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PHX- Ranch Market

Can anyone give me some feedback on the Phoenix Ranch Market. I've seen it mentioned as a great place for lunch but was under the impression that it's more of a grocery store? Is it worth a visit for grocery shopping? What should I expect from a visit to the market? Also, is there a particular one that is better than the others? Thanks

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  1. I just went there for the first time a few weeks ago (16th/Roosevelt), so let me share some thoughts...

    ~It's primarily a grocery store, with an extensive food court like no other I've seen. The American products from my perspective were a little pricey, but everything else seemed very reasonable.
    ~It's busy - real busy. I went on Sunday during lunch time and there were lots of people both shopping and eating in the food court. Be prepared to take your time and swerve your cart between children, promo stands, etc.
    ~Drink some horchata at the juice bar near the food court - trust me. They also have lots of other fresh juices there, which all looked very good.
    ~You can order birria, carne asada, carnitas, etc to-go by the pound, so it makes a great mid-week meal. I believe they are all under $6.99/lb.
    ~The tortillas and salsas all made in-house are very good, especially the tomatillo salsa.
    ~They have fresh octopus and baby octopus in their seafood section, along with a wide array of fish. I didn't try any, but I will definitely be returning for some soon.
    ~We spent over 3 hrs there on our first visit, so clear your calendar!

    2 Replies
    1. re: azhotdish

      Do any regulars know if they offer an in house enchilada sauce? I had some communication errors here. I got the nice fresh corn enches from one corner, the finest cheese from the back shop, but nobody understood my request for ench sauce. I was led to the salsa counter.

      1. re: tastyjon

        Ha. I once asked for a glass of water, and received horchata. Best mistake ever!

    2. Well, there is a grocery store, with food stands inside. There is also a taco stand in the shopping village and a sit-down restaurant with a large patio and a banquet room, Tradiciones. So if you want to grab a taco or tamale it's good and if you want to get a pound of carne asada and fresh tortillas for dinner later it's good and if you want to sit down and listen to mariachis, it's good for that too. It's a good place, in a nutshell.

      The other locations (not 16th-Roosevelt) have the food stands but not the restaurant. Better for take-away. Incredible bakeries, butchers, and produce in every one, though.

      My question is, what makes it a "ranch" market? because the asian grocery at the COFCO center is also a ranch market. My theory is is has something to do with the live fishtanks, but I have no idea.

      9 Replies
      1. re: themis

        "Ranch Market" is the place discussed in this thread - the one with Hispanic food. "Ranch 99 Market," the asian grocer located at the Chinese Cultural Center, is a completely different company. Confusing though...

        Ranch Market: http://www.prosranch.com/

        Ranch 99: http://www.99ranch.com/

        1. re: themis

          From what I know, Phoenix Ranch Market got its name from when Phoenix was an agricultural town and the Ranch Market really was a ranch market. These days, instead of ranch markets, they would be called farmers' markets. From what I've heard, my grandmother shopped for produce at the 16th and Roosevelt one, but this was when the area wasn't predominantly Hispanic.

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            All the stores in the chain are named {insert city} Ranch Market.

            Phoenix Ranch Market
            Fresno Ranch Market
            and coming soon El Paso Ranch Market

            1. re: mamamia

              Right -- I get that Ranch 99 and Phoenix Ranch Market are completely different stores, I am in them all the time. I get that they are all named after the town they are in; that seems pretty obvious. What I'm asking is what constitutes a "Ranch" market as opposed to any old market. Which JK tried to answer (thanks) except I know of Ranch Markets in places that haven't been agricultural in half a century or more; here I'm talking Seattle and LA, where they also historically have had Farmer's Markets. So what would be the difference between a Ranch Market and a Farmer's Market as opposed to a plain grocery or supermarket?

              To me, "Ranch" carries the connotation of livestock. I've yet to see any cows moo'ing in the aisles at any of these places; the closest you get is the massive pig sculpted of chorizo at PRO's. I love that thing; it's the first stop when I bring in out-of-towners for a tour.

              1. re: themis

                Mexicans are big on things like ranches and cowboys. I overhear people calling the store "la ranchera", because it's what is familiar to them and what they like. It's a draw to have a name like that.

                It has nothing to do with being a farmers market. It's marketing, baby, marketing.

                1. re: mamamia

                  Ah, thanks. So what about all the Asian ranch markets, same thing?

                  1. re: themis

                    I don't know...I'm not Asian, so I can only speak for the Mexicans on this one.

                    1. re: themis

                      The 99 Ranch (or is it Ranch 99?) is a chain of grocery stores, with origin some where in California. I don't know anything about the history of the name, though there may be something about it on the chain's web site. I suspect the '99' refers to highway 99 which runs, in one form or another, the whole length of the west coast. The one closest to me actually is on hwy 99, though I think that is coincidental, since the building was originally a Kmart. In any case the stores are just large, comprehensive Asian groceries, with a Chinese bias.


                      1. re: paulj

                        I have always suspected that the 99 is simply a good lucky number to have associated with a business. Nine is the number of the emperor, and is associated with prosperity and lots of naches.

                        Mr Taster

          2. Don't miss the Cantaloupe Aqua Fresca at the front stand. So refreshingly delicious.

            I'm also addicted to the al pastor tacos as the food stand. So much I haven't yet tried the ceviche that looks so good towards the back of the store.

            It's definitely worth making the visit. Tradiciones makes a good margarita if you want to sit down in a restaurant to eat.

            "it's a good place, in a nutshell" definitely sums it up.

            1. It is supposed to make you feel like you're in a mercado - where you spend time shopping for your food and being able to eat and rest. My parents went to Tradicciones a while back and reported that they'll stick to the eating at the store for the atmosphere and people watching.

              As for grocery shopping - YES! I love their produce, meat, and bakery. Produce at Hispance markets(Food City as well) is cheaper and ready to eat, as opposed to the major chains. Studies have shown that Hispanics shop more frequently throughout the week, so a very ripe banana or mango usually gets eaten at home within a day or two anyway. And all the chain stores seems to be more focused on how pretty the produce is rather rather than the ripeness. Also, some of the good stuff like tomatoes, corn, limes(!!) and jicama are so much cheaper here. I just went to Whole Food yesterday - limes were 2/$1. They are 10/$1 at PRM.
              We buy their carne asada from the meat counter for grilling(if you are asked to make it "preparado", say yes. They'll send it home in marinade for you).

              As far as normal everyday stuff, there's not a huge selection. I laugh because if you walk down the aisle that has soup you will see two kinds of Campbells soup - tomato and chicken noodle. So I like to supplement with a little visit for tortillas, asada, salsa, pan dulce for a sweet treat for my daughter.

              Just go. I think some people may shy away due to the area it's in, but it's a great time.

              13 Replies
              1. re: mamamia

                Can you get cuban sandwiches at the one on 16th St?

                1. re: arizonagirl

                  Ummmmm...think primarily MEXICO. Cubanos...Cuban. But if you go to Tradiciones, you could become fascinated by the range of Mexican states represented. And it most emphatically is a market...well worth a stroll through the aisles. Have fun!

                  1. re: arizonagirl

                    I'm pretty sure that they do offer cubanos there. I do know they offer tortas, so that's certainly a step in the right direction.

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      they do have a cubano torta..its insanely good :D

                      1. re: winedubar

                        Can you tell me where I go to get that? I want to go there tomorrow? Also, will anyone speak english?

                        1. re: arizonagirl

                          sure - its in the first grill area/restaurant, it's marked 'tortas' pretty clearly with the prices. the language issue won't be too much of a challenge. when in doubt, point ;)

                            1. re: arizonagirl

                              just to be sure... a cubano torta is very different from a cuban sandwich. It's definitely a good thing, but different.

                              1. re: kindofabigdeal

                                What's the difference?? I'm on my way there shortly

                                1. re: arizonagirl

                                  a cubano torta is on a bolillo roll and the ingredients differ. It will probably be some sort of mexican cheese, but maybe swiss. There will be ham and roast pork, but mounds of it, with sliced avocado on top. Mustard is not a given, and I've even had one that had a milanese steak on it. Other veggies, like lettuce, are optional too. The surface maybe be toasted, but not pressed. In Mexico some street vendors deep fry the whole sandwiches, but i haven't seen that around here at all.

                                  Torta fans should check out this concept that may start making more locations in the DFW area. http://www.tiostortas.com/

                          1. re: arizonagirl

                            The girls out front do speak English, and will usually mark your ticket with an E so when your order comes up, they call your number in English as well.

                            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                              key word - USUALLY. make sure you know 1-10 in spanish and can distinguish them over the loudspeaker. Listen for the last number in your order.

                    2. PRM is worth the time and effort. I love the place, but the area can be somewhat intimidating. Still, the allure of tortas, tacos and their fresh limeade draw me in every time, not to mention the pineapple empanadas.

                      Do a little shopping first. Hit the butcher section, check out the seafood section, marvel at the types of chiles they have, get a bag of fresh tortillas right off the belt, walk around the beautiful produce section, then head over to the food court and order an inexpensive lunch. Before grabbing a table to wait for your number to be called, grab a horchata or other beverage and wait. Enjoy your lunch and then stop by the bakery on your way out the door. (Note: the custard filled churros are ambrosia.)

                      It will be worth every moment invested.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Seth Chadwick


                        Within the framework of Mexican and/or Latin American retail, Ranch Market is a grocery store, with little "stations" inside. Not unlike an upscale grocery store like AJ's. Juices, to-go restaurant, seafood, fresh masa and tortillas, seafood and more. But above all, top-quality produce and meats & seafood.

                        Tradiciones is the full-service restaurant and banquet facility attached to Ranch Market. It is also a great experience, but is just a restaurant...with attached faux "mercado" stalls to sell goods.

                        Have fun!!!

                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                          It's definitely worth the grocery shopping. When I go I always hit the produce, the cheese and crema counter (and pickled carrots), seafood and especially the butcher. Usually buy a couple of pounds of the skirt (ranchera? arrachera? I can never remember) and have them bag it preparada in their marinade. My wife would never forgive me if I didn't buy several pounds of beef cheeks from them too.

                          Plus, it s a great place to graze. I'm fond of the fish or shrimp tacos or a ceviche tostada and a glass of tamarindo myself.

                          Personally I'll shop there over AJ's any day.

                        2. I sometimes eat at Tradiciones and then stroll over to the Ranch Market for dessert -- either a pastry or one of the single-serving containers of freshly sliced papaya or mango with a dusting of chili powder. The former can be found in the bakery; the latter is available at the same stand where frescas and horchata, are sold.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: silverbear

                            Oh yeah, killer rice pudding at the agua stand. True rice pudding - white rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon.

                            1. re: mamamia

                              Yeah, I never hear anyone talk about the rice pudding. Greatness. Especially the kind with "raisins" (as the ingredients say... either they're prunes or we're missing out on some insane grapes from mexico)

                          2. I just like the tacos and the fresh drinks.

                            1. Tortas! Muy sabroso ... birria, carne, carnitas, pollo, chiles ... Horchata y jamaica ...

                              1. Just got back from the Ranch Market. What an awesome experience. The Torta Cubano was delicious. The language was only a minor issue. Took home some cakes and can't wait to try them. We had a limon drink that was really good and did lots of grocery shopping. Can' t wait until our next trip. Wish there was one in North Phoenix :-)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: arizonagirl

                                  Glad you enjoyed it. I'm trying to try everything on the menu, but I have such favorites that I love to eat all the time. I'll be sure to add the torta to the list.

                                  I haven't had their cake, so please report back with your tasty findings.

                                  1. re: mamamia

                                    I have to admit that I was really dissapointed with the cakes. We bought several different pastries and a tres leches cake. The cake was not like anything I've ever had before. It had a very odd taste to it. The pastries were just ok. Let's just say I won't be getting dessert from them again anytime soon.

                                2. I had dinner at Tradiciones last night and was really disappointed in the food overall,I had the pollo asado plate and aside from the chicken being very moist and tasty,everything else on the plate looked and tasted dull and boring,I have eaten there a couple of times before and the food was o.k. but I think the food inside the market in the food court is so much better,the only reason we went to Tradiciones instead of the food court was so we could sit and visit,but I think that will be the last time I pass up the food inside the market for their restaurant.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: twodogs

                                    I've had good meals at Tradiciones, but I'll be the first to admit that it's somewhat tame in comparison to the food inside the Ranch Market itself. I think Tradiciones is an attempt to target a broader audience that might not feel comfortable eating street food in a food court atmosphere. As you note, it's definitely not a full-service version of the Ranch Market food court, and I'm not even sure the type of food served inside the Ranch Market would translate well into a full-service enviroment.

                                    1. re: silverbear

                                      Well there you go trying to be reasonable. What I want is for some Mexican cook to come out and tell me what I want to eat, but I assume that concept wouldn't go over well. "surprise me" or "give me what you like" seem to get lost in translation.

                                      1. re: kindofabigdeal

                                        It wouldn't be bad to take my husband and dad to PRM for father's day lunch, would it?? All this talk has got my mouth watering.

                                        And for you hounds with kids - I don't think it's on the menu, but you can order a quesadilla for you or your kiddos. I'm not a big fan of their kids menu.

                                  2. Went to PRM for lunch today - had a delicious ham torta with lettuce, cheese (almost looked and tasted like American cheese), tomato, beans and salsa. $2.99, really? I can't remember the last time $3 and change filled me up for lunch.

                                    Also bought some carne asada (ranchero) in the marinade - had a little trouble with the lady behind the meat counter understanding what I wanted, but as has happened before , she summoned over an English speaker and all was taken care of.

                                    I really love that place, I wish I could get there more often.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: azhotdish

                                      Well, I had 'talked' Phoenix Ranch Market up so much to my coworkers; we decided to take the trek over there today for lunch.
                                      Being the experienced Spanish speaking Anglo, the group looked to me for guidance. I read off the menu selections that weren't in English and told them what kind of meat was in the trays in the window. It was an overwhelming choice even for me.
                                      A couple of the girls decided to 'play it safe' with some fried chicken. The other two girls in our group decided on the Ranch Burrito.
                                      I, unfortunately, cannot have "carbs" at this venture on my road to losing a couple of spare tires. (smirk) Having fond memories of succulent marinated, shredded pork, I ordered a Combination Plate with Carnitas and ensalada as my sides. When I told the girl taking my order, no beans or rice, she looked at me quizzically, but wrote down what I wanted and told the preparer behind the counter.
                                      There seemed to be some trouble at both of the registers and one of the fried chicken girls had to borrow some cash as the machine would not accept her debit card. The wait to pay for our orders left us in line for 10 mins or so. (I almost changed my order to the Abondigas… next time I will.)
                                      With food in hand we made our separate ways around the store. I and one of the girls checked out the back of the store, explaining as we went along different things that she was not familiar with. As we rounded our way to the Seafood section, the other three girls caught up to us. They decided that they were ready to head back to the office and eat. After touring the rest of the perimeter of the store, my ride and I went back to the office as well.
                                      As we were leaving the parking lot, I peaked inside my to go box and saw my lunch. Some shredded iceberg, a couple of tomato slices and a mound of meat. No cheese or other veggie on the ensalada. I was a bit disappointed, but decided to wait and see what it all tasted like.
                                      The other three were already eating when we came back, and we were pretty hungry at that point.
                                      I couldn’t find a fork in my bag, though I was sure that the fellow at the counter had thrown one in with the bag of tortillas. Ran to the break room and grab one. Since the plate was going to be a salad meal, I tossed the contents of the box together and poured on one of cups of the tomatillo salsa that was in the bag. A few bites of the Carnitas was enough for me to know that this was not the savory, tender, marinated shreds that I had so enjoyed in meals past. Not much flavor, a bit dry and had some unidentifiable parts in it. I decided to toss on the other cup of salsa and make the best of my five bucks. The one thing that I did enjoy, only because it was so fresh and forbidden on my diet, was one of the corn tortillas. It was very good. The salsa was pretty yummy as well.
                                      When I asked the others how their food was, the fried chicken girls gave a thumbs up, while the Ranch burrito girls said that the chicken was very dry and didn’t have much flavor. Not sure if either had used the accompanying salsa, but neither finished their meal.
                                      I have a lot more to write about this experience, but I have bended your ears enough. The bottom-line on PRM is that, like Seth does with a marginal experience, I will have to go back and try something else, like the Abondigas.
                                      One more thing… a girl that chose not to come with us, said before we left, “I just have a feeling that you guys are going to have a bad experience.” Hmmm, maybe she jinxed us. =(

                                    2. hello guys and girls hope if you ever have any ?? i do work in the afternoon shift be more than happy to help you!! ask for customer service, i have work many fun years for the company, calif store, az. and just return from working in pros ranch mkt el paso so let me know if you need a ??? answer!!

                                      1. It seems that ESPN's baseball guy Keith Law takes a liking to Phoenix Ranch Market (#3), as he mentions it in his recent chat: