. Nothing special.

Sure, if you like sugar on your beef


[quote=“UteKing, post:5, topic:1822, full:true”]
Of all the fantastic places to eat in the Salt Lake Valley, I have no idea why anyone would go to Cafe Rio.[/quote]

Oh, come on. The place is always crowded so lots of people go there. For some of us, it’s about once a year, kind of like Crown Burger, when the mood strikes us.

I know it’s popular, I just don’t get it. Of course, one of my definite stops when I’m in Salt Lake is La Frontera, so I don’t have a lot of room to talk. I just like cheese.


I wouldn’t mind going to crown burger more than once a year. That’s a great spot.

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