"It is absolutely correct to eat tacos and tortillas with your fingers," claim El Ranchito owners Mike and Blanca Weir. A family affair, El Ranchito serves authentic "south of the border" fare.
Blanca's family, and it's a big one, came to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico and settled in California. Her father was the motivating force behind opening the restaurant in Hermann after he opened a Mexican restaurant in Union, Missouri. Mike is half German and half Mexican Indian (Aztec). As a result, "My wife says I'm crazy and stubborn," Mike says. With so much Mexican blood between them, opening their own Mexican restaurant was an obvious decision.
Settling in this small, quiet town was an easy choice for Mike and Blanca because they say it's a good place for their children. The couple met in California. Mike was raised in Los Angeles but spent ten years working at the docks at Newark, NJ. When he returned home for a vacation, he met Blanca, and they married. They wanted a different lifestyle, especially for their two young daughters, so in 2001 they opened the El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant. The Hermann location is one of four in the area operated by the Gallardos, Blanca's family.
El Ranchito is a family-oriented restaurant from the standpoint of both clientele and workers. Most of the kitchen crew are family members. All of the recipes are authentic, brought here from Guadalajara. A favorite of the townspeople is the fajitas. The menu is extensive with all items available all day. A luncheon menu is offered daily that includes a Mexican omelette and huevos rancheros, along with a complete selection of popular Mexican items. Customers are greeted with homemade chips and salsa, and the guacamole is made from scratch daily. Mike says nothing is left over at the end of the day. Any unused items are discarded because, he claims, "it doesn't taste the same the next day."
The restaurant offers full bar service, including an array of Mexican beers. The most popular drink is the margarita. But Mike says they don't concentrate on the bar scene.
El Ranchito opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Closing time is 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8:30 on Sunday, with no specified closing time on Friday and Saturday nights. The restaurant seats 160 people so reservations are usually not necessary. Take-outs are available, and to give local kids some extra spending money, Mike has instituted delivery service. The number to call is 573-486-0407. The restaurant is located at 710 S. Market St.