Photo by Shawn Arrajj
Menu offers traditional and Tex-Mex favorites
For Robert, Oscar, Jeovani and Mike Carrillo—the four brothers who opened Rancho Grande—starting up their own restaurant was part of the American dream.
“We came from Mexico not having anything to our name,” Robert said. “That will inspire you to better yourself and situation. Opening the restaurant was a way for us to get ahead.”
The Carrillo brothers opened Rancho Grande in 1991 with one location along FM 1960 and another in Tomball.
“The first location did not do as well as we thought, but the Tomball location did great,” Robert said. “The Rancho Grande in Magnolia came a few years later but did extremely well since the first day that we opened.”
Javier Hernandez, manager of the Magnolia location, said he goes above and beyond for his customers.
“In a small town like Magnolia, it’s important to treat the customers right,” he said. “You make sure you do everything correctly so people come back.”
The extra effort to give good service has worked out well for business, Hernandez said. The restaurant has built up a loyal following and has seen its popularity rise steadily over the years.
The menu at Rancho Grande consists of a wide array of Tex-Mex dishes, as well as traditional Mexican dishes, including the Steak Mexicano and the Rib Eye Ranchero. Robert said he updates the menu once or twice a year and recently added some new healthier choices, like the Grilled Tilapia.
“The menu is developed by me with help from my brothers,” he said. “We offer our customers what they want, and if one of them has an idea, we really take it seriously.”
Aside from the fresh Mexican food, the appeal of Rancho Grande comes from its vibrantly decorated dining area. Sombreros hang from the wall, chili peppers dangle from the ceiling and iconic images of Mexican and Southwest culture are depicted throughout the eatery.
The venue is broken up into smoking and non-smoking sections. In the future, Hernandez said he hopes to install some outdoor patio seating as well.
“We try to make the customer feel at home,” he said. “Even though the restaurant has grown a lot, we still try to give each customer that one-on-one.”
- Chicken Diablo—Four slices of chicken breast, jalapenos and cheese, wrapped with bacon, grilled, and served with rice and tortilla soup. ($12.25)
- Fiesta—Mixed veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, bacon, chicken fajita and shrimp, served together as one dish. While this item is not on the menu, it is served regularly and remains popular. (Price varies)
- Chile Relleno—Poblano pepper stuffed with choice of ground beef, shredded chicken, or beef or chicken fajita steak, covered with red sauce and cheese, and served with rice, beans and tortillas. ($11.99)
- Dirty Donkey—Large flour tortilla filled with ground beef, rice and beans, topped with chili, gravy, onions and cheese ($10.99)
- “I like most of the stuff on the menu. I usually try a little of everything. The gringo fajitas are the best.” –Danette
- “The people are always nice and it’s the cleanest restaurant in town. We come a couple times each week.” – Lorainne
- “I come for the good food. The location is also convenient for me.” – James
Rancho Grande features a cantina serving 15 different beers and a variety of cocktails, with an emphasis on margaritas.
- The house margaritas are among the more popular drink specials. Flavors include mango, strawberry, amaretto and blue curacao ($5.50 flavor margaritas, $5 house special).
- The Extreme Margarita comes with a bottle of Corona turned upside-down in the glass.
- The cantina also offers festive mixed drinks, such as Rancho’s Summer Drink and Washington Apple Martini.
Rancho Grande, 30134 Hwy. 249, Tomball, 281-351-1244, 18914 FM 1488, Magnolia, 281-356-1700, www.ranchograndebarandgrill.com
- Sun.–Wed. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
- Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
- Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.