The Fork

The Fork: Let us not forget The Ranch House

But we skipped the BBQ—deal with it, America!

Bowing to recent political pressure, we’re going to try to feature restaurants (versus recipes and history lessons) a little more often in The Fork from here on out, and we’re going to start with a Southside spot that we’ve come to love over the years—The Ranch House.

We’re also going to disappoint you straight out of the gate, because though we know the house that chef Josh Baum and his wife Ann Gordon built and launched in 2011 is known far and wide for its BBQ (or barbecue if you’re from a place that insists upon that), our two favorite things on the menu are—breathe deeply now—grilled chicken dishes.


OK, OK, OK, OK, OK. Stay calm. Look, little babies, we love a BBQ treat as much as the next person. In fact, one time in Austin we waited four hours for some of that jazz, but we’re not a young Forkling anymore and can’t be out here scarfing down ribs at every turn. Even so, we think so much of Baum’s cooking (and business acumen, really, because have you been to Italian eatery Rustica, his sister restaurant across the street from The Ranch House? It’s cool!) that we can’t and won’t be dissuaded from a visit to The Ranch House just because we have to be careful about what types of meat we eat and at what times of the day we do that.

Which brings us to an unexpected lunch at The Ranch House one recent day. You know the type of day, when you’re sitting there all like, “We are hungry, but we know not for what!” And then someone near you is all like, “We haven’t been to the Ranch House in a minute.” So you get in the car and get thee to The Ranch House, whereupon you realize that waiting so long to eat was a mistake, because your belly is doing that thing where it lies about not being hungry anymore while it eats itself.

Luckily, there’s a brief wait when you arrive, so you just kind of hang out in the vestibule, which is very nicely decorated, almost like someone’s living room, and the smells of the kitchen waft out like an enticing...uhhh...smell...wave. Of course, as is so common, you think about the grilled chicken sandwich you ate last time. That bad boy comes with avocado and onion and gouda and Italian dressing and garlic mayo, baby, and those things are glorious together. This particular sandwich runs $14, which, at this point in human history, feels like a deal, too. But then, obviously, you start to think it’s a little too big for your current needs. You don’t want to fill up on bread, right? But you know you want that grilled chicken. It’s a huge part of why you’re there in the first place. Then, as everyone will do from time to time, you remember that grilled chicken on a salad is almost always pretty great and, since you’ve never had the Caesar at The Ranch House before, you decide today’s the day. This exact experience is so universal, in fact, we can only assume everyone is nodding along and thinking, “Finally someone had the guts to say it!”

Anyway, it’s a tale as old as time, and we did all that stuff in that order, which is how we now know a half-Caesar with grilled chicken at The Ranch House will set you back a mere $10 (that half-salad sans-bird is a mere $5), and it’s a deal, everyone. Not only was the lettuce as crisp and fresh as you like, the house-made dressing merged bright and tangy with aromatic and refreshing so well that its subtle simplicity practically came to life to shout its excellence from the rooftops.

How does a concept like “subtle simplicity” go the anthropomorphized route? It just does! Don’t fight it!

Even better? They don’t slather that thing with dressing, which is always the worst, and you can choose smoked chicken if you want (the menu offers numerous other meats as well, including salmon and brisket and even a brown butter-glazed BBQ shrimp).

As for La Forkette, well, she had the full-sized Ranch House salad with brisket, and it clocked in at a mere $14, which also feels like a deal. “That thing was freaking awesome,” she said as we wrapped up, her mouth full of brisket.

Neither of us had room for dessert, but we did leave with the smug knowledge that when people ask if we’ve been to The Ranch House, we can say something like, “Yeah, the BBQ is great, but have you had the salads?”

Do you have any clue what comes up if you Google “song about a ranch house?” This yodeling jam. Obviously.


  • T-minus a little less than a week before SFR’s 2024 Restaurant Directory drops. In that thing, staffers have attempted to cram in as many local restaurants and bars as possible, plus there’s a cool story we won’t spoil here, but we think folks will like—especially food fans. Keep an eye out for the drop on April 24 and just, like, visit any chance you get.
  • Consider this your final reminder that Thursday, April 18 (that’s the same day as this edition of Le Fork) ushers in the 25th Anniversary of Kitchen Angels’ Angels Dine Out event. If you don’t know what that is somehow, it’s a fundraiser for local nonprofit Kitchen Angels and its mission to feed the homebound and needy. How do you fit in? Easy. Simply dine at any of the restaurants listed through this link, and 25 percent of your bill goes to Kitchen Angels. Neat!
  • If you’re all about that tea (by which we mean the literal beverage), nonprofit pottery-forward outfit Paseo Pottery joins with its sister biz Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery from 10 am to 2 pm on Sunday, April 21 for an event dubbed Tea Time Benefit. In short, you buy a nice teacup for $25, you get to drink—and these are their words—”unlimited artisanal tea.” The benefit part is Paseo Pottery’s whole deal, too, because, if you didn’t know, founder Angela Kirkman takes everything it makes after costs and donates it to Santa Fe nonprofits each year. Those who engage with Paseo through events like this one or through classes can even vote for which nonprofits get those sweet, sweet bucks.
  • Regular Fork Frenz (TM) are sure to remember we often feature the Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners’ newsletter in our Forks, because we think growing food is cool and so are pretty flowers. In this instance, we’re here to tell you about the forthcoming Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners Garden Fair going down from 9 am-3 pm on Saturday, May 11 at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. At the fair, you’ll find a plant sale, food trucks, various vendors, stuff for kids, tips, tricks, lectures, demos and more. We’ll remind you again, but we’re just saying—it’s happening.
  • Voting for Edible New Mexico’s Local Hero Awards is underway through this link, and you should go do some of that voting. We can tell you from experience that recognition is quite nice, and restaurant/food folk work so hard. You can cast your ballot through May 6, so just don’t say we didn’t warn you. And while you’re in a voting mood, don’t forget SFR’s Best of Santa Fe 2024 final voting begins on May 1, which is so soon! In fact, bookmark this page so you don’t space it when the time comes.
  • The folks who own Midtown motor lodge El Rey Court have reportedly purchased The Lodge at Santa Fe, that hilltop hotel that’s kind of near the DeVargas Center and also that one cemetery. Details are otherwise few at the moment, but we understand that the remodel and rebrand are underway, that the bar will be cooler than ever and that, like the El Rey, there might just be a swim club option for pool enthusiasts.

Do you have any clue what you’ll come to if you accidentally leave YouTube open after finding a yodeling song and it autoplays whatever’s next for over an hour? It’s this thing.

More Tidbits

  • In a tough blow for fans of sugar- and caffeine-free Schweppes Ginger Ale, parent company Pepsico Inc. (they also make Pepsi) is recalling cans of the stuff because it turns out it’s not sugar-free; not even a little bit; not even at all. Now, we said that jokingly, but for people who have to be careful about sugar intake, this is pretty dangerous.
  • Sandwich (or sammie if you prefer, which we do) chain Jimmy John’s is getting into the spirit of 4/20, that faux-liday (did we just coin a new term?!) dedicated to rockin’ the ganj all hard and saying stuff like, “Dude, what if we made a movie, but the movie is about us making the movie?” How does Jimmy John’s get down with 4/20, though? Why, with its Deliciously Dope Dimebag—a $10 special order meant to quell even the most voracious of munchies. In the order, stoners (or squares, because they’re welcome, too) will get a smoked ham sammie with oregano-basil and crispy jalapeños, plus a little bag of BBQ chips, a pickle spear and, mayhap most importantly, a brownie. And though you’ll have to supply your own sweet sticky-icky, the sammie part sounds pretty good.
  • In oh-God-what-have-we-done-society-could-have-been-anything-but-now-its-a-nonstop-capitalist-nightmare-parade-of-services-products-and-absurdity-that-no-one-could-possibly-need-and-it-just-makes-us-want-to-lie-down-and-weep news, Heinz has teamed with Mattel for a new condiment dubbed Barbiecue sauce, a mayo/ketchup hybrid that comes in a pink shade. Why didn’t this drop when the movie did? Well, because it’s a special promo for the 65th anniversary of Barbie, which was technically in March, but Barbie parties all year long. Duh.

A totally scientific breakdown of The Fork’s correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, a sandwich from new Salvadoran spot Torogoz makes someone cry—in a good way.

Number of Letters Received: 31

*In fairness, something like 12 of them were from Gruet. Did you know Gruet is a wine company? Wild!

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader):

“Your emails are getting so long that you need to add an intermission.”

*Regular reader Patrick M. is only joking with us, as proven by the emojis he included in his missive. We feel we should ask again, though, as it has come up a few times lately—are we writing too many words in a row?

Actually Helpful Tip(s):

“Sky Pizza gets my vote for the BEST pizza in Santa Fe.”

*Strong words from reader Anthony G., who is really digging the new pizza option at Nuckolls Brewing Co. in the Railyard.

Ranched and housed,

The Fork

Letters to the Editor

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