A popular Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins is plotting its next big move.

Rio Grande Mexican Grill a.k.a "The Rio", a long-time staple in Old Town Fort Collins serving up some of the best Mexican food in town went through quite the change last summer due to a fire that broke out in the ductwork above the kitchen of the restaurant's former Old Town location (143 W. Mountain Ave).

A little over a month later - in August 2021 - following an extensive assessment of the overall damage done to the restaurant's Mountain Ave location, it began looking like the restaurant would be closed for repairs for a rough six months.

As a result, the Rio's founder and owner Pat McGaughran ultimately decided to open a temporary pop-up version of the popular Mexican restaurant just around the corner on 125 S. College Ave in Old Town Fort Collins, which continues to operate today.

In recent days, however, it seems as though the Rio is finally preparing to leave its pop-up location on S. College Ave - but to go where?

According to the Coloradoan, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant is planning its grand return to its original location at 143 W. Mountain Ave. as soon as next month, as per the restaurant chain's founder and owner Pat McGaughran.

The Rio is reportedly "working feverishly" to wrap up its renovation and return home, especially as the short-term lease at its temporary pop-up location, 125 S. College Ave., nears its end in late May.

Although patrons can pretty much expect the same amazingly delicious Mexican fare from the Rio once it moves back to its Mountain Ave. location, the restaurant will be taking on a new look and feel, according to McGaughran.

"We are The Rio and we will be what everybody loves about The Rio, but it's been a very long time since we've updated our motif," he said. "The interior of the space is going to have a more contemporary look and feel."

In addition, the Coloradoan reported on Wednesday (Apr. 13) that the Rio is also working on a major expansion of its back patio — nearly doubling its former footprint and adding a dedicated outdoor bar that McGaughran said they're working hard to have completed by the time the restaurant is ready to reopen.

I don't know about you, but wherever the Rio goes, I'll follow.

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