Food & Drink » Dining Reviews

Rhino’s Ranch meets expectations for bar and country bites

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Get egg on your face via the substantial, signature Rhino’s Ranch burger. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Get egg on your face via the substantial, signature Rhino’s Ranch burger.
Located in the shopping center that houses Powers Liquor Mart, Monica’s Taco Shop and the derelict bones of a long-dead Kmart, Rhino’s Ranch has occupied the former Sarges’ Grill space since November. Owned by Air Force veterans Greg Roman and Rick Osmun, this Rhino’s rendition is a country and western bar and a sister location to Rhino’s Sports & Spirits, Roman and Osmun’s longstanding sports bar concept located 10 minutes north on Powers Boulevard. Here, cattle skulls, barn doors and a couple of saddles near the entrance set the tone amidst plentiful seating. There’s also a spacious dance floor.

We start with a sampler platter, which includes jalapeño poppers, potato skins and buffalo wings. Usually, it’s also served with tortilla chips and “cowboy caviar,” which we’re told is a sort of house corn and bean salsa, but they’re out when we visit, so we receive extra wings and poppers. The taters chew perfectly tender, piled high with chopped bacon under a cheddar cap. The poppers taste pleasant enough for bar standards, featuring red jalapeños with a pleasantly mild heat. But the wings need work. They’re sauced just fine, but our meat’s tough, if not outright leathery.

For entrées, we order the signature Rhino’s Ranch burger, topped with bacon and a fried egg. We go over easy and are rewarded with a golden cascade of savory goodness that, when considered alongside a soft yet substantial bun and tart pickles, makes for a burger that checks all the boxes. Included seasoned fries are decent, though they’re a little salty and warrant either ketchup or a swig of beer.
Location Details Rhino's Ranch
5853 Palmer Park Blvd.
Powers
Colorado Springs, CO
374-4305

Next up, the chicken fried steak, an artery-clogging classic that we’re all too happy to devour with two sides. It — or they, rather, as we get two breaded, fried steaks — arrives in a metal pan under a generous portion of black pepper gravy. The steaks retain a pleasant crunch despite the gravy, their coating evoking buttermilk biscuits after the initial crunch subsides. The gravy, plain and pale, only really adds creaminess and a hint of pepper. All the same, it makes us wish we’d ordered mashed potatoes as one of two included sides. The coleslaw which we did choose rates poor, mushy with no expected creaminess, no expected sweetness, no expected tang, and no real seasoning notes, making it a step down from straight iceberg lettuce in terms of gustatory interest. Though pork and beans do fine, bearing the mushy texture of baked or refried beans and heavy cumin, all things one can hope for in cowboy cuisine or Tex-Mex. Of note, our server recommends a fish and chips plate as one of her favorite things on the menu, so we’ll have to return for that.

Rhino’s Ranch’s hooch menu smacks pretty standard for bar fare. Though it’s not very craft-oriented for persnickety drinkers, we are able to get pints of Dueces Wild Brewery’s quality Iron Ass amber ale for $3 each. Fans of Bud, Stella Artois and the rest will be right at home, especially during the many live music events, or line-dancing nights. Building off the success of its predecessor, this Rhino’s seems poised to be an overall crowd-pleaser.

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