Clarke and Cyrus Barcus are not native to the 109 but have adopted the area as their own and are making names for themselves. Cyrus Barcus and son Clarke own and operate the Tex-Mex restaurant Old Rip’s, and both reside in the 109.
The father-son business partners decided to open Old Rip’s in 2009 after investing as silent business partners in the restaurant, Bandito’s, in Dallas near the Southern Methodist University campus. Clarke and his father liked how the restaurant was doing in Dallas and its proximity to SMU so they thought that they might try something similar to that near TCU.
Cyrus and Clarke are still silent partners in the Dallas restaurant but wanted to go all in when it came to Old Rip’s. The two restaurants are similar; both are Tex-Mex cuisine and draw a comparable crowd. They chose the current location for Old Rip’s based on the area and available real estate.
Along with Old Rip’s, Clarke also owns a heavy equipment rental company called C2IT rental that is headquartered in the 109.
Garett Essl works for Clarke doing marketing for Old Rip’s and sales for C2IT rental. How does Essl balance working in such seemingly different areas? He said, “I end up having quite a few of my business meetings for C2IT rental at Old Rip’s. I also give Old Rip’s gift cards to potential C2IT customers. It is great for both businesses because potential C2IT rental customers love the food at Old Rip’s and Old Rip’s loves the new customers.”
Old Rip’s and C2IT rental are also doing their part to better the community.
“Both companies have a taxable revenue, those taxes go back to the community,” Essl said. “I also meet with different charities and students from TCU about hosting philanthropy events at Old Rip’s. Clarke and Cyrus donate an extraordinary amount. They entertain every charity and donation offer that comes through the door.”
How was the name for the restaurant chosen? Clarke said he had to give his father the credit for coming up with the name.
“My dad somehow knew the story about a famous horned frog that was entombed in East Texas,” Clarke Barcus said. “After 30 years the tomb was opened and the horned frog was still alive. They named the frog Old Rip after Rip Van Winkle.”
Besides having a full Tex-Mex menu, Old Rip’s also has an impressive art collection.
“My dad has been collecting art for over 30 years. He has a lot of stuff and decided that he wanted to show some pieces publicly,” Clarke said.
All of the paintings in the restaurant are by local artists. If you look closely at the two pictures on either sides of the bar you can find a small “e” in both pictures. The “e” stands for Elvis and the photos are by an artist who travels to Graceland and uses Elvis as his art.
Clarke said starting the restaurant with his father has been a great experience.
“We work well together. It has actually been even better than I imagined working with him. He usually does a bunch of the daytime stuff and I stick around at night,” he said.
Old Rip’s is located at 3105 Cockrell Ave.