Make way for more Mexican

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chipotle might have a new local competitor slinging burritos and tacos.

Café Rio, which like Chipotle markets itself as more up-market than fast food but without a wait staff, is negotiating on properties in Richmond, according to Ben Craner, the company’s chief marketing officer.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said the Utah-based company is looking at space in Short Pump.

Café Rio wants in on Richmond after its three D.C. restaurants proved the model works on the East Coast. There are 46 locations nationwide.

Craner said he thought the region could absorb another Mexican joint because Chipotle, for example, appeals to a different demographic.

“Chipotle reaches the ‘high fast-food user’ crowd, and that’s males, 18 to 24,” Craner said. “We find that families and women are a big segment of our customers.”

Café Rio opened its first restaurant in 1997 in Utah and began expanding out of state in 2006, first to Arizona and then to Las Vegas in 2007.

Craner said that what sets Café Rio apart is that all their dishes are made from scratch, including their tortillas and chili.

The restaurant is looking for locations that are about 3,000 square feet with room for a patio so people can eat outside.

“Food tastes better when you’re happy, and people are happier when they get outside and enjoy the weather,” Craner said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chipotle might have a new local competitor slinging burritos and tacos.

Café Rio, which like Chipotle markets itself as more up-market than fast food but without a wait staff, is negotiating on properties in Richmond, according to Ben Craner, the company’s chief marketing officer.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said the Utah-based company is looking at space in Short Pump.

Café Rio wants in on Richmond after its three D.C. restaurants proved the model works on the East Coast. There are 46 locations nationwide.

Craner said he thought the region could absorb another Mexican joint because Chipotle, for example, appeals to a different demographic.

“Chipotle reaches the ‘high fast-food user’ crowd, and that’s males, 18 to 24,” Craner said. “We find that families and women are a big segment of our customers.”

Café Rio opened its first restaurant in 1997 in Utah and began expanding out of state in 2006, first to Arizona and then to Las Vegas in 2007.

Craner said that what sets Café Rio apart is that all their dishes are made from scratch, including their tortillas and chili.

The restaurant is looking for locations that are about 3,000 square feet with room for a patio so people can eat outside.

“Food tastes better when you’re happy, and people are happier when they get outside and enjoy the weather,” Craner said.

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Drew
Drew
10 years ago

If it appeals to women and families does this mean that they serve smaller portions? I love Chipotle but can only give into eat it occasionally because it so much food. I miss the burrito shop I frequented in Cleveland in the 90s that had, get this, a small-sized burrito for $4.75.

Lenita
Lenita
10 years ago

Love, love, love Cafe Rio!

Scott Green
Scott Green
10 years ago

I don’t get their characterization of Chipotle as 18-24 males. Their clientele seems to me to be very broad-based, with tons of family traffic.

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

It seems strange that Moe’s and Qdoba, as well as other local establishments, aren’t mentioned as competition. Obviously Chipotle is king, since it is backed by McDonalds, but like deli’s, Richmond loves some burritos and there are plenty to go around. Maybe this one will push some others out of town. Also, I agree with Drew, huge, expensive plates have become ridiculous. I just want one half the size for half the price.

John
John
10 years ago
Reply to  Brett

McDonalds sold off all its interest in Chipotle in 2006, Brett. Just about the same time people realized Qdoba (owned by Jack-in-the-Box) and Moe’s were terrible. Hop back into the DeLorean, and take a look around.

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

Well at least you didn’t state your case in a condescending matter. I agree that they are terrible, but someone must like them because they are still here. I think each has been here about 5 years or more? As soon as I get back from my trip to the past I’ll let you know.

Mike
Mike
10 years ago

They would be a perfect fit next to Whole Foods, CMOR and ACAC in West Broad Village

Maribeth
Maribeth
10 years ago

I have been dropping hints to the staff of Cafe Rio in Olney, Maryland, that Richmond wants them too. I doubt my personal voice was really heard, but I am DELIGHTED. I have eaten at Chipotle’s 2-3 times in my life and only went back because of convenience. Cafe Rio is WAY out of their league. I am already anticipating a minimal weekly dose of coconut flan and a Cafe Rio pork barbecoa salad…Heaven!!!

Steve
Steve
10 years ago

FINALLY!!

Kimberly Lajoie
Kimberly Lajoie
10 years ago

I used to live out west for a while going to school, and Cafe Rio was my favorite place to eat! I miss it so much. I am SOOO excited the Richmond will be opening up a Cafe Rio! Richmond is about to have the best Mexican its ever had!

Matt Lawson
Matt Lawson
10 years ago

I’ll believe it when I see it, but if this is true, I am moving to Short Pump!