Home Campus Gran Ranchero plans to open second location Uptown

Gran Ranchero plans to open second location Uptown

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Gran Ranchero plans to open a second location Uptown in addition to its East State Street restaurant.

The sit-down authentic Mexican restaurant, known for its margaritas, hopes to occupy the space previously held by China King at 21 S. Court St. 

Abel Ortiz, an employee at Gran Ranchero, said Sunday over the phone that he hopes the new location would open in the next couple of months. He added Gran Ranchero is working to get permits and approvals. 

Neither the Athens Chamber of Commerce or the Athens City Code Enforcement have been approached by Gran Ranchero.

On Sunday, two men stood outside the building painting black brick shapes over the former China King windows facing Court Street. Although Google still lists China King as open for takeout, the restaurant’s menupages.com page says the restaurant is “not accepting orders right now.” When the phone number listed for China King is dialed, the caller hears, “The number you’ve dialed is not a working number. Please check the number you’ve dialed and try again.” 

Several Uptown locations have changed hands or shuttered in recent months.

Across the street at 18 S. Court St., Bubbles Tea and Juice Company has not opened its doors to the public after promises of a spring 2020 opening. 

North End Kitchen and Bar, located at 77 N. Court St. at the former Cornwell Jewelers location, was set to open in either late August or early September, according to The Athens NEWS, but has yet to open. After 187 years, Cornwell Jewelers closed in 2019.

The properties of the former University Bookstore at 65 S. Court St., Franco’s Pizza at 42 S. Court St. and Lotsa Pizza at 14 S. Court St. still stand vacant. All three businesses closed prior to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Meanwhile, D.P. Dough’s S. Court St. location has closed for the time being, although they continue to operate out of their Richland Avenue location. 

Wendy’s, located at 40 S. Court St., has been closed since the start of the pandemic — although that Wendy’s location typically closes each summer, when many Ohio University students leave town.

Sarah Donaldson contributed to this report.

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