Mi Ranchito shut down after failing to pay drink tax

By Taira Alabi / Staff Writer

After receiving a citation for underage drinking less than a month ago, Mi Ranchito is facing problems again.

Mi Ranchito, a popular Mexican restaurant and bar on Atwood Street in Oakland, was forced to close Friday morning and was padlocked because of a failure to pay the Allegheny County drink tax. According to the law, bars in the county are obligated to pay a seven percent tax on all drinks sold at bars. According to a press release from the Office of the Treasurer, Mi Ranchito owes more than $10,145 in taxes.

A representative from the Office of the Treasurer said Mi Ranchito was informed of the taxes and visited several times by John Weinstein, county Treasurer.

“This shouldn’t be a surprise,” the representative said. “Our attorney and their attorney have been in contact, and we went through all the legal processes.”

The owners of Mi Ranchito could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts.

According to the press release, this is the third bar that the treasurer’s office closed this month.

The release also said this closing had nothing to do with the underage citations that were issued April 4 by the Liquor Control Enforcement Board.

Officer Eric Swartzwelder from the Liquor Control Board said that concerning Mi Ranchito’s citation for underage drinking, the restaurant is “good in their books for at least a couple of months,” meaning that the restaurant is in good legal standing.

Twitter was abuzz with the news of Mi Ranchito’s abrupt closure.

A popular Pitt-themed Twitter parody account, @Souf_Oaklin, tweeted a picture of the Mi Ranchito closing sign on its door. The tweet, at the time of publication, had more than 101 retweets and 75 favorites.

All hope is not lost for Mi Ranchito and its Pitt customers, though.

The representative from the Office of the Treasurer said the establishment would be allowed to reopen once the owners pay the drink tax.