Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chow Time: Ramon's Cactus Patch

Ramon's Cactus Patch is a family run restaurant that has been serving the people of Ontario and the surrounding environs for 75 years - that is a long time by any standard.  Given its age, one might expect time-honored recipes rich in flavor and authenticity.  That is not quite the case at Ramon's; it is more the kind of eatery where the garnish is iceberg and the queso, Velveeta.  I am not an authority on Mexican food and I certainly couldn't describe the culinary variances from state to state, but I must say that Ramon's seems more reflective of Depression-era practicality and economy rather than the genuine flavors of old Mexico.

The Cactus Patch

I know, that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but stay with me.  The food may be more like the kind that my abuelita (of Swiss extraction by way of East Canton, Ohio) used to make, but that isn't to say that the food isn't tasty.  I particularly liked the chips and salsa.  We actually went to Ramon's based on the hearty testimonials of two friends, both of whom grew up in the area, and one of whom had parents eating there the very night we went.  I think nostalgia played a big part in their recommendation as the online reviews vary greatly and are particularly favorable when the source is a patron who was "raised on Ramon's."  As is the case with most wacky tacky eateries, the food is only a small portion of the appeal and from the looks of it, everything was coming up succulents at the Cactus Patch!

Ramon's Cactus Patch is housed in, of all the things, a house!!
 The homey appeal was definitely there and the staff was warm and inviting.

Originally opened in 1937 in downtown Ontario's Orange Hotel, Ramon's Cactus Patch found its current home in 1962.  We stepped through the front door and immediately I noticed that the interior was nothing but wall-to-wall wacky tacky works of art; Ramon's was already becoming a hit in my book!

But had me at glitter ceiling!!!

Further evidence that RCP was once a residence is the
beautiful Living Room that is used for additional dining
space.  Don't you love the fireplace and the exposed
 beams?  That, plus a commercial kitchen...I'm ready to move in!

If you needed any more proof that RCP was a home, go wash your hands in the restroom.
It is still fully outfitted with a bathtub.  Just in case you were overcome with the mad desire
 to strip down and get clean, the management has covered the tub to keep you from
 embarrassing yourself in public.

I love that "Common decency" supercedes "State law."
I wish the people I work with would get decent!!!
 Fortunately, I'm not in the food service industry.

Now that our hands were clean, we could get down to the grubbin'.

Bob and the RCP menu.  He was so happy with the chicken taco he ordered,
 that I missed the opportunity to get a picture.  Apparently, the beef taco is
 a burger patty in a taco shell - I didn't find that out until after we had ordered!!!

Cheese Enchilada

Combo Burrito


I really liked the dishes - not so much the food, as the actual serving pieces

RCP really did feel like going to grandma's for dinner.
It definitely had a timeless quality to it, which is reflected in this clock
 that read 1:50 and I know we were there at about 7:30!

In the end, I really liked Ramon's Cactus Patch.  I love places that have served a community for so long that they have become institutions and rich sources of nostalgia.  Again, the food was definitely not the best I've ever tasted, but it did a body good to sit in a home and enjoy the same hearty food that has been faithfully served to generations of happy families.  If you're ever in the area, you should stop in and grab a bite - especially if you've got a hankering for some Velveeta!

Ramon's Cactus Patch
647 W California St
Ontario, CA

Cheers & Buen Provecho!

Mr. Tiny


  1. Mmmmmmm, looks delicious! I'm glad they covered that tub, imagine the photos! haha

    This: The food may be more like the kind that my abuelita (of Swiss extraction by way of East Canton, Ohio)

    You are hilarious!

    1. Thanks! I know that is that tub was available, I would have taken all kinds of crazy pictures!!! They saw me coming a mile away!