Rio’s Burger Bar is an institution in my old home town of Newbury in Berkshire. The small takeaway, found just off Bartholomew Street on the outskirts of the town centre, has a loyal customer base in the local area. Mention the “Rio’s” name to anyone in Newbury and it’s likely that they will have eaten there, and will generally have great words to say about it.
I was excited then to finally head back to Rio’s after seven years of not eating there (due to living ‘up north’). I was after-all once one of those loyal customers myself.
Rio’s has one of the most extensive menus that I have ever seen at a burger joint. You can choose from a range of beef, chicken and veggie burgers, or 6oz angus steak burgers… whilst the 3/4lb payday burger offers a bit of a ‘man vs food’ style challenge for a pretty impressive £5. Sides such as fries and onion rings are also on offer, whilst a choice of salad can be added to your burger for no additional cost.
If you aren’t familiar with the menu at Rio’s (perhaps it’s your first time visiting) then it will take you a while to decide which of the tasty options to go for as they all sound so good! However I had already decided that I was going to go for my old favourite – the Disney Burger – with cheese, bacon and onion (£3.20).
Whilst a bit simpler than some of Rio’s offerings, it’s a definite classic with it’s perfect blend of flavours from the soft beef, salty yet but not fatty bacon, melted cheese and fresh white bread bun.
Hannah came with me to Rio’s and ordered the Volcano Burger, which is a 6oz beef patty with pepperoni, fresh chillis, chilli sauce, cheese and onions (£4.20). The patty chef said that “few ladies ever ordered this burger”, so was slightly surprised that she wasn’t opting for a mild chicken burger instead (clearly he didn’t know about the existence of this blog).
Although you can kind of understand what he meant when you see the burger complete and full of its components – you sure do get a lot for the price (including a lot of green chillies!). Hannah thought that the burger was pretty awesome, especially with the addition of the pepperoni, but she did need a cold drink afterwards to cool down her tongue.
Real care goes into the burgers at Rio’s and they are well worth the short wait you need to be prepared for at the bar. When you consider that burgers from certain mobile takeaway vendors would charge around double the price, I would say Rio’s offers a similar experience, which positions them as somewhere you would return to again and again, rather than it being a one-off, luxury purchase.
It also seems that they have made a real effort to make their burgers less ‘greasy’ since I last had one, and this may be due to the original owner buying the business back during this time which has lead to an improvement in quality. Their burgers don’t taste overly heavy, meaning having one around lunchtime doesn’t make you feel sluggish for the rest of the day.
So if you are in the Newbury area any time soon, make sure you pay Rio’s a visit!