Costa Vida Vs. Cafe Rio: The Lawsuit That Changed Everything

Costa Vida and Café Rio have been the subject of rumors for several years in the food industry. The majority of individuals claim that it was actually not only due to the weird similarities between both of these chains but also because of the lawsuit that really shook the foundation.

Costa Vida Vs. Cafe Rio:

Café Rio actually sued Costa Vida, previously recognized as Costa Azul Fresh Mexican Grill, back in 2005. Allegations of copying of layout, recipe theft, and even the diner card concept were presented on the table by the appellant for the inequitable competition against the Costa Vida.

Costa Vida Vs. Cafe Rio The Lawsuit That Changed Everything

The Origin Of Café Rio:

Patricia and Steve Stanley, back in 1997, started the humble start of Café Rio in St. George, Southern Utah. The couple utilized what they’ve seen traditionally accomplished in Southern Texas and was really inspired by their grandmothers’ recipes. The company then started its expansion outside of Utah with the help of Bob Nielsen back in 2004.

Moving forward to Nevada, Colorado, California, Arizona, Virginia, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Maryland, where a total of eighty franchises were born. Ever since the inception of this fantastic place, it has been achieving awards after awards, like Utah’s Best of State, number one Overall Quick Service Restaurant, and INC 500.

As if it’s not adequate, the restaurant is also involved in erecting the communities’ future near them passionately and has assisted in taking care of the less providential souls.

The Real Story Of Costa Vida:

On a similar yet extremely diverse note, Costa Vida started back in the year 2003 when wife and husband tandem, Sarah and JD Gardner, came across the Mexican lifestyle in Cabo San Lucas throughout their vacation. The couple really fell in love with the gorgeous beaches and the fresh food prepared with so much love and passion. As a consequence, in Layton, Utah, they opened the flagship restaurant.

Costa Vida Vs

Serving just the freshest and best quality of ingredients, everything that you will get in these great food chains is prepared from scratch. Beef is slow-cooked, tortilla is handcrafted, and the guacamole is prepared from recently smashed or picked avocado. It’s also worth stating that your kitchen is under an Executive certified Chef.

What Is The Difference Between Costa Vida And Café Rio?

Based on the different bloggers and Yelp reviewers, you can simply identify the different similarities but will definitely be blown away by how just diverse Costa Vida and Café Rio are from one another.

Beginning with the theme, although both of these restaurant chains contemplate themselves as Mexican, Café Rio actually becomes the victor hands down. It’s more Mexican, while the Costa Vida restaurant chain has a theme that is more beach-inspired, no matter what they promote. Café Rio has around seventy-three restaurants all across the country, while Costa Vida has fifty-two locations.

Both of these chains provide online service, but because of the newness, the latter appears to be even more visible to the young crowd. In terms of the size of the portion, Costa Vida really provides two sizes, which are small and regular, while Café Rio juts have that one standard size. However, this standard size can really provide for up to 2 individuals, while Costa Vida is more like a single serving size place, no matter if it is small or regular.

Costa Vida provides various flavors for the chipotle, such as the delicious raspberry flavor or mango chicken. It’s really American but also happens to be exclusively theirs. It’s another cause why Café Rio appears to be more Mexican in the theme they have, as they really stick to the original flavors accessible in Mexico.


The lawful disputes were settled back in 2007 before it even became a problem, and tactfully, the terms haven’t been revealed to the community. However, the damage has been made as the majority of consumers now have a tendency to compare the two. In general, while Costa Vida and Café Rio might be a little confusing at first, the two are clearly too diverse for making the comparison a really big deal.

The majority of reviews claim that the layout, food, and costs are all similar apart from the taste, saying that Café Rio really has a bit higher edge in the department. It can be said that the competition is really a close fight, but if the burritos and tortillas will be the basis, the majority of people would really risk their lives in saying that Café Rio has a way better taste.

The people lining up outside the shops can really be the deciding factor. If a consumer wants to have a seat as soon as he or she enters the shop, he has to choose Costa Vida. If a consumer is after the crowd and the noise, Café Rio will not let down as there’s always a line forming in each location.