There’s no denying the growth and expansion of Austin’s blossoming culinary scene and, with that knowledge, those stalwarts in the food and drink industry, here locally, who have passed the test of time, shine even brighter. One of those is the legendary Tex-Mex haven of Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar. Tradition. History. And damn good food.
This past Saturday, Matt’s El Rancho gathered friends, family, faithful followers and even 103.5 BOB FM for a 60th Anniversary celebration complete with a mariachi band, skinny margaritas from Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, specials on Dos Equis cerveza and fun for all ages.
Originally opened in 1952, at the corner of what is now Cesar Chavez and San Jacinto by Texas golden gloves boxing champion and Olympic cross-country star, Matt Martinez, Sr. and his wife, Janie, the restaurant was built upon the tenets of outstanding food and impeccable customer service. Matt and Janie wanted every aspect of their establishment to be first-class, while leaving guests feeling welcome with the satisfaction of experiencing a “home cooked meal.”
Despite relocating to South Lamar in 1985, the restaurant remains as popular as ever, with typically healthy crowds filling the spacious inside dining rooms and beautiful outdoor patio, no matter what day of the week (closed on Tuesdays). While Matt passed away in 2003, Janie, who just celebrated her 90th birthday this past week, as well, can still be found “dressed to the nines” and visiting the local favorite from time to time. Janie’s daughter and daughter-in-law currently manage “El Rancho” with a “board” they have established to ensure the quality, service and feel that the family has always come to expect from their employees.
Spoiled with a wealth of excellent Tex-Mex options here in Austin, in my mind, there’s none better than Matt’s El Rancho, “The King of Mexican Food.” Congratulations to the Martinez family for 60 years of greatness!
Matt’s El Rancho
2613 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704