El Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
8101 Connector Drive (Florence Center), Florence and 34 Carothers Road, Newport Plaza, Newport 859-525-8222 (Florence) or 859-292-8750 (Newport)
As a whole, strip malls are nothing glamorous and rarely offer anything to get excited about. Then again, not all strip malls have a restaurant like El Rio Grande.
Located inside the Florence Center, El Rio Grande's Boone County location is owned by Octavio Correa, a native of Morelia, Mexico. Looking around, you get a clear impression he wants the restaurant to look as authentic as its cuisine. It has bold red and green accents to go with the tangerine walls, many of which feature paintings and framed reliefs of Mexican landscapes or animals.
While the restaurant's festive nature extends through the bar and seating areas, El Rio Grande's cuisine will likely leave you smiling the most. Sure, all of the requisite fare - tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and plenty of beer and margaritas - is available ... Just make sure you order a dish you can handle. Dishes such as "Chile Colorado" (chunks of beef smothered in red chili sauce with Mexican rice, refried beans and flour tortillas, $8.50) may be too spicy for you - and we would hate for anything to ruin your El Rio Grande experience.
HOURS: Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
APPETIZER: Quesadilla rellena - a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese and your choice of chicken or beef served with rice and beans ($5.99)
FAJITAS: Especialidad Rio Grande - beef, chicken, chorizo, shrimp and carne asada served with sautéed onions and bell peppers, with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, pico de gallo, corn or flour tortillas, refried beans and Mexican rice ($11.25 single order or $19.99 for two)
DESSERT: Xangos - cheesecake wrapped in a fried pastry tortilla with ice cream and dusted with cinnamon and sugar ($3.99)
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