South Philly Barbacoa’s kitchens are open to feed those in need

Mike Prince

South Philly Barbacoa, located in the iconic Italian Market in Philadelphia, is known for its authentic and delicious Mexican fare. The eatery specializes in traditional slow-cooked barbacoa-style tacos and toppings, and when you typically walk past the hotspot you can be sure to see a line out the door. But during this time, South Philly Barbacoa has been utilizing its delicious culinary arsenal to instead feed those in need, and the eatery certainly has been making an impact. 

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Owners Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller have been working with Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen to prepare 200 free meals a day to those who don’t have access to nutritious meals. This meaningful effort has been fueled and funded by Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen, and his Chefs for America program, which is active in dozens of cities and currently providing more than 250,000 fresh meals for the hungry every day. 

According to the release, the initiative started on March 23 when local chef Aziza Young launched her Chefs Feed Philly program, which saw a number of chefs get together to provide high-quality meals for those in need. The initiative evolved as she was working out of South Philly Barbacoa, and began partnerships with 215 Alliance and World Central Kitchen. Other individuals and local organizations have helped fund the project and provide additional assistance as well, and after initially feeding 50 to 100 people per day, that number has now increased to 200 people daily.

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“Our main goal is to get more restaurants to do the same thing, and to help World Central Kitchen expand their impact around Philadelphia.” said Miller in a statement. “The need is huge, and we would love to see more restaurants convert their kitchens to a space to prepare and give away food and inspire others in the process.”

This initiative has also helped keep talented Philly chefs busy. Mondays through Fridays, different chefs from local restaurants—who otherwise would be unemployed—cook in South Philly Barbacoa’s kitchen with meals spanning anywhere from jerk chicken to chicken tikka masala. The meals are then available for pickup at the restaurant, or can also be delivered to families and neighbors in need. The release states, to help with distributing the meals, 215PA has partnered with the Church of the Redeemer Baptist Church in Point Breeze, Puentas de SaludUNITE HERE PhiladelphiaSEAMAAC and the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance

To learn more information about South Philly Barbacoa and their efforts to feed those in need alongside Chef Jose Andres, visit southphillybarbacoa.com.

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