El Rancho Grande II is one of a handful of non-national-chain dinner spots in Savoy along with iWok, Old Orchard, Smoky’s House BBQ, Star BBQ, and Star Karaoke. Located beside Industrial Donut in a little food plaza off Dunlap Avenue, El Rancho Grande II opened in 2019 as the second location of the original in Villa Grove. The restaurant offers a variety of Mexican cuisine from tacos to burritos to fajitas and beverages including a margarita tower.
My family likes to order El Rancho Grande II takeout because it’s a quick and easy option for dinner; whenever we call in an order, it’s ready in ten minutes or less. For this review, I wanted more than takeout boxes, so my husband and I dined in. We ordered some of our favorite things off the menu plus three tacos and a dish we haven’t tried here before.
We started with a round of drinks: a beer for him and a margarita for me. The medium margarita ($11) had a salted rim that went great with the tart taste of the margarita. I could taste — and feel the effects of — the tequila in the drink. This marg wasn’t very sweet; it was quite sour, but I liked the simplicity of dominating tequila flavor balanced with the puckering citrus of fresh lime juice.
Bottomless chips and salsa are free when dining in, and with takeout, they pack orders with a big bag of chips (and if you ask very nicely, two big bags). El Rancho Grande II’s chips were crispy and warm. With diced onion and chopped cilantro, the salsa was mild and tomato-forward.
We ordered the cheese dip ($6). The simple queso had a homogenous flavor, but it dipped well and tasted good because melty, drippy cheese is always good. If this little bowl of white cheese isn’t enough, the restaurant also offers the dip in larger sizes: 16 ounces and an absurdly indulgent 32 ounces of hot queso. God bless cheese.
This is my favorite dish here: beef flautas Mexicanas ($12.50), four crispy tortillas rolled with shredded beef arranged around a salad of cold toppings: lettuce, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Inside the flautas, the beef filling was juicy and tender. On the ends, the tortilla had a great crunch like a chip, and in the middle, it was softer like a taco. I loved dipping the flautas in guac and then stamping it onto the pico and cheese, but the flautas are a yummy bite without any extras. These flautas can come filled with chicken, beef, or two with chicken and two with beef filling, but I find the shredded chicken too dry here, so I always go for the beef (for takeout, too), and I am never disappointed.
Since I usually just get flautas here, I wanted to try a few of the restaurant’s protein options in tacos.
In terms of the tacos, I don’t want to bury the lede, so let me tell you that the taco de carnitas ($3.25) was incredible and my favorite of the three. On the far right, the carnitas taco had hunks of tender pork with a fantastic charred flavor. It wasn’t wet or juicy but delicious savory pulled pork with little crispy, stringy ends.
The center one was a taco de lengua ($3.25), or beef tongue. Diced, the lengua was meaty, salty, and little chewy; the fatty organ meat was not greasy at all, and it tasted great with some hot sauce. Last of the tacos, the al pastor ($3.25) had flavorful diced pork with pineapple chunks, and I liked the sweetness with the seasoned pork. All of the tacos were individually wrapped in tin foil to stay warm while we finished our flautas appetizer.
As far as other proteins go, the restaurant also offers tacos with carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken), chorizo, camaron (shrimp), and pescado (fish).
My husband ordered the chile Colorado ($14.50), which had chopped steak in a red chile sauce. Served with tortillas, rice, and beans, it was a big dinner. There were cumin and peppery notes in the sauce, and it was slightly sweet, but it wasn’t spicy, maybe mildly spicy. Even though there was no real heat, we liked the tomato and chile flavors and thought it tasted good.
We also ordered takeout of our kid’s favorite El Rancho Grande II dish: the kids’ chicken on the beach ($8.50). It’s just Mexican rice with grilled chicken and a plenteous amount of queso, but he loves it. We learned the hard way that the adult version of chicken on the beach comes with sautéed peppers and onions, so keep that in mind if you’re ordering for a hungry child in case they, too, won’t want to eat the delicious dish because it’s absolutely ruined by the inclusion of vegetables.
As a whole, El Rancho Grande II is a good restaurant especially if you live near or in Savoy. With three dining rooms and seats at the bar, there’s plenty of room to dine in, and the carryout system here is pretty much flawless apart from having to call and speak to an actual human. The food is usually ready in 10 minutes or less, and the menu is expansive enough for there to be something for everyone. Go on the weekends or Mondays for the drink specials: $4 margaritas on Mondays and $8 jumbo margaritas on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Check out the full menu here.
El Rancho Grande II
505 Commerce Dr
M-Th 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.