Daily Dad News
Ralph Mercado Jr.’s Son Carries On The Family Tradition
December 30, 2011
Ralph Mercado Jr., a man many viewed as the Berry Gordy of Latin music, left behind a rich legacy for his son Ralph Mercado III after his passing in 2009. Now in 2011, the younger Mercado will follow his father’s footprints by continuing the family business and also opening a brand new restaurant sharing the same name of his father’s establishment.
Ralph Mercado III lives the adage “like father, like son” faithfully, carrying on his father’s passion for promoting and managing Latin musical acts. Starting in January, Mercado will open up Latino-themed restaurant Babalu – the same as his dad did in Hell’s Kitchen before him, but this time in the bustling Bronx neighborhood of Throgs Neck.
The original Babalu focused more on Cuban cuisine, but Mercado intends to update the menu in hopes to cater to a wider Latino base. “I want to bring back something I think the Latino community needs, and that is our sense of self,” Mercado shared with New York Daily News. “We're proud of our heritage. I wanted to bring that proud spirit to a new restaurant.” The 2012 version of Babalu’s menu will find flavors and dishes crafted with inspiration from Latin America’s vast array of cuisines.
Mercado has been promoting music since the age of 16, while under his father’s tutelage. The elder Mercado was responsible for launching and managing the careers of Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and also current stars such as Marc Anthony. The younger Mercado looks at his dad as a role model.
“My father was my idol,” Mercado III said. “If I could do a third of what he did, I’d be happy.”
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