Update 3/16/08: The new location, in the Governor Hotel, although lacking some of atmosphere of the original, is still worth a visit. Went there this afternoon, enjoying the fantastic pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad and prompt, friendly service. Left with a happy heart and a full belly.
Update 12/10/07: Out of sadness, joy. The Governor Hotel is stepping up, offering the pair a rent-free kitchen until they can get back on their feet. Ranch House BBQ lives!
We dined tonight thanks to a generous gift from my speech and debate squad. (They hate to see me go hungry.) It's not technically "in" Olympia, perched alongside Highway 8 near milepost 14, ten minutes outside of town. But ten minutes is a short wait for good food--and there's plenty at Ranch House BBQ.
Plenty of awards, too, which are displayed a bit obsessively. Commendations fill the menu, plaques line the walls, trophies cover the counters. If a pork sandwich (and its chicken equivalent), potato salad and baked beans were any indication, the obsession is warranted. It's been a while--six years, the last time I was in Texas--since I've had pork that melted in my mouth. The beans were sweet and tangy. The potato salad featured celery and, surprisingly, olives (a first in my experience).
Service was pleasant and prompt. We were ushered over to a booth with a view of a "babbling brook," or, in the other direction, the informal parking lot. (More spaces, please!) We didn't stop chowing down until our bellies burst with shortcake drenched in butter and fresh strawberries, big enough to split.
Did I mention the pork?