Opening date set for El Rancho Grande’s 8th Dayton-area restaurant

El Rancho Grande Mexican Grill & Cantina  has set an opening date for its eighth Dayton-area restaurant — and another new location could come as early as this summer, this time on the other side of town.

The Cincinnati-based Mexican restaurant chain plans to open on May 24 in the former Applebee’s restaurant at 1450 W. Dorothy Lane near South Dixie Drive in Kettering, El Rancho Grande President of Operations Gary Rodriguez confirmed to this news outlet today.

The Applebee's shut down in December 2013, and the space has remained vacant since then. The new El Rancho Grande Mexican Grill & Cantina will seat about 220 and will employ about 25, Rodriguez said. It will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

RELATED: Applebee’s franchise owner closes one of its Kettering restaurants

After the Kettering opening, El Rancho Grande will turn its attention to space it has leased at 7375 Old Troy Pike (Ohio 202) in Huber Heights, where a LaRosa's Pizza operated for several years. The LaRosa's shut down the company-owned pizza restaurant in October 2016.

RELATED: Local pizza restaurant closes; are more headed that direction?

Plans call for the El Rancho Grande at 7500 Poe Avenue in Vandalia to close in conjunction with the opening of the Huber Heights location, Rodriguez said. The Huber Heights restaurant is scheduled to open this summer, perhaps by the end of July, he said.

There are currently 13 locations of El Rancho Grande, seven of those in the Dayton area. Its seventh Dayton-area location was the restaurant at 1200 Brown St. at Stewart Street on the doorstep of the University of Dayton, which opened in early 2014.

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