South Philly Barbacoa is teaming up with Chris’ Jazz Cafe for a taco and tequila-fueled fundraiser

South Philly Barbacoa

It’s time to indulge in some delicious tacos and tequila drinks-all for a worthy cause. The owners of South Philly Barbacoa are hosting a pay-what-you-want dinner with a purpose. The event will take place at Chris’ Jazz Café and will benefit the rights of the undocumented immigrants working in the kitchens of Philadelphia. The fundraiser fits, being the City of Brotherly Love its a great opportunity to show just how brotherly Philly’s love really can be. 

South Philly Barbacoa is teaming up with Chris’ Jazz Cafe for a taco and tequila-fueled fundraiser

South Philly Barbacoa owners Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez have already gained national attention for both their critically acclaimed fare and their immigrant rights activism, and now they are inviting all Philadelphians to join them for a fun and unique event. The joyous evening will consist of plenty of tacos, tequila and Latin Jazz music. More than half a dozen local chefs are volunteering their culinary chops to make this event as special as it possibly can be. 

“When my chef, Jhonny Rincon, suggested the idea of a collaboration dinner with South Philly Barbacoa to raise awareness about the plight of undocumented workers, I thought it was a noble idea,” said Chris’ Jazz Café’s Chef/Owner Mark DeNinno. “It is an issue close to Jhonny’s heart, as he is friends with both Ben and Cristina. Initially, it was just supposed to be our two restaurants, but when word spread of our fundraiser, several other local chefs who are active in this arena, decided to jump in. It’s going to be a fantastic evening with delicious food and superb live music from Conjunto — a Philadelphia based band that performs the music of Pre-Revolutionary Cuba.” 

South Philly Barbacoa

You may recognize South Philly Barbacoa owner Cristina Martinez from Bon Appetit magazine who named her pit-braised lamb tacos one of the three best tacos in the nation. Or perhaps you recognize the taqueria from one of the hit Netflix shows Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious. Their once small shop in South Philly has catapulted to become one of the most sought after eateries in the city. Now Miller and Martinez are using their fame in a different way.  

“We hope to use the platform of food in our social culture to bring awareness and ultimately policy change for the millions of hardworking undocumented immigrants who have helped build our country’s food system and great restaurants. We cannot continue to stay silent about the reality we see in our kitchens every day, and we are grateful for chefs who are willing to step up to the challenge of working towards a better more sustainable restaurant industry,” said Miller.

Donations for the dinner will go directly to P.A.U.W.R. (Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers’ Rights), which gives assistance to the undocumented community and acknowledges their contributions to the city and national dining scene.

The dinner will feature delicious small plates and plenty of boozy tequila cocktails (Patron is sponsoring the event and also making a donation to P.A.U.W.R.) Dishes include Garnacha Oaxaqueña with beef picada, crema, chapulines (grasshoppers) salsa and queso fresco from Chefs Jhonny Rincon and Mark DeNinno (Chris’ Jazz Cafe) plus Tacos Dorados (crispy fried lamb tacos) from Chefs Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller and plenty more to zest up your palette. 

South Philly Barbacoa

Other participants include Sous Chef Kurt Evans (South); Katie Briggs, (Eclectic Domestic); Han Chiang (Han Dynasty); Chef Ari Miller (Musi BYOB); Catzie Vilayphonh (Laos in the House) and Jena Harris (1149 Cooperative.) All participating chefs will cook a variety of mouth-watering and appetizing dishes with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. 

Cocktail options include the Kernel of Truth (Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, elote shrub and lime); Captain’s Margarita (Patron Silver, Ancho Reyes Verde Poblano Liqueur, pineapple juice and lime); Chapulines (Patron Reposado, roasted cricket bitters, avocado oil and bianco vermouth); Last of the Oaxacans (Patron Anejo, pioncillo syrup and mole bitters) and I Left My Heart in Mexico (Patron XO, Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur, hot chocolate and cinnamon.)

Tickets are $10 and will go to the band, donations for the dinner are pay-what-you-want. Chris’ regular menu will not be available that evening. Tickets are available at the door or online at

Chris’ Jazz Cafe is located at 1421 Sansom St, Philadelphia 

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