Mi Ranchito Mexican restaurant is located at 1815 Gault Ave. N. in Fort Payne. The restaurant has been in business for two years. It is a family owned and operated business. Owner Esperanza Acevedo says their claim to fame is the authenticity of their south of the border cuisine.

Acevedo is from Mexico City and said the food she serves is not considered Tex-Mex, which is more popular north of the Rio Grande along the Mexican/American border. Throughout the years, Mexican food has evolved as it has collided with the American culture. The term for this new style of food has been dubbed “Tex-Mex.” “What I serve is a Mexican grandmother’s recipes,” said Acevedo.

Authentic Mexican food dates back to the times of the Mayan Indians and the Aztec Empire The two cultures blended, combining foods like corn tortillas, beans, chili peppers, wild game and fish. When Spain invaded Mexico in the 1500s, foods like pork, dairy, garlic, and other herbs and spices became popular. Authentic Mexican food is usually cooked in a cast iron skillet, steamed or fried.

From the homemade corn tortillas to the salsa verde also known as “green salsa,” homemade is part of the secret to Mi Ranchito’s success. “Many of our customers like that we serve Empanadas, which are not usually found at Tex-Mex restaurants,” said Acevedo. “Another authentic classic is our Torta Cubana, a traditional Mexican sandwich.” The restaurant also serves homemade soups. Acevedo said she loves to cook and wants people to see what classic Mexican food is all about. However, she does encourage her customers to experiment with the foods on the menu and see what combinations they like.

With so many food sensitivities and allergies these days getting gluten and lactose-free and vegetarian meals is a common goal among patrons of eateries. “We can create the meal our customers want,” said Acevedo. “We can take anything on our menu and make it suite their needs. Whether it’s no-salt, no meat, whatever they want because we make our food fresh.”

Another favorite among the customers are the Mexican water beverages. Mi Ranchito serves Jamaica or Hibiscus flower water as well as Tamarind and Horchata. A buffet and salad bar is available and the restaurant can be booked for parties. Currently the table are spaced apart for customers to social distance, but more tables are available to meet the needs of any booked events. Delivery is available for orders of seven or more. Take-out is always available.

Acevedo has lived in Fort Payne for 26 years. “I love Fort Payne and I love owning my own business,” said Acevedo. “I like it because it is a small town. I named my restaurant Mi Ranchito, because it means small ranch or farm. The mural I had painted on the wall of the restaurant represents my love of the small hometown feel.”

Hours: Open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Follow on Facebook and Instagram. Visit their website at https://www.restaurantji.com/al/fort-payne/mi-ranchito-/. Phone 256-630-0181.

— Marla Ballard’s Spotlight on Business appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition.

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