Cristina Martinez Takes Over Connie’s Ric Rac Space

Plus, Milk Jawn and Art in the Age collaborate on boozy ice cream, Snacktime and Middle Child Clubhouse are throwing a July 4th party, and more Philly restaurant news.

South Philly Barbacoa / Photograph by Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé

Casa Mexico and South Philly Barbacoa expand into Connie’s Ric Rac space on 9th Street

Last week, Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa and Casa Mexico  took home the prize for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, at the James Beard Awards. It was a big (and incredibly well-deserved) win for Martinez. She’d also been nominated in 2019 and 2020 but didn’t bring home a medal in those years.

Martinez has been a bright light in Philly’s scene for years, serving legendary barbacoa tacos for the neighbors and working as an activist for undocumented workers’ rights. She still knocks out genius-level barbacoa on 9th Street, plus mole, chilaquiles and cecina tacos at Casa Mexico, and has recently announced that she will take over the real estate (and liquor license) at the former music venue, Connie’s Ric Rac. Connie’s former space is located directly next to Casa Mexico (and just a few doors down from South Philly Barbacoa) on 9th Street in the Italian Market. The new addition will give Martinez’s businesses the ability to serve booze and accommodate even more customers than they already do. According to the Instagram post, “Casa Mexico & South Philly Barbacoa will soon have the benefit of serving alcoholic beverages and a lot of additional seating.”

Middle Child Clubhouse is hosting a July 4th party with Snacktime

Here’s something fun: On July 4th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Middle Child Clubhouse will be celebrating the 4th of July in Fishtown with Snacktime, Philly’s own brass-heavy, funked-up party band. They’re calling the party “Funk On The Front.” Middle Child and JamBru Ferments will be handling the drinks, Liberty Kitchen, Pitruco Pizza and 1-900-ICE-CREAM will be on hand with food, and there’ll be bands playing all throughout the day.

The whole thing will be happening directly in front of Middle Child Clubhouse’s location under the El on Front Street. Tickets cost $30 and you can get yours here.

Speaking of Snacktime, they’re about to release their first official album, and they’re having a party on July 15th at Brooklyn Bowl in Fishtown to celebrate. “Sounds From The Street: LIVE!” features 10 tracks from the pandemic-born brass band. And while a lot of us are still waiting to hear the band’s official “Fuck the PPA” anthem live, if you were in the crowd to hear ‘em play on Rittenhouse Square, or at the opening of Juana Tamale in South Philly (or anywhere else in town, really, because this crew does get around), you might be psyched to bring a little of that sousaphone magic home with you.

Photo courtesy of Snacktime

Persimmon Coffee will soon open their own storefront in Fishtown

It looks like the crew from Persimmon Coffee is making the leap and getting their own address in Fishtown. They’re being quiet about the location for now, but it does look like they’re aiming to get it open soon—as in before the summer ends.

Existing prior to this as a series of pop-ups, collaborations and online retail, Persimmon has grown its footprint slowly, focusing on community-building and some really good, really interesting coffee. But this shop is what they’ve been building toward since their pandemic beginnings, and I’m excited to see what they can do.

A (semi) all-day cafe comes to the Comcast Plaza

Last week, we talked about Stephen Starr’s deal at Wells Fargo to bring a new sit-down restaurant to the Club Level amid a flurry of renovations ahead of the 2022-23 NHL/NBA seasons. On top of that, a new outdoor cafe at the Comcast Plaza arrived this week.

Café Click opened on Tuesday, June 21st, offering “a French-inspired all-day outdoor café where employees, residents, and visitors alike can relax, socialize, and enjoy a delicious meal throughout the week.”

The menu offers coffee, salads, soups, cheese and charcuterie, starting at 11 a.m. When evening rolls around, the team switches out coffee for aperitifs and wines by the glass, plus oysters, quiche, tartines and crepes with crème caramel for dessert. That’s all just fine, but you can’t really call a place an all-day cafe if it isn’t actually open all day. Without a breakfast service you’re just *checks notes* a restaurant. Nothing wrong with being a restaurant. Just call it what it is.

Café Click is up and running now at 1701 JFK Boulevard. It looks like a perfectly nice spot to hang out and enjoy a sunny afternoon with a coffee and some snacks. Reservations are available, but in true (not all-day) cafe style, walk-ins are both welcome and encouraged.

Barcade plots a Center City location for 2023

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, the Hale Building at 1326 Chestnut Street has been snapped up by the Brooklyn-based company behind Barcade. Philly already has one Barcade location—a Fishtown outpost that opened back in 2011 when the company had only two other spots. This new Center City location? It’ll be the company’s tenth.

The vibe will be the same: pints and pinball, craft beers and classic video games. And while the Fishtown spot definitely leans in the direction of a neighborhood bar run by some kind of old-school Donkey Kong fanatic, a Center City spot (particularly one as large as this) is going to have to try to capture the kind of tourist/happy hour/corporate business that Chestnut Street draws. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

And it looks like we’ll have some time to speculate. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the new Barcade isn’t scheduled to open until sometime in 2023. Still, it’s nice to have something to look forward to.

Photograph courtesy of Punch Media

Milk Jawn teams up with Art In The Age

Finally, let’s wrap things up this week with some boozy ice cream news. Starting now, and running until the end of summer, the cats from Art In The Age are teaming up with the crew from Milk Jawn to offer cordial-topped ice cream treats out of the AITA tasting room and bottle shop at 116 North 3rd Street.

Sure, you can get the ice cream alone. And the Milk Jawn double-fold vanilla is a nice match for hot summer afternoons. But you know what makes it even better? A shot of AITA Sierra Fig or Apple Crisp cordial. Or maybe some Black Trumpet Blueberry cordial that’s made with mushrooms and yet still somehow manages to taste like a blueberry pie. They’re also doing amaro floats and some zero-proof options.

The ice cream cordials will be available every day from now until summer is over. Well, every day except Mondays (since the tasting room is closed on Mondays). There’ll be weekly flavor specials, collaborations and other fun things to do with your booze. You can check out the offerings (and the schedule of special events) right here.