Cafe Rio closes: Longtime Rio del Mar seafood restaurant owner ...

A landmark Aptos restaurant served its last order of sand dabs on Sunday. Cafe Rio, a seafood dining spot steps from Rio del Mar Beach that opened three decades ago, closed its doors for good after dinner Sunday in the face of a weak economy that's put a damper on people eating out, owner Jeff Briggs said Sunday afternoon. Full Story
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John

United States

#1 Mar 1, 2010
lostworlds

Newark, CA

#2 Mar 1, 2010
gee do you think that lack of customers may have had something to do with the fact that cafe rio had really reallly poor customer service!

We over 50s found that the place was just for 30somethings who want to drink and be loud too.
Aptosmom

Menlo Park, CA

#3 Mar 1, 2010
Yes, the waitresses were rude. We over 40's found them rude as well. The last time I went there with family I came home to horrible food poisoning. All they could tell me at the restaurant is that I had the stomach flu. They lost their local clients long ago to the Brittania Arms and to Bittersweet. It had nothing to do with parking. Look at the crowds eating and drinking at Pixie.
Maggie

Santa Cruz, CA

#4 Mar 1, 2010
We lived just up the hill from this place for 20 odd years and only ate there a few times and only because of other people's parties. We felt it was overpriced and yes, the wait staff was rude. We never felt comfortable there as we do in other places that make you feel at home. We first went there in our 30's and now we are in our 60's. It was never a good "fit" for us.
OhLordy

San Bruno, CA

#5 Mar 1, 2010
So does that mean no more strippers?
Gimme a break

United States

#6 Mar 1, 2010
When Pat owned it up until five years ago it was a wonderful place that I frequented regularly over the years. Always looked forward to taking friends and family there. When Pat sold it to the current owner things went South. And fast. Prices went up, service got cut, food quality went down. I used to go there ten times a year. Since it was taken over by the current owner I've been there twice in the last four years then said never again. So Mr. Sewer work finger pointer... the sewer work isn't what drove the business away, you (the owner) did. Too bad, Cafe Rio was a real treasure in our neighborhood. Maybe the next team will turn it back around. Pat? C'mon back. Or maybe Mimi will take a swing at it. Call it Rio Bleu.
most important one

San Jose, CA

#7 Mar 1, 2010
It's never the county's fault, is it Ellen?
Right on Time

Watsonville, CA

#8 Mar 1, 2010
Sad, sad story. I loved this restaurant, but am among those who have not been eating out. My thoughts are with everyone losing their jobs, and to Mr. Briggs in losing his business.
Tip: The restaurant Sandabs in Scotts Valley has wonderful sand dabs.
soco

United States

#9 Mar 1, 2010
Economy Foods? Lovely. Keeping the money local, eh?

Or, did he already stiff Better Brands, Coast Produce and Ledyard?
Good Riddance

Pacific Grove, CA

#10 Mar 1, 2010
Cafe Rio Inc. Announces
Press Subheading
Aptos, CA - Feb 28, 2010 - THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS! We are happy to say that we are leaving! We have fought a great battle against "You Know Who"(pd) "He Who Shall Not Be Named". We were honest and tried to bring a beautiful cuisine to the area, but we were beaten down AND CHEATED in many ways. Jeff is an amazing Chef and only wanted to please the Palets of Cafe Rio customers. We were presented with so many trials that prevented us from reaching our potential...from the economy to to our immense health issues to(breast cancer and ruptured appendix 2008), and the economy and of course our ever wonderful landlord (who raised our rent during the sewer construction project done during Nov 2009-Jan 2010.). The last straw was the Public Works Project done by Santa Cruz County, which we could not overcome and was, supported by Eline Pierre and John Presleigh (my brother). This project essentially in conjunction with Pat Dugan, put us out of business. We tried for the sake of our employees to stay in business (selling everything we had). Our employees are the only reason we stayed around for so long! Bless them!
We wish all of those who supported us the Blessings of GOD , who we believe in. We love our country God and are not politically correct. We HUNT, CARRY GUNS AND BELIEVE IN THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT!!!!!!!!!!
Love from the BRIGGS FAMILY!!!
PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE LAST SUPPER SUNDAY THE 28TH OF FEBRUARY....WE ONLY WANT OUR SUPPORTERS TO COME FOR A FEAST!
WE BELIEVE IN HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.....BRING ALL OF YOUR GIFT CERTIFICATES TO REDEEM AFTER FEBRUARY 28TH, SO THAT PAT CAN LIVE THE DREAM THAT WE LIVED!
Local Yokel

Pittsburg, CA

#11 Mar 1, 2010
I haven't been to the Cafe Rio in years but met Patrick this past summer. He let me know the new owners had changed so much, raised prices so much and weren't open to his many years of advice. He didn't think the place was going to do well under the new owners and he was right.

You can't take over an institution and then change it all up, you'll lose the locals and once you've lost the locals you've got to make your money off once and done tourists and Santa Cruz is already way to full of once and done restaurants.
Germanos Pizza

San Jose, CA

#12 Mar 1, 2010
Ah, much better local times, food, and service were had back in the late 60's when Irene and Big Jim had Germano's Pizza operating out of the same place. Anyone know where Gary is now? He used to work behind the pizza counter and had penny gumball machines located throughout the county? Thanks.
Bird Man Fu

Santa Cruz, CA

#13 Mar 1, 2010
I'll just echo what everyone else said. It wasn't the economy, it was the new owner. Cafe Rio died 3 years ago.

Since: Feb 08

Santa Cruz

#14 Mar 1, 2010
Gimme a break wrote:
When Pat owned it up until five years ago it was a wonderful place that I frequented regularly over the years. Always looked forward to taking friends and family there. When Pat sold it to the current owner things went South. And fast. Prices went up, service got cut, food quality went down. I used to go there ten times a year. Since it was taken over by the current owner I've been there twice in the last four years then said never again. So Mr. Sewer work finger pointer... the sewer work isn't what drove the business away, you (the owner) did. Too bad, Cafe Rio was a real treasure in our neighborhood. Maybe the next team will turn it back around. Pat? C'mon back. Or maybe Mimi will take a swing at it. Call it Rio Bleu.
That's my take on it as well. No surprise really. We also frequented this business regularly over the past 30 something years, enjoying what I considered very good cuisine, albeit somewhat noisy at times. After it was sold things went south alright. The owner took too much out of the business and relied on the bar to float the place.
The old Portola House is headed down the same path, as are a few others. Of course the"bad economy" will get the blame, and maybe that does have a smidgen to do with it. But, bad service and bad food will do it every time. En Vino Veritas is another example as is La Bruscetta.
wildman

Santa Cruz, CA

#15 Mar 1, 2010
I heard the old Derby property at the end of the strip is in foreclosure. Things are bad in the Flats.
The Scream

Santa Cruz, CA

#16 Mar 1, 2010
I never ate there, so I'll believe what you all say. But this is like the second business in a week I've heard of where the old owner sold out two or three years ago and now the new owner is going out of business.

Whatever else happened, I think people were overpaying for businesses 3-4 years back -- the good times, they'd never end, right?-- and now they don't have the money or cash flow to hang on, especially if they're still making payments to the old owner or the bank.

Well, nobody forced them to pay too much. But just don't expect that _every_ business that's going belly up gave bad service.

Since: Feb 08

Santa Cruz

#17 Mar 1, 2010
Germanos Pizza wrote:
Ah, much better local times, food, and service were had back in the late 60's when Irene and Big Jim had Germano's Pizza operating out of the same place. Anyone know where Gary is now? He used to work behind the pizza counter and had penny gumball machines located throughout the county? Thanks.
Now there was an honest pizza!
Aptos Resident

Torrance, CA

#18 Mar 1, 2010
Typical Teabagger, blame the "Gubiment". Blame anybody and everything else. Aptos is a small community. Once word got around about the impact the new ownership had on the place, they were through. I gave it one try and and never went back. This is after frequenting the old Rio for years. Mediocre, overpriced food and bad service won't cut it when there's so many good alternatives. A "Cafe Bleu" with Mimi at the helm would be great.
Aptosian

United States

#19 Mar 1, 2010
The sewer project has made a huge mess of the roads and the esplanade. If we could bet on the project not being completed by summertime, we'd make a fortune.

There's no way it will be finished on time.
Rob

Pacifica, CA

#20 Mar 1, 2010
That was my favorite restaurant for over 20 years...till the ownership change. After that the food was mediocre. I stopped going.
I look forward to seeing a new restaurant open in that fabulous location. If it is competently run, it will succeed.

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