El Rio Burrito Bar

El Rio is a quick-serve burrito restaurant located in Fort Hood, Oregon, which is nestled between Mount Hood and the Hood River. It’s a vibrant tourist town known as “The Windsurfing Capital of America,” and the downtown neighborhood is small but bustling.

When El Rio’s new owner came to me, he had another concept in mind and a smattering of logo work done, none of which he was happy with. Together we discussed his goals, investigated his competition, identified the neighborhood’s key demographics, and analyzed which of his menu offerings offered the highest profit margins.

From there, we rebuilt everything from the ground up. “El Rio Cantina” became “El Rio Burrito Bar,” and the brand messaging was brought into focus—instead of mimicking the design and copy of chain Mexican restaurants (as the old identity did), we focused on bolder, brighter colors, appealing to a younger lunch crowd, playing up the craft beer selection, and communicating to customers that El Rio is a neighborhood institution proud of serving its community—not to mention the freshest, healthiest lunch option in downtown Fort Hood. I redesigned the logo, rewrote and redesigned the menu, and designed the signage.

A few years later, El Rio is still going strong and has become a fixture of the downtown dining scene for both locals and tourists alike.