HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A popular Central American-style restaurant recently announced a big addition coming to their Harrisburg area location.

El Rancho Restaurante y Pupuseria (El Rancho) is owned and operated by Manuel Ambrocio who was born in Guatemala and moved to Pennsylvania back in 2008 – today he resides in Camp Hill. Upon its grand opening, El Rancho became the first business that Ambrocio ever owned and operated.

El Rancho is most known in the community for its vast, “made-from-scratch” food menu, which is a mix of Central American cuisines. According to Ambrocio, the menu itself is representative of his upbringing in Guatemala and his wife’s upbringing in Mexico.

If you are interested in viewing El Rancho’s full menu, you can click here.

Though El Rancho has a popular food menu, one thing that the Central American-style eatery has been missing since its inception is an alcohol menu. According to Ambrocio, for about the past few months, he has been building a new bar section in one of his two dining rooms in anticipation of receiving his liquor license.

During this construction period, Ambrocio walled off the under-construction bar portion of the one dining room and continued to serve his customers.

“It feels good [to unveil the bar soon], we have a lot of serving experience between our employees and it is very exciting,” Ambrocio expressed. “The new bar will have 10 to 12 imported and locally brewed beers on tap.”

According to Ambrocio, as part of his imported beer selections, he also hopes to become one of the first Central Pennsylvanian eatery’s to offer “special international beers” as well. These unique, special beer brands will be disclosed in the upcoming future.

“I am really excited to introduce some of these international drinks to the surrounding community,” Ambrocio added.

El Rancho History

Ambrocio opened El Rancho on 3rd Street in Downtown Harrisburg back on August 13, 2019. According to Ambrocio, he later decided to relocate the restaurant to a larger space, since their restaurant in downtown Harrisburg only had a seating capacity for about 40 guests.

El Rancho then moved into its current location at 771 Eisenhower Blvd. back in December of 2021 and officially reopened on January 6, 2022. According to Ambrocio, the new location, which was formerly occupied by Bob Evans, is equipped with two separate dining spaces and a seating capacity of 150 guests.

“Our 3rd Street location was just too small – our new location is pretty big and it has enough parking for 200 cars,” Ambrocio explained.

When El Rancho first opened in 2019, Ambrocio started with just six employees – today he has created between 35 and 40 jobs.

If you are interested in joining El Rancho’s team, you can click here to apply.

El Rancho’s hours of operation are:

  • Mondays – Sundays // 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“We are grateful for the support from the community,” Ambrocio said. “People love cocktails and we use to fail our customers by not having alcohol – it will be a huge day for us when we open the bar.”

It is still unknown when El Rancho will officially receive its liquor license to begin serving alcoholic beverages.

abc27 news will keep you updated as more information becomes available.