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El Rancho Inn a hotspot
pic el-rancho-steak
The El Rancho Inn can cook up a steak to anyones liking rare is bloody and medium is served up with a band of pink through the middle. - photo by Photo Contributed


• PLACE: El Rancho Inn-Steak & Lobster House

• LOCATION:  1457 E. Mariposa Rd., Stockton

• YELP:  4.5 stars (97 reviews)

• HOW TO GET THERE: From Highway 99 north, take the Mariposa Avenue exit and travel west for a couple of miles.

• INFORMATION: Call 209.467.1529 or online at

Nobody does steak better than the El Rancho Inn in Stockton.

Just ask a handful of satisfied patrons about the steak and lobster house at 1457 E. Mariposa Rd.

One local, Emily, called it the best “steak I have ever had in my entire life.”

Ben concurred, comparing his dining experience to that of a fancy sports car and a sedan.

“Kind of like driving a Ferrari and going back to your Honda Civic – Not quite the same,” he said via Yelp. “You will be sad that you ever ordered a steak anywhere else after eating here.”

Satisfied folks rave about the thick cut of filet mignon that’s juicy on the inside and deliciously marinated and crusted on the outside.

How do you like your meat cooked?

“Rare is bloody and medium has a band of pink through the middle,” as described by one happy diner.

The El Rancho Inn has been a Stockton fixture for over seven decades. Come July, this establishment will be celebrating 75 years in business.

It began with the likes of Frank and Mae Buth, who opened the place in 1939.

Over the years, the El Rancho has literally been a hot spot in town. Three times the structure was involved the fire, but none worse than the first time in 1962.

The original El Rancho built by Pete Fecharo burned to the ground only to rise from the ashes with a new structure as constructed by Al Toccoli.

The second fire caused damage to the roof.

The third fire that occurred in 1984 was perhaps the most devastating as the El Rancho’s dining room was badly damaged, causing the restaurant to be closed for three years.

The place was eventually sold to current owner Ray Laconde, who not only rebuilt the dining room but reopened the restaurant in 1987.

Despite its location – specifically, south Stockton on Mariposa Road just off Charter Way / Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and not too far from the San Joaquin County fairgrounds – the El Rancho Inn can be quite pricey.

So says longtime Stockton resident Jerry Soria, who recently celebrated his 50th year wedding anniversary. He pointed out at the high end of the menu featuring steak and lobster ($82.95), lobster ($78.95), and beef strips ($62.95).

Many prefer the New York steak ($32.95), filet mignon ($37.95) and rib eye ($39.95).

The El Rancho Inn is one of the few remaining old fashion steak houses.