Rio Fresh Cafe is part of a growing segment of restaurants offering meals in liquid form.

Consider the "detox green," a verdant blend of kale, spinach, cucumber, mango, pineapple and coconut water.

Overall, Rio has 14 custom-built smoothies that use traditional and tropical ingredients. Popular choices are the dragon fruit, which also includes banana, pineapple and coconut water, and the Rio acai, blending the super-food berry with strawberry, blueberry, banana and apple juice.

Rio is a 40-seat independent restaurant that has taken over the old Phatt Taco location, 50 N. High St., just south of East Gay Street, in downtown Columbus.

It is owned by Aida Wilson, a native of Bolivia, who works with her daughter, Jennifer, and son, Jacob.

"We are big into organic and natural ingredients," Aida Wilson said.

The restaurant uses locally sourced items when possible, she said.

Jennifer Wilson also is quick to point out that no syrups are used in the drinks, which include organic coffee and tea.

The smoothies and beverages can be matched with an assortment of casual breakfast-and-lunch fare, such as the Rio omelet -- eggs, turkey, cheese and green peppers cooked in the center of a slice of challah bread.

Breakfast items, sandwiches and salads are available during cafe hours.

One menu item is the mandarin orange chicken, which features nuggets of battered chicken -- baked not fried -- served with an orange sauce, Spanish rice and broccoli.

Capitalizing on a popular trend, Rio also assembles a bowl with grilled chicken, Spanish rice, black beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, lime and avocado.

Breakfast items include mostly lighter choices, such as yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola, and pao de queijo, a Brazilian baked cheese roll. No single item on the menu tops $10.

Diners will have to wait for summer to experience acai bowls, using sorbet-like fruit puree, fresh fruit, granola, honey and coconut.

"We're looking at growing (the menu)," Aida Wilson said. "For now, this will be it."

Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 614-817-1073.


Good news for vegans and Columbus urbanites: ClusterTruck has added a "virtual" vegan truck and expanded its delivery services beyond downtown Columbus.

Nine new "vegivore" dishes include the jackfruit barbecue sandwich, spiced chickpea bowl and a trio of tacos, all priced under $10.50.

ClusterTruck, which opened in October at 342 E. Long St., is a professional kitchen with its own menu, but no dine-in services. Customers use a phone app to place orders and a company driver delivers the food in 21 minutes or fewer.

The delivery area, which essentially had been downtown Columbus and adjoining neighborhoods, has been tweaked, adding some areas north, south and west of its current delivery zone.


Mi Pueblo Mexican Grill + Bar has replaced Canelos Mexican Cuisine at 1993 Hard Road in north Columbus.

The owners, Felipe Natividad and Francisco Trinidad, are the force behind Taqueria Charritos Mexican Grill, 4740 Reed Road in Columbus, just north of Upper Arlington.

Mi Pueblo, which seats more than 80, offers a familiar menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas and a number of house specialties. It also boasts three pasta dishes. Most individual items are $9 to $15.


A few storefronts over from Mi Pueblo, Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream has opened for the season.

The shop at 1947 Hard Road is known for its traditional flavors, as well as the exotic.

Mardi Gras will remain open until after Thanksgiving.


Ruby Tuesday at 3730 W. Dublin-Granville Road has closed.