Cafe Toro replaces barbecue with Mexican food in Steamboat Springs |

Cafe Toro replaces barbecue with Mexican food in Steamboat Springs

Cafe Toro opened its doors a little over a week ago after owners of the downtown Steamboat Springs restaurant shifted the menu from barbecue to Mexican food.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The owners of The Pit on 5th restaurant have decided to replace pulled pork with carne asada tacos at Cafe Toro.

“We wanted to change to this concept the whole time,” restaurant co-owner Carlos Portillo said. “When we had The Pit, we always had in mind that we wanted to change it into a Mexican taqueria.”

So the Steamboat Springs barbecue restaurant closed its doors at 425 Lincoln Ave. late last month for a quick remodel and recently reopened as the Cafe Toro, specializing in Southern California-inspired tacos.

“We closed for about a week and a half to do the changes,” Portillo said. “We updated the colors and a few other things like that.”

The restaurant has already started making a few changes, like adding pool tables and updating the bar, before closing for the remodel. Portillo said it was all part of a plan to shift the focus of the restaurant, which had served as the location for the El Rancho, which closed in 2002. Since then, it has been home to a string of other restaurants.

Portillo is excited about the new concept — a taqueria offering a variety of traditional tacos including Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Pork Carnitas, Barbacoa, Buche, Chorizo and Lenquea. There will also be chicken and beef fajita tacos and  a number of fish taco offerings.

Tacos range in price from $2 for a California Breakfast Taco to $3.99 for the Baja Shrimp and Lengua tacos.

The menu also includes Mexican torta sandwiches, burritos, quesadillas and two-item combinations that will not break the bank. Portillo said customers can also find soup, salad and, of course, salsa on the menu.

The restaurant features a full bar and a laid-back atmosphere.  Portillo said people can place their orders at the front counter or can take a seat to be served.

Cafe Toro is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Portillo hopes to be able to add to the staff soon, which would allow the restaurant to open a little earlier for those looking for breakfast burritos.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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