HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >

Discussion

El Ranchero in Kennett Square?

I've heard so much about Taqueria Moroleon in Kennett but I think I want to try El Ranchero on State St.

Has anyone been there? Thoughts? I can't seem to find much information...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. re: CindyJ

      Yes, on State St. Looks like it's between Meredith St. and Lincoln St.

      1. re: GreenChiles

        I can't say I can recall seeing it, and I drive through Kennett at least a couple of times a week.

        1. re: CindyJ

          Well, we gave it a shot and we were not disappointed. The chips came out with a tray of 3 different salsas- all spicy and delicious, chopped cilantro and onions, and peppers. The food was excellent! They have a huge menu and it's very difficult to decide what to order but I don't think you can go wrong.

          It's actually right outside of the "historic" area of State St. in a little shopping center with a pet store and martial arts studio, I think. It's in the back, so unless you're really looking for it, you'll miss it. It's on the opposite side of the street as Sweet Christine's and a little farther down on the right.

          It's also within walking distance of La Michoacana which was a nice after dinner treat.

          1. re: GreenChiles

            Now I know where you mean. It's totally hidden from the street which is why I never noticed it. In fact, I was keeping an eye out for it as I made my way to Taqueria the other night, and still didn't see it.

            You're not somehow connected to El Ranchero, by any chance, are you? I see your only posts here are on this topic.

            1. re: CindyJ

              Could be. Still, I have been to that place also (several years ago) and liked it better than Moroleon. I confess I cannot see why Moroleon is so lauded. I was underwhelmed when I ate there.

              1. re: travelmad478

                I was not a big fan of Moroleon either... It seems like a lot of Mexican places in Kennett are so-so or hit-or-miss. There used to be one place we went to regularly on the Longwood side of Kennett that used to be great until we had some problems.

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  I've always considered Moroleon the best of the pack. You'd think, given the sizable Mexican population in the area, that there would be a number of good places to choose from. And Moroleon is moving sometime soon -- now they're saying September.

              2. re: CindyJ

                Haha, no! I am not connected to El Ranchero. We actually drove almost an hour from South Jersey on a whim just to try it and I can't wait to go back.

                This is my only post because I only recently discovered this site while searching for authentic mexican food. Being a S. California native I have missed mexican food terribly while living in NJ.

                I came across El Ranchero on historic Kennett's website but there is just an address and phone number... no picture or anything. I also couldn't find many reviews. I posted this only so other people who were wondering about the place would know that it was good. Also, it seems to be where the local mexican population eat.

                Moroleon was our backup, we had never been there either, but I was a bit turned off by the reviews citing poor service and long wait times.

                1. re: GreenChiles

                  FWIW, I go to Moroleone at least 2-3 times a month, mostly on weekends. Yes, sometimes (rarely) there is a wait for a table, but I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes. And I can't remember ever being troubled by the service. In fact, I'd say that even when the place is packed, I've never waited more than 15-20 minutes for my food. They give you a basket of chips and a couple of small bowls of salsa as soon as you're seated. The servers are friendly and efficient. And, the place is what it is -- a simple, unpretentious, authentically Mexican restaurant, offering huge portions of good food at very reasonable prices. Judging from the crowds there, I'd say that Taqueria Moroleon is as popular with the Mexican population in the area as it is with everyone else. Lots of families, folks celebrating special occasions, groups of friends, etc.

                  I'm glad you discovered El Ranchero and wrote about it, because I'll be sure to try it.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    Thanks, maybe we will try Moroleon next time for a little variety!

      2. El Ranchero in the last 6 months has expanded and moved slightly. It's no longer tucked far away from State Street in Kennett. It now has gorgeous tile and is much bigger. I'm the member of 2 groups that like to meet there. The servers are very friendly, prices are very reasonable, and the food is very good. The ambience and decor are now beautiful. I'm not a Mexican food afficionando, so I can't testify about "authenticity." But everything I've had has been good, and lots of Hispanics eat there, too, so I'm guessing it is pretty authentic. We also like supporting a locally owned family business run by good people--an added plus.

        -----
        Ranchero El Mexican Rest
        305 W State St Ste 3, Kennett Square, PA 19348

        10 Replies
        1. re: thammer302

          So last night I finally made it to El Ranchero. Granted, my experience there is based on only one visit, but my steak fajitas and my husband's chicken fajitas were both cooked to the point of being almost inedible. They were also totally lacking any seasoning. We certainly didn't go for the ambiance, but to say the "ambiance and decor are now beautiful" and that the tile is "gorgeous" are truly overstatements. Also, it was so cold in there, we had to eat with our coats on. With a number of other small, family-run Mexican restaurants in the area, I don't feel a need to return to El Ranchero.

          1. re: CindyJ

            Went the other night after having stayed away from the old digs for several months because , while the food was "okay", the surroundings were truly depressing. My take is that the food is still just okay but the surroundings have improved (to a degree). The decor would be called, I think, eclectic ranging from the usual sombreros to the Mona Lisa (probably a copy - believe the original is somewhere in France). Place is much bigger than before. Service was friendly and, considering a party of about 20 had just arrived, pretty darn efficient. Also, I'm under the impression there's a new place where Moroleon used to be. Believe they've got a coupon in Clipper. Anyone been?

            As to the food, my al pastor was kind of dry with some sort of bbq rub, which I,m not used to. But it was tasty. The lingua was truly good - moist and not dry at all. Overall I'd go again but I'm not in a gret rush.

            -----
            Mona Lisa
            607 N Lincoln St, Wilmington, DE 19805

            1. re: danbee1

              Never having been there before, I can't compare it to how it was. I will say that passing by on State St., I did notice that something had changed for the better, and that, more than anything else, what was had me check it out. I admit I had to chuckle over the Mona Lisa (you REALLY think it was a copy?) There are a few other nearby Mexican places I do want to try -- the place that's taken over the old Taqueria Moroleon location, El Sombrero in Avondale, and Taste of Puebla in West Grove. By the way, the Mexican grocery store next door to El Sombrero is wonderful. I think it's called El Rancho. The tortillas are often still warm, their fresh-made salsas are delicious, and they always have a great selection of avocados in varying degrees of ripeness. All very reasonably priced. I used to go to El Cunado (?) in Toughkenemon for my Mexican groceries; now I travel an extra couple of miles to El Rancho.

              1. re: CindyJ

                I believe El Sombrero is closed. I have been past there a number of times over the last few months and it is always dark and there aren't any cars.

                -----
                El Sombrero
                501B E Main St, Wrightstown, NJ 08562

                1. re: bignickpsu

                  Is El Sombrero the place on 41 with the super-bright-colors and the picnic tables out front? "Home of the 31 salsas, mi casa es tu casa?" It is closed. We tried eating there about a month ago--no dice, and it has never been open any time we've passed there since.

                  I have not yet stopped into El Rancho but it is high on my list. How is the meat counter? I'm trying to find a good, reasonably priced butcher (I have major sticker shock from Doc's in Hockessin). I wouldn't mind a good source for fresh veggies, either.

                  1. re: travelmad478

                    Awwww... I'm disappointed to learn that El Sombrero is closed. Yes, it's the place with the bright colors and the 15-foot high cow at the side of the road.

                    I haven't really paid much attention to the meat department at El Rancho, although every time I've been there, it's been a busy part of the store. As for a good, reasonably price butcher... in Kennett, the Country Butcher is outstanding, but you pay the price for their great meats.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      El Sombrero has been closed for at least six months and the number of people who always wanted to try it but never got there may explain why. I always thought it was superior to Moroleon.

                      As for veggies you might try the Newark Farmers Market on Rt 2 just west of the 2 and 7 intersection. This is not a typical farmers market - very large, selling veg's, fresh fish (including octopus!), meats and lots of ethnic stuff. Some of their stuff is lower quality so you have to be carefull but the selection is huge. The other day they had G Smith apples at 79/lb and jasmine rice a $4/5lbs. May not be to everyone's liking but worth one try. Much better (IMHO) than Produce Junction.

                      -----
                      El Sombrero
                      501B E Main St, Wrightstown, NJ 08562

                      1. re: danbee1

                        Yes, I really like Newark Farmers Market but it's a kind of a shlep to get there from where I live in Hockessin, so I only go there when I have a giant shopping list. Normally I get my produce from Greg's. I'm still looking for a meat source that's cheaper than Doc's but higher quality/more custom-cut than Acme.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            On 41/48 just west of Brackenville Rd, right where Old Lancaster Pike comes in. I really like that place. They are nice people, the veggies are good and also inexpensive, and there is a little bakery/cafe attached that makes good pastries if you are feeling hungry. They have a pretty good variety of vegetables--nothing compared to Newark Farmers Market, but absolutely all you need for everyday cooking. The one slightly annoying thing is that they pre-bag all the produce so you have to buy fixed quantities. But at least they don't try to sneak bruised stuff into the bags. It's all good quality.