Connie’s Ric Rac is gone, but welcome Christina Martinez and Ben Miller’s South Philly Barbacoa.
It’s weird to watch an end of an era go by in the blink of a Facebook post. That, however, was exactly what happened, on June 17 when the local old school punk rock FB lights started blinking, claiming Connie’s Ric Rac – the Italian Market’s longtime home to DIY punk and folk acts, comedians, small theater productions, screenings, card games and open mics – had closed due to the long lingering after-effects of the pandemic. As the day went on, however, another portrait emerged – of growth and good food – where Christina Martinez and Ben Miller of the doors-down neighboring South Philly Barbacoa were the couple taking over the Ric Rac for their first-ever restaurant with a liquor license.
“It’s exciting. Now we can finally serve beer with our tacos,” said Miller this morning, while mentioning that South Philly Barbacoa couple would keep their corner slot (and that of its Casa Mexico) at 9th and Ellsworth, expanding their dynasty halfway through the lower half of the Italian Market (consider too that they host the community fridge food space too catacorner to the current South Philly Barbacoa home).
A little backtracking too showed off that Martinez and Miller had Instagrammed their newest acquisition…
So that settles that, and we await the remodeling and redo of the old Connie’s for the couple’s culinary repurposing. We know too that Miller is fond of booking Latinx and jazz bands into his spaces, so hopefully, the new operators will take advantage of Connie’s stage.
As for the beloved dive punk rock bar first opened by its namesake Connie Tartaglia to sell bric-a-brac with her husband, Joe Tartaglia in the 1980s, then by her sons, Frankie and Joseph Jr. as a live venue in 2006, it will be missed. Along with leaving a hole in Philly’s DIY live music/independent venue scene, anyone who hung out at Connie’s bar or played cards or watched one of Joey Jap’s dozen-or-so punk bands will mourn – and continue to mourn – the quick disappearance of the Ric Rac. Pour out a 40 for CRR.