Stepping Out: Mi Ranchito
887 Kingsland Ave,
University City, MO 63130
To convince ourselves that we Student Life staff members are real people too (and not superhuman workaholics), we decided to take a break from the office and go out for dinner to Mi Ranchito. Yet somehow, the budding journalists inside all of us kicked in—sometime between our first and second margarita pitcher—and we managed to turn even a strictly non-work-related outing into a prime reporting opportunity. The result: this special collaborative edition of Stepping Out, brought to you by the members of the Student Life senior staff.
After arriving 10 minutes early for our 8 p.m. reservation, all 20 of us were forced to wait over half an hour while the Mi Ranchito staff scrambled to get our tables ready. So we headed to the bar where, luckily, there were TVs showing the recent 20-inning Cardinals game, which kept about half of us entertained.
When we were finally seated, it took the waiter an additional 30 minutes to take our orders. The menu is extensive but, alas, quantity never makes up for quality. And many of the entrée descriptions are bafflingly similar, while others are just plain misleading. We were given baskets upon baskets of chips and salsa to munch on while we waited for our food; the chips were perhaps the most delicious part of the meal. But, of course, all good things must come to an end, and one staff member found a small black hair in one of his chips. When I say “in one of his chips,” I really mean in; the hair was actually baked right into it. When we confronted our waiter about this hairy matter, he explained that the cooks at Mi Ranchito does not actually make their own chips, but purchases them from a supplier. To make up for it, they brought us—you guessed it, more chips! Yum.
The last thing I will say before moving on to the staff’s opinions: Order the margaritas! We ordered several standard margarita pitchers, which were good, but, more notably, very cheap (about $6 per pitcher). I opted to go with the premium top-shelf alcohol instead, which is predictably more expensive, but infinitely more delicious. My medium-size strawberry margarita ($12) came in a glass the size of a large soup bowl. This wonderful cocktail is blended with real strawberries and ice and, of course, is loaded with high quality tequila—and a lot of it. Besides this one drink, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about Mi Ranchito, so let’s turn to the other staffers’ comments:
“The atmosphere was definitely very college-like and provided a fun way for the staff to relax and have a good time. The food was pretty average as Mexican food goes but definitely was filling for the price. At the end of the day, for the price and quality of food, it’s a great place for college students lacking tons of money to go for an evening out.” –David Messenger
“Though the redeeming qualities of its food are relatively few, Mi Ranchito will always stand out in my mind for its jovial atmosphere. The bright Southwest decor forges a perfect venue for the casual dinner: Nothing makes you want to kick back and relax like Navajo-themed walls. Plus, if it’s your birthday, they bring you a massive free tequila shot—which, if you’re an unnamed former associate editor, you’ll take in four careful sips. Yes, what they serve hardly passes as edible, but I think the margarita pitchers are what matter.” –Kate Gaertner
“Entering with low expectations (having heard it was a place for cheap food and alcohol), I was not pleasantly surprised by a long wait for both our table and our food. The food itself, however, surpassed expectations and was very flavorful. The quality of my steak was not outstanding, but I’ve certainly had worse. The decor was quite pleasing, and the staff had a good sense of humor.” –Brian Krigsher
“The food tastes pretty good, but the service is terrible. The guacamole was really good. Maybe (like the chips) they didn’t make it themselves, I don’t know.” –Alex Dropkin
“I beg to differ. My food was extremely bland; I’m pretty sure they put chicken and onions in a pan, cooked it without any spices, threw it in a corn tortilla and topped it with mole sauce from a can. My Jewish roommate makes better Mexican food.” –Shayna Makaron
“If you are going to Mi Ranchito, it’s best to be in good company because you’ll probably be waiting if you are in a large group. Mi Ranchito is cheap and the margaritas aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Go for whatever Hana was drinking. That will hit the spot after a long day in the office. But if you are in the sharing mood, go for a pitcher. If it’s your birthday, take advantage of the free shot and the off-key singing of the entire staff.” –Johann Qua Hiansen
“I’ve now had two experiences at Mi Ranchito, neither of which were particularly positive. There are some choice food items on the menu, such as the relatively safe steak fajitas, which I enjoyed this time. However, with all the dishes, mine included, the beans looked entirely unappetizing, as did the lettuce.” –Scott Bressler
“More rice and beans, please!” –Puneet Kollipara