The Original Ranch House in Hialeah

Yes, there is one Ranch House restaurant left in Hialeah. But, over the years, it has evolved to fit in better with the Cuban community that grew around it.

Now, before we get to the pictures and food talk about the Ranch House, let’s talk a little history to give you some background on this landmark restaurant.

Ranch House History

Peter Vezos opened his first Ranch House restaurant at 3020 N. Federal Highway in Ft. Lauderdale in January 1959. However, I’ve found a story in the Ft. Lauderdale News claiming it was February 1958. By 1961 there were four restaurant locations.

The Ranch House was initially known for using fresh beef for all its offerings, never frozen. A crew at their commissary (5701 N Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale) worked overnight, prepping for the restaurant’s use daily. An in-house chief baker oversaw baked goods and pastries, except bread.

All of the restaurants were decorated with steer horns. The original locations sold quarter-pound hamburgers for 45 cents, 9-ounce sirloin steaks for $2, and a basket of fried shrimp for $1.75. And you couldn’t leave without enjoying a Boston cream pie, coconut custard cream pie, or key lime pie for dessert.

After going public in 1969, Ranch House was able to fund the opening of 78 over the next five years putting their total right around 100. Ranch House restaurants were found in South Florida (Broward, Dade & Palm Beach counties), Jacksonville (Florida), Atlanta (Georgia), Long Island (New York), Detroit (Michigan), Charlotte (North Carolina), New Orleans (Louisiana), Norfolk (Virginia) and Washington, D.C.

The Company Sells

Once the company sold in February 1974, the new owners struggled with the changing tastes of South Florida. It’s a similar story to what happened to LUMS and Royal Castle. The new owners cut corners wherever they could and shut down the commissary. The days of fresh beef and baked goods delivered daily were gone.

Ranch House & LUMS Ad in the Miami Herald
Ranch House & LUMS Ad in the Miami Herald

Ranch House and LUMS had the same owners and, by 1980, were running ads in the local paper with shared coupons. It’s sad to see how these low these cornerstones of South Florida comfort food had fallen.

1980 also brought about a name change to the Miami-Dade county locations. The 18 restaurants in Miami would now be known as Neighbors.

Ranch House becomes Neighbors Ad in the Miami Herald
Ranch House becomes Neighbors Ad in the Miami Herald

The change to Neighbors was the final nail in the coffin of the Ranch House, but somehow, one location survived and still thrives in Hialeah more than forty years later.

Last Ranch House in Hialeah

The Original Ranch House Storefront in Hialeah, Florida
The Original Ranch House Storefront in Hialeah, Florida

The menu at the Original Ranch House in Hialeah now features a mix of the comfort food that made them famous and Cuban comfort food like Palomilla steak and black beans & rice.

Menu Standee Outside the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida
Menu Standee Outside, Spell Check, Please…lol
Menu Front from the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida
Menu Front
Coca Cola from the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida
Coca-Cola in a Classic Red Cup

We’re off to a great start with a fountain Coca-Cola in a red tumbler; it sets the mood. While the Ranch House Fries with cheese & gravy sounds like a great idea but the execution left a lot to be desired.

If only the cheese had been melted cause the gravy was good.

Ranch House Fries from the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida
Ranch House Fries with cheese & gravy

The breakfast with two eggs, corned beef hash, and hash browns with cheese, ham & onions was precisely what it needed to be, over the top and delicious.

Breakfast at the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida

What About The Burgers?

Cheese Slider from the Original Ranch House in Hialeah, Florida
Cheese Slider

I’m not sure exactly how many ounces the sliders (two come in an order) are, but the potato rolls were toasted with a nice crunch. Melted American cheese, diced red onions, and pickles round out the sliders.

The sliders and patty melt burger patties have some seasoning hidden within the meat crusts formed outside the patty. If I was a betting man, and I’m not, I’d say it was fajita seasoning.

The patty melt was on target with the onions and a 10-ounce patty on rye bread. However, it should have come with Swiss cheese to be a true patty melt.

What can I do? I’m a stickler for burger rules, and this fella falls into the melt category.

There’s a lasagna, and I need to eat one to see how deep the comfort food hole goes at the Ranch House. Plus, what about dessert?

The Original Ranch House Restaurant
1548 W 84th Street
Hialeah, FL
(305) 821-8200

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Monday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Tuesday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Wednesday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Thursday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Friday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Saturday 6:30 am – 8 pm
Sunday 6:30 am – 8 pm

5 thoughts on “The Original Ranch House in Hialeah”

  1. Just ran into this article while reminiscing of the “Neighbors” restaurant that was on 4th avenue and 12th street in East Hialeah. I turn 50 this year and have great memories going there as a kid. My dad went there before and/or after work nearly every day. I remember having a running tab under my dads name so I could always stop and have a snack or drink, since it was a few blocks from my home. The folks were like family there. In later years it was bought and changed to “Mary and Mr G’s”. I then worked there for a time as a dishwasher. I later joined the military and since then retired from the military. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

  2. Thanks for the info. Brings back yummy memories. Grew up in N.Miami. Thought there was one at 123rd and Biscayne Blvd. Sometimes I wonder if it just “seems” like restaurant food was better back then. But, as per your article, freshness and quality preparation were obviously the key factors. Hell, I remember how good the quality of the chicken at KFC in San Souci was when they first opened and for a number of years. Moved to Miami in 1962, left in 1980 (like lots of people). Live in Sarasota now.

  3. We lived in Hialeah from 1961 to 1974 and the Ranch House was one of our favorite Restaurants. If
    I remember correctly there was a Ranch House in Fort Laurderdale in which we also dined there many times. We would go to the RH in Hialeah after a night at the Dog Track. Fortunately living in South Florida was fun at that time as it was a great place to live and raise a family. Fairly close proximity to the beach made it even better. The people and memories will never be forgotten. I am Vince Mitchell, 90 years old and am living in Poughkeepsie, NY.


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