BarOne: A South Philly Family’s Bar

After five generations at Ralph's, now there's BarOne.

The fifth generation of the family who brought you Ralph’s now brings you a casual Italian bar and eatery across the street from the South Philly institution. Siblings Ryan and Gabrielle Rubino, managers of the family restaurants, present BarOne, whose grand opening is set for Friday October 21st.

The goal with the new restaurant, said Ryan, was to have “no overlap” between Ralph’s and BarOne. And so, while the cuisine of both restaurants is Italian inspired, Ralph’s serves Sinatra–era American–Italian, and BarOne serves what is known as “South Philly Italian,” or, in Ryan’s words, “typical bar food made more Italian.” While Ralph’s is decked in classic frescos and white table cloths, BarOne features paintings of The Rat Pack as hipsters by Jackie Jensen, an in–house bartender and art student.

Ryan hopes to reach out to more local artists and students and exhibit their work. As of now, 75% of the art in BarOne is done by students, and it’s for sale, which is a win-win for both BarOne and the artist. Ryan sees a very important connection between art and food. “Food is very important visually,” he said. “When a place is visually appealing, it adds to the experience.”

The chef for whom the restaurant was named, Anthony Barone, has been working for the Rubino family for 20 years. He is Ryan and Gabrielle’s father Ralph Jr.’s right hand man and he is like a brother to Gabrielle and Ryan. The restaurant hires mostly people from South Philly whom Anthony has seen grow up. Jackie, for example, is one of the newer employees, but she has been at Ralph’s and now at BarOne for three years now. “It makes for a nice dynamic as a customer,” said Ryan. “We want customers to sit at the bar and become part of the family even if it’s just for an hour.”

Some typical menu items that BarOne adds a South Philly Italian twist to are the mussels–whose broths include beer broth and cheesesteak broth–and the spring rolls–whose fillings include buffalo chicken and cheese dip and the contents of a pork sandwich with spicy mustard aeoli.

Other gems include the Lamb Burger, which is wrapped in prosciutto and topped with both goat’s cheese and arugula salad, and the Cous Cous Salad which is topped with a simple and light dressing of lemon and olive oil. The powerful tastes and textures in this salad—the sweet and crunchy candied walnuts, the bitter and leafy radikio, the citrusy and moist orange, the salty and fleshy pickled beets—balance one another out perfectly. But if you try one thing, try the Papardelle with short rib brisket, arugula and riggiano cheese. This has been Ryan’s favorite past dish since he was young, and its been mine since I tried it last week. It’s like spaghetti Bolognese if the meat were better and the strings of spaghetti were flatter. And the arugula makes it count as a salad, not a pasta dish.


Cannoli Pancakes

The brunch menu includes Cannoli Pancakes—two house-made pancakes with house-made chocolate chip cannoli filling sandwiched between them, topped with whipped cream. The pancakes are not as light as regular pancakes, which makes them more closely resemble the pastry of a cannoli. Do not miss these pancakes.

The drinks menu includes an interesting take on an Old Fashioned. All the typical ingredients of an old fashioned except the whiskey is frozen into one big ice cube. The bartender pours the local whiskey on top and 30 seconds later, enough of the flavor ice cube has melted for you to start drinking. Because the ice cube doesn’t contain water, the flavor doesn’t become diluted as it melts—in fact, it gets stronger.

“We’re a neighborhood bar,” said Ryan, referring to the restaurant’s South Philly vibe and cuisine. “But we believe that the food will be good enough to attract people from outside of South Philly.”

When: Friday, October 21st – Happy Hour will run 6-8 p.m. with free passed appetizers.
Saturday, October 22nd – Brunch will run 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and guests will be able to order free food off of a limited menu.
Where: 767 S 9th Street

BarOne [Foobooz]