Are you craving Mexican food and looking for a family friendly place to dine? Look no further than El Rio Grande. There are two locations in Northern Kentucky, the original location, on Carothers Road in Newport and the newer spot on Houston Road in Florence (the former Macaroni Grill building). The location in Newport is hidden away in a strip of shops that houses a Dollar Tree & Remke’s.
Our family’s favorite is the Newport location, where we have been going for almost 10 years. The staff is warm and friendly, the food is consistently tasty & authentic, and the environment is casual & fun. One of the things that makes this a “family friendly” restaurant is the fact that it isn’t quiet…it’s boisterous and a bit noisy, which I always like when I take the kids out, because then their noise just blends in!
The menu (to my knowledge) has not changed much over the years, the food is decently priced, the portions are generous, and they have a pretty big variety of dishes! The kid’s meals (cheese quesadilla, rice, & beans) are a mere $2.99 (drink not included) – which is not bad compared to kids meals at other local restaurants. I love the tacos carne asada, which is $9.99 for three big tacos. And the chicken chimichanga that is my husband’s fave is $8.99. Like I said, the portions are large, so these prices seem very reasonable to me! And included with every meal is the complimentary chips and salsa! Yum! I could dine on those alone.
The only drawback is that the word is getting out about Rio – and the place can be packed! I have only been to the Florence location once, so I am not sure how crowded they get, but the Newport location can get pretty crowded on weekends. We always try to get there a little early in the dinner hours, and don’t wait very long, but while we eat we notice that the crowd waiting for tables gets bigger and bigger. If our children are with us and there is a long wait we simply wander a few doors down to the pet store to visit the animals while the other parent waits for the table.