Isaías Berriozabal-Martinez, the 23-year-old chef-owner behind El Compadre, South Philly Barbacoa’s torta extension, unexpectedly and tragically passed away on January 11 from unknown causes. Berriozabal-Martinez, son of Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller — chef-owners of Philly’s critically acclaimed taco shop — immigrated to the U.S. in 2014 and got his start in the industry manning the restaurant’s taco station.
In October, he opened his own weekday torta shop, El Compadre. The restaurant quickly gained momentum, even landing him a spot on Zagat Philly’s list of 8 Under-the-Radar Chefs to Know in Philly. According to a recent article by Philly.com, Berriozabal-Martinez had trouble breathing on the morning of January 11 before he collapsed in his parents’ home.
Over the next seven nights (January 13-20), Martinez and Miller will be hosting vigils, open to the public, in memory of their son beginning at 8 p.m. at South Philly Barbacoa. El Compadre will remain open.