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Steven Larios, the owner of River Café, is no stranger to Sayulita. Born in Puerto Vallarta, he has been visiting Sayulita since he was 8 years old, and has long since enjoyed the local surf scene and community. With his history in Sayulita, it’s no wonder he chose this town to open River Café Sayulita last December, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
First off, how did you get into the restaurant business?
I started in the restaurant business when I was a little boy, maybe 11 or 12 years old. My parents used to work in restaurants and watch me in them. So, it just passed on to me naturally, since I was involved in restaurants growing up.
The River Café in Sayulita is the second River Café. Will you tell me more about the first River Café in Puerto Vallarta?
THE River Café in Puerto Valllarta has been there for 20 years now. It’s located in the heart of Vallarta in the Isla Rio Cuale. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and a variety of wildlife right at the edge of the Rio Cuale. The atmosphere overlooking the river and the garden is amazing with big iguanas on site. At nighttime, you can enjoy a beautiful candlelight ambience and food that pleases your palate. We are also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. We have live music on the weekends and on Sunday we have our delicious Sunday brunch buffet from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We have our happy hour from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., which is 2 for 1 margaritas and daiquiris.
Why did you choose Sayulita to open the second location?
We chose Sayulita because of all the years we’ve been coming here and seeing all the potential of the town. It has been growing so fast through the years and each year there are more people visiting Sayulita. And, why not? It’s a beautiful town to be in- everybody is really friendly and the atmosphere here suits our services as a restaurant.
How has business been since opening in Sayulita?
Business has been great. Our first season was better than expected and now heading towards our second season, business is looking very good. We have new menus coming out, live music, and local events.
What do you like most about having a restaurant in Sayulita?
The lifestyle and the simplicity of the town. The beach, the surf, the fishing concept of the place… it is like Vallarta years ago.
What makes River Cafe stand out from the other restaurants in Sayulita?
We sell, serve, and offer quality. So everything that we make is with the same quality standards as the one in Puerto Vallarta. We go with the Brand, so I think that’s what makes us stand apart from the other restaurants.
What’s your menu like? Are you making any changes to it this year?
Our menu is all about the kitchen that we put in to work. It’s an international kitchen so a little bit of everything, from local, regional, and international food. We are working on a new menu for this season, something a little bit different, basically our dinner menu. So stay tuned…
Do you have a signature dish?
We actually don’t have a signature dish at the moment. Last year we had the Duck breast Confit with potato au gratin… that was a hit!!
You’re known for having an outstanding breakfast. What’s your most popular breakfast item?
Most popular breakfast item? That’s a hard one! I think our “make your own omelet” and the huevos motuleños.
When it comes to your food, freshness is extremely important to you. Will you tell me more about this?
Freshness is really important for quality food. The recipes that you can implement or develop will always come down to the quality of ingredients by the freshness of the product. It’s the key for healthier and better food.
What is your best selling cocktail and what makes it unique?
Our bestselling cocktail is the hibiscus margarita on the rocks with coconut foam and caramelized hibiscus flower. It’s our best seller!!
You regularly offer promotions. Will you share more about this?
We offer happy hour from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily with our 2 for 1 drinks: Margaritas, daiquiris, piña coladas and mojitos. We are also doing our Pasta Wednesday Special - $120 pesos for pasta. We have five types of homemade recipe pasta (authentic Italian) every Wednesday.
Do you have live music? If so, what type and when?
We usually do have live music. We will start hosting live music again the middle of December through April. Jazz and blues are our concepts. Times and schedules are subject to change.
You’ve taken steps for River Café to be eco-friendly. Will you tell me more about this?
Yes, we have! One of the things that we been doing is participating with Sayulimpia helping to maintain our areas and keeping it clean. Another thing also, like instead of using Styrofoam containers to go, we use biodegradable ones to help the environment. We also do our part in conserving water, which is one of the many things that we contribute.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want invite everyone to come and visit us, and experience dining with us.