By 2011, Gallegos, who was born and raised in New Braunfels, had parlayed the success of his San Marcos location into a second Spud Ranch in his home town on Common St.
“I always loved to cook,” said Gallegos, who owned several concession stands at the Schlitterbahn waterpark prior to opening his restaurant. “Then I was building these roasters, and I started baking potatoes inside of them, just for the family.”
Gallegos would stuff the potatoes with different ingredients, including beef fajita meat or chicken, and they quickly became popular with his family.
As he continued to build on the concept, Gallegos said aspirations for a new business began to take hold.
“I was up in San Marcos one day, and I happened to drive across this building that was there,” he said. “I ended up calling to see how much the lease was and ended up getting it.”
The menu at the San Marcos location offered a traditional potato with butter, cheese, bacon bits and sour cream, one loaded with broccoli and cheese, beef fajita and chicken fajita options and what he calls the Ranch Hand Spud, which comes with chili and cheese.
“Year after year, it kept growing,” he said. “We tried different items, and sometimes some of the items didn’t work, and some did. We added a new potato here and there, and sometimes it would hit.”
Now, customers of Spud Ranch can choose from 22 different loaded potatoes, from the chicken enchilada spud, which comes with chicken fajita meat, cheese, onions, sour cream and enchilada sauce, to the teriyaki spud, which has teriyaki chicken, cheese, broccoli and sauteed peppers and onions.
Three of the most popular menu items at Spud Ranch, according to Gallegos, are the chicken fried chicken spud, the hot wing spud and the Texas burger.
Though Gallegos said his two locations do good business, he does not yet have plans to expand to a third location.
He likes the position Spud Ranch is in for the time being.
118 Common St., New Braunfels
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Hot Potatoes (and a burger)
The menu at Spud Ranch has now expanded to 22 potatoes and more than a dozen burger and sandwich options. Owner J.R. Gallegos said three of the most popular menu items to date include:
1) Hot Wing Spud: Boneless buffalo chicken, butter, cheddar cheese and hot wing sauce. Comes with a side of ranch or blue cheese. $7.79
2) Chicken fried chicken spud: Breaded chicken fried chicken, butter, cheddar cheese, country gravy and a slice of Texas Toast. $7.99
3) Texas cheeseburger: ground beef patty with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, American cheese, sauteed onions, mayo and mustard on Texas Toast. $7.69