The Ranch Hotel- Cowboys and Cowgirls Welcome!
By: Helena Leung, ellaslist explorer
The Ranch Hotel is well known for its extremely family friendly bistro and entertainment area. Located on the corner of Epping and Herring roads in North Ryde, this hotel has been a local institution for as long as I can remember. My husband and I recall when it used to be called the slightly kitsch “El Rancho,” the perfect place to grab a 2 for 1 steak using the coupon from your shop-a-docket. Since the 90’s it has evolved into a bustling, modern bistro that specialises in catering for large groups.
Saturday – Kids Eat Free!
Our family decided to visit for lunch on a Saturday to take advantage of the Kids Eat Free Saturday special (with each paying adult.) The fantastic thing about The Ranch is that they really bend over backwards to make the dining experience thrilling for the kids and relaxing for the parents.
The Play Area
There is a children’s playground adjacent to the dining area, comprised of standard plastic play equipment featuring tunnels and a slide. On certain days they also have a giant jumping castle, perfect for those little hyperactive bodies. We must have come too late for the face painting and arts and craft lessons that also run on a Saturday, but on previous visits my girls have had great fun being transformed into rainbow tigers and butterflies. The Ranch also run colouring competitions, provide games on iPads, have Superhero days and hold zany hermit crab races. You will never visit and find the kids have nothing to do!
Pizza or Pork Belly?
But on to the food. The kids are spoilt for choice when it comes to the 11 different dishes listed on the kid’s menu. My girls opted for the calamari rings and ham and pineapple pizza, which were both eaten with gusto. I also really appreciated the salad portion that comes with the kids’ meals, alleviating the “sometimes” food mummy guilt. For $9.95 the kids’ meals also come with a drink and the portion sizes are more than adequate. For three extra dollars you could also treat them to ice cream, jelly, or a banana split. Hubby and I tried two of the specials: a peppered fish and some succulent pork belly. The pork belly definitely got our vote with its sweet, juicy, flavour.
And if after their meal, or while the parents are still eating, because let’s face it, kids tend to live by the mantra “gobble and go,” there’s also an Arcade zone that provides further entertainment. Here we tried our luck with one of those chocolate machines, because why pay 50c for a chocolate when you could maybe, perhaps win one for $2! But it’s the thrill of the game that excites us and Miss 5 was very proud when she scored a hard earned Crunchie bar. Miss 7 decided to use her gold coins on a game of Mario Kart, although from where I was standing, it looked like Daddy was doing most of the steering and pedal work. Having a NASCAR Daddy wannabe has its advantages and we claimed the #1 spot in the game. Hurray!
Time to go home and chat about the wonderful lunch we had at The Ranch.
In a Nutshell
What makes the bistro kid-friendly? Loads of activities for the kids, like the outdoor play area, occasional jumping castle, arcade zone, face painting, and colouring in sheets.
Atmosphere: Happy and noisy. Lots of patrons of all ages and lots of other families, although the dining area is huge so it doesn’t feel crowded.
The Food: Standard pub and bistro fare. Think surf and turf, ribs, burgers, fish and chips and pizza.
Value-for-Money: The kids’ meals are excellent value at $9.95, including a drink. Adult meals are pricier, but the servings are large and filling.
Special Features and Fun bits: The kids were happy going back to the outdoor play area whenever they were waiting for food or waiting for the adults to finish.
Who is the bistro best suited for: Large groups such as families. They also run children’s birthday packages!
What did you love: The fact that the parents could sit down and chat while the kids entertained themselves in the play areas.
What You Need to Know
Lunch Mon – Thu: 11:30am – 3pm
Dinner Mon – Thu: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Lunch & Dinner Fri – Sat: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Lunch & Dinner Sun: 11:30am – 9pm
Phone: 02 9887 2411
Address: Cnr Epping & Herring Rds, North Ryde, NSW, 2122
More Info: Visit www.theranch.com.au