When you get a craving for authentic Mexican food, it’s sometimes hard to find a place that is not only delicious, but also kid-friendly. If more often than not, you find this to be the case, you can thank your lucky stars and be indebted to us forever for what we’re about to share: There’s a new family-friendly Mexican restaurant in town and she is opening with a bang! So next time you have a hankerin’ for some good ol’ Mexican food, head to Cafe Rio. Go ahead, you won’t be disappointed…. we pinkie swear!

Cafe Rio Sign

The Scoop
Cafe Rio first opened it’s doors in 1997 in the tiny town of St. George, UT. The menu was based on traditional cooking from Rio Grande, Southern Texas, and New Mexico. In no time at all this joint took off like gangbusters and spread into other states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming. They now have over 67 locations in 11 states. Wow, the numbers don’t lie, this place is the real deal!

Inside Cafe Rio

Freshest of the Fresh
Everything at Cafe Rio is fresh and made in-house. Nothing is pre-made, in fact, they don’t even have a microwave or freezer. They hand-roll hundreds of tortillas every day. Just thinking about a warm tortilla is getting our taste buds kicking. Mmmm, where were we? Ah yes, the freshness. Even the sauces, dressings, and desserts are homemade and prepared from scratch daily.

Cafe Rio Tortillas

The Menu
Cafe Rio has lots of different items to try including enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, salads, tacos, nachos, and chips and salsa. You can choose your filling from either fire grilled chicken, fire grilled steak, sweet pork barbacoa, chile roast beef, or pulled chicken breast. They offer sauces for a variety of tastes: mild, medium, or hot. If you have a firecracker in your fam or one with a more sensitive pallet, both are guaranteed to walk away happy!

Cafe Rio Burrito

Cafe Rio also has a kid’s menu that is sure to delight your little one’s taste buds. Bonus: Get a free cheese quesadilla with strawberries on the side with each paid adult entree. Yes, we said FREE!

If you order the burrito, be sure to ask for it enchilada style, but only if you like your burrito covered in delicious sauce and melted cheese, which who doesn’t? Also, don’t forget to order the chips and queso, it is a must! To wash it all down, be sure to try a creamy Horchata. To round out your meal, choose between Fresh Lime Pie or Tres Leches, you’ll be full, but you’ll be happy.

Cafe Rio Tres Leches

Other popular menu items include the salads, partly due to the out-of-this-world dressing. Seriously, it’s not even a choice, get the creamy tomatillo dressing! The sweet barbacoa pork is another fan-favorite.

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa Salad

How to Order
They employ a fast, upbeat ordering system here, not for the faint of heart. Make sure you know what you want when you get to the counter, they like to keep things movin’. Which also works well when trying to eat out with little kids in tow. The faster you get your food, the better!

Insider Secrets
Be sure to pick up a Frequent Diner card. You’ll get a punch for every meal you buy. Buy 10 meals and you get a free meal! Also be sure to check out their website for daily specials.

Good to Know
The line can get a little long, especially during the lunch hour. If eating in the privacy of your own home is more your style, they offer call-ahead ordering. Place your order by phone or online, relax, and when you arrive, your food will be hot and ready to go.

Inside Tables Cafe Rio

The Important Details
Mark your calendars! Opening day is Wednesday, April 16th. Hours of operation are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
3000 184th St. S.W.
Lynnwood, Wa 98037
Online: caferio.com
Facebook: facebook.com/CafeRio
Online menu: caferio.com/uploads/menus/Inside_DC.pdf

Have you been to Cafe Rio before? Let us know in the comments below what your favorite menu item is.

–Allison Rasmussen

Photos courtesy of Yelp by: Adam G, Andrew M, CKK, Mike W, Diana G , Brad W, Rebekkah C, and Nestor T