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Fairgrounds purchase approved

El Rancho Grande to open 2 new locations in Dayton area

El Rancho Grande is gearing up to open two new Dayton-area restaurants: one in a former Applebee’s that has been closed for three years, and one in a former LaRosa’s that’s been closed for only a month.

The Cincinnati-based Mexican restaurant chain has purchased the former Applebee’s restaurant at 1450 W. Dorothy Lane near South Dixie Drive and will open a new restaurant there in early 2017, El Rancho Grande President of Operations Gary Rodriguez confirmed to this news outlet.

The Applebee’s shut down in December 2013, and the space has remained vacant since then. The new El Rancho Grande will seat about 250 and will employ as many as 30, Rodriguez said.

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

In addition, El Rancho Grande has leased the former LaRosa’s at 7375 Old Troy Pike (Ohio 202) in Huber Heights and will open a restaurant in that space. LaRosa’s shut down the company-owned pizza restaurant a month ago, in late October.

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

Plans call for shutting down the existing El Rancho Grande at 7500 Poe Avenue in Vandalia in conjunction with the opening of the Huber Heights location, Rodriguez said. That is scheduled to happen in mid-March, depending on construction of the new restaurant, Rodriguez said.

Gregg Gorsuch, economic development manager for the city of Kettering, said city officials are pleased the restaurant space will be active again after an extended vacancy.

El Rancho Grande “has had great success” with its restaurant on Wilmington Pike south of Stroop Road in Kettering, “and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be just as successful at the new location,” Gorsuch 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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