Look out Chipotle, a popular fast-casual Mexican chain with more than 100 locations across 11 states is opening its first San Diego branch this week. Launching in the Loma Square shopping center on Rosecrans in the Point Loma area, Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will swing open its doors on Wednesday, January 17 at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting and free meals for the first 300 people in attendance.
First founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1997, Cafe Rio’s menu draws on the cuisine of the Rio Grande region, spanning Northern Mexico, Southern Texas, and New Mexico. Its from-scratch open kitchen, which adheres to a “no freezer and no microwave” policy, turns out quick-serve dishes ranging from chips with queso to chicken tortilla soup, salads, enchiladas, and tacos and burritos built with fresh tortillas and proteins including spicy green chile pork, fire grilled salmon and sweet pork barbacoa. Drinks range from bottled Mexican coke to free refills on housemade horchata, mint limeade and strawberry lemonade and there are weekly specials, including $2.29 Taco Tuesday and 6.49 Tostada Wednesday.
In celebration of the grand opening, Cafe Rio is donating $2,500 to the San Diego Unified School District. The eatery also hosts community fundraising events for local schools, sports teams and clubs and offers a 50% discount on Mondays and a 25% discount all other days to diners with a valid military ID.