Ryan Rubino, the fifth-generation manager of Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, America’s oldest Italian restaurant, watched the 9th and Catherine restaurant space change concepts too many times over the years. It was once a Chinese restaurant, then an Italian one, and most recently (and for six years), The Wishing Well, which closed after the building’s new management forced the shutter back in October. He thought, "Am I really going to watch someone else take that spot?" Apparently not. He made the move and finalized the lease for the Rubino family's new venture, Bar One.
The "bar-forward" restaurant’s name was inspired by an event announcer’s butchery of opening chef (and Rubino’s father’s second cousin) Anthony Barone’s name. After opening a second Ralph’s location, complete with a full bar, in King of Prussia, Rubino decided to continue the same success across the street from the restaurant’s original location. Concept-wise, he promises little-to-zero crossover with Ralph’s, which barely has a bar of its own, save for a small service bar. Instead, expect a great happy hour, craft cocktails, small plates of bar food and brunch which Rubino describes as, "if not obviously, then subtly Italian."
There will be some cosmetic changes to the building's outside facade, interior walls and flooring. The expected opening is sometime in April 2016, ideally, in time for the Italian Market Festival. Recently, Bella Vista has seen a wealth of restaurant growth, what with Restaurant Neuf and Coeur opening just down the street, and Grace and Proper planning an early 2016 opening. Before you know it, Bar One will be a part of the fun.