Friday, May 02, 2008

Best Spot in Town: The Ragtag Complex

The problem with living in a small, Midwestern town is that there is often no way to escape the fact that you live in a small, Midwestern town. There is nowhere to have a cup of coffee that makes you feel as if you're in a Seattle coffeehouse, where you sip on a hot cup of joe, reading The Stranger in search of a cool art theater where you can simultaneously down a good, American IPA and take in the latest Harmony Korine flick. Well, that is, until now.

As many locals know, Ragtag Cinema Cafe finally moved into its new space located on Hitt Street and it's been a welcome improvement to the downtown (or The District as some like to call it). Not only has the Ragtag moved into new digs complete with a bar and two high-tech theaters, but they have been joined by Uprise Bakery and Ninth Street Video (who will keep their name).

When you walk into the new Ragtag, you notice several things that make you smile. There's the open floor design facing large windows in the front. To the left is the access to the patio and a full bar complete with a copper top on which to rest your drink. The seating is plentiful and varies from solid wood and metal tables and chairs or the the long bench that wraps around the wall to
the right. In the back of the space is Uprise's counter and kitchen. All the bread and goodies once available in their Broadway basement bakery are now available at the Ragtag. Of course, there is the box office with its towering sculpture above.As mentioned before, this Ragtag doubles the old joint's theaters from one to two. The smaller of the two features the old chairs and couches that has so endeared the Ragtag to many COMO-ians. The larger theater will eventually feature fancy orange seats with retractable tabletops. Both theaters feature state-of-the-art sound systems and much improved acoustics. The best feature of the theaters may be that movie-goers can actually leave the theater to go to the restroom.

Also joining the Ragtag Complex is the beloved Ninth Street Video (now on Hitt). There is both
access to the shop from the street and the Ragtag. Ninth Street somehow transported all their DVD's to the new spot. The store now features a fireplace (I'm not sure if it's working), a flat-screen TV, and tons of shelf space for expansion.

Since the Ragtag's new space opened over T/F weekend, I have found myself there on a regular basis. I have always loved breakfast from Uprise (spinach and goat cheese croissant!) but not the decor. Now I can sip on my organic coffee in a pleasant, sunshine-filled room with Belle & Sebastian playing over the speakers.

I've also made it a point to indulge the beer-lover in me from time to time at the Ragtag's bar. The bar has a nice selection of regional and national craft beers. Of course, once you have a beer in hand, it's a quick trip to the theater for whatever is playing that night.

Since moving to COMO, we have struggled to find a place that made it just a little less miserable. The new Ragtag/Uprise/Ninth Street Video complex has done that for us. Hopefully other downtown businesses will show as much creativity and forward thinking to make other parts of "The District" a little more like the Ragtag.

It should be noted that the images above were lifted from the many pics on Flickr with the label "Ragtag".


Elizabeth Hornbeck said...

You mention the “towering sculpture” over the box office; my architectural history students this semester (and really any student of 20th-century art/architectural history) know that it’s a replica of the Monument to the Third International designed by Russian architect Vladimir Tatlin in 1915; it’s a symbol of revolution. The actual building, had it been built, would have been taller than the Eiffel Tower.

For my blog entry about your blog entry, visit

comoprozac said...

Thanks for sharing. Really, everyone should read Elizabeth's post for a counterpoint.

Elizabeth Hornbeck said...

Z.-I heard through the grapevine that you linked to my post from your Facebook page, but I can't find you on Facebook since I don't know your last name! You have to friend me (or else I might have to add you as a nemesis on [see] - just kidding).

The excuse you give for bashing Columbia all the time is that you come from **Columbus** Ohio (NOT Dayton), all I can say is, why don't you bother to read my March 25 post on "Why I Like Columbia, Missouri," you might find some enlightenment there.

Oh, and I have to correct my previous comment, the Tatlin monument dates from 1919-20, not 1915 (which I was misremembering in my 3 a.m. fog as I wrote that comment). I added some photos of it to my blog today.

Unknown said...

Too much of mine time and money goes to the Ragtag. Scratch that, that's impossible. Looking forward to the release of Young at Heart.