El Paso native John Lewis threw open the doors to his latest project, Rancho Lewis, in mid-April. One of Charleston’s most eagerly anticipated restaurants of 2022, it’s no surprise a reservation already is hard to come by. (All’s not lost: Just set a Notify to get first dibs on any tables that come available.) This is the pitmaster’s second spot in Charleston, an evolution of the Juan Luis trailer outside Lewis Barbecue that grabbed a loyal following with tacos and enchiladas.
Serving plates inspired by Lewis’ childhood memories of growing up in diverse Texas-Mexico border communities, Rancho Lewis makes liberal use of red and green chiles shipped from the American Southwest, and fresh tortillas flowing from the in-house tortilleria, which can be found in everything from chips to enchiladas and tacos. Also, just a look at those “half the cow” racks of mesquite-smoked beef back ribs lets you know they’re more than worth ordering. Only thing to do next, if you’re asking us, is order up a Margarita de la Casa and peek behind the bar to see each one “shaken extra-cold” in a mechanical French cocktail shaker.
Note: Rancho Lewis is walk-in-only for parties of four or fewer.