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Arlington’s El Ranchito is part carnival, part comfort. Photo by Lee Chastain.

El Ranchito, 3517 S Cooper St, Arl. 817-987-4560. 11am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Thu, 11am-11pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted. 

Dallas Tex-Mex eatery El Ranchito began its western expansion by planting its flag in an unremarkable strip mall in the crown city for unremarkable strip malls: Arlington. 

Not to be confused with the restaurant in White Settlement bearing the same name, the original El Ranchito has been an Oak Cliff institution for more than 30 years and is notorious for its near-theme-park level of kitsch. A mariachi band strolls the dining room, and the décor looks as if a Mexican flea market exploded. The second iteration of owners Laura and Oscar Sanchez’ place opened in Tarrant County back in October. Compared to its Dallas counterpart, the new version is a tad subdued –– although that’s a little like comparing two glitter bombs. 

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El Ranchito

Camarones A La Oscar $16.95

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