By: Rachel Cain – News Editor
After setbacks due to construction, a new El Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant and Cantina opened on the corner of Brown Street and East Stewart Street May 18.
“We felt it was necessary to have one of our locations [on Brown Street],” Garibaldi Rodriguez, owner of El Rancho Grande, said in a phone interview with Flyer News. “There are a lot of fast food places there, but there wasn’t a fine dining Mexican restaurant.”
El Rancho Grande is a sit-down Mexican restaurant with a full-service bar.
“It’s a family restaurant,” Rodriguez said. “I have kids in college, so I know the feeling of wanting some place where the families can sit down and enjoy talking with their kids while enjoying their meals.”
The original planned date for opening was April 2014 but had to be pushed back due to complications throughout the construction process.
“Normally, when we open a new El Rancho Grande, it takes four or five months,” Rodriguez said. “This one took 14 months.”
The difficulties with construction arose due to the structure of the building, as the restaurant itself is located beneath apartments.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that they’re open,” said Edward Blake, commercial CEO cand CFO of Miller-Valentine Group, the real estate group that owns the building development. “I have a daughter that just graduated from UD, and I got yelled at because I told her they were going to be open earlier than they were.”
Rodriguez said the delays in the restaurant’s opening had nothing to do with their ability to obtain a liquor license, as some rumors claimed.
Since this particular El Rancho Grande location will have a large college student customer base, Rodriguez said the bar in this restaurant is five times larger than the bars in the other El Rancho Grande locations.
Although the restaurant’s grand opening was originally planned for June 17, it has been rescheduled because the restaurant was unable to secure permission from Miller-Valentine and UD. The event will likely take place during the following week, but the date has not yet been determined. All the customers who come during the grand opening will receive $10 gift cards to El Rancho Grande. There will also be giveaways and entertainment.
“Our grand openings are a big deal,” Rodriguez said.
The restaurant seats 200, with space for 168 inside and 32 out on the patio.
“We are finally in Brown Street,” Rodriguez said. “We are here to stay, and we hope that families and students will enjoy our restaurant.”
El Rancho Grande is open Sunday–Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. “Happy Hour” is from 3 to 6 p.m. every day.