Two Topeka Mexican restaurants have opposite reopening turnouts

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Local restaurants are trying to get back to work, but some are faring better than others.

On Tuesday night at El Ranchito, the chips and margaritas were flowing and so were the customers.

Manager Christian Jasso said it’s nice to be back.

“We have a saying that we’re Topeka’s favorite Mexican,” Jasso said. “Right now, you can tell.”

But there are some changes at the restaurant.

“Seating is limited. We cleaned everything. We have everybody wearing gloves, masks, everything, all the employees. Trying to keep everybody safe,” Jasso said.

Coronavirus has had a much bigger impact at north Topeka’s El Torito Restaurant. Instead of reopening its doors for dine-in on Tuesday, they had to shut down entirely.

The restaurant posted on Facebook about the situation.

“In the last couple of days we were made aware that some of our employees tested positive for COVID-19 (…) in order to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers, we will be temporarily closed.”

El Ranchito, though, is happy to be back and its customers are too. Ashley Alexander and Samantha Schooler spent their Tuesday night enjoying dinner together.

“It’s Cinco De Mayo,” Alexander said.

“We’re just celebrating, getting out with some friends,” Schooler said.

Alexander and Schooler know just how serious the virus is, because they work at local hospitals.

“It’s more relief being around people, but we’re going to see an increase in numbers, since we have an increased amount of tests,” Schooler said. “Back then we only had around 150 tests per day, where now we have our own lab to test them.”

They think restaurants like El Ranchito are doing what they can to keep things safe.

“I feel like they’re doing great social distancing,” Schooler said.

El Ranchito invites everyone to come out and see it for themselves.

“We missed everyone. I hope everybody can make it in, and give us a try,” Jasso said.

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