DeKALB – Changes are in store for Los Rancheros in DeKalb, with the expanded restaurant almost complete and plans for a bigger bar, more seating space and new twists to old favorites on the menu.
The authentic Mexican restaurant at 2350 Sycamore Road is expanding into space next door that used to be a Chinese buffet restaurant.
Manager Emanuel Lopez said the restaurant reopened in the new space Dec. 9 after a 10-day closure, and the old space remains closed while renovations are being finished.
He said the entire restaurant should be ready by the end of January.
“We tried to remodel the China buffet area first, then get the kitchen all renovated, get that all done,” Lopez said. “They’re still working on the other side, which hopefully, by late January we should be opened up.”
Once both sides are finished, the new space will be a banquet room for parties while the old space will include the main entrance, seating area and bar.
Lopez said his father decided to renovate the family restaurant after his summer vacation in Mexico, and construction began in November. The restaurant has been in DeKalb for 10 years.
“He thought it was a good time to remodel the place because the place deserved it,” Lopez said. “It’s been running just fine – got a lot of usual customers.”
He said that although Los Rancheros has had good business for the past few years, his father wanted to expand the restaurant so it could seat and serve more customers.
Lopez said the decor of the restaurant will have a rustic look inspired by Mexico, such as handmade wooden wagon wheels, faux balconies, colorful artwork and textured paint on the walls.
“This is the more authentic Mexican style and feel,” he said. “It’s like you’re in DeKalb outside; once you step in here, you’re somewhere else.”
The menu also will get a makeover; Lopez said the dishes will have different presentations while maintaining the same flavors.
“It will be a more presentable dish than the typical taco, burrito mashed up in one plate,” he said. “We’ll give it its own design.”
With the bar still under construction, Lopez said the restaurant has been serving bottled beer and margaritas, but a revamped drink menu is coming as well. The bar also will be larger with more TVs.
“We’ll be presenting a fresh margarita with hand-squeezed lime, good tequila and bringing some mojitos in,” he said. “Just more fresh drinks coming in than the typical margarita and daiquiri, something different.”
He said he believes the bar will be the main attraction of the restaurant.
“We’re trying to bring something new for people to try,” Lopez said.
The restaurant’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.