A short list of restaurants in Philly are closed today, International Workers’ Day, in support of A Day Without Immigrants. The local strike was organized by Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa. They’re the team behind the Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers’ Rights (PAUWR) and its #Right2Work initiative.
South Philly Barbacoa is closed for the day, along with the couple’s El Compadre. According to the PAUWR website, Hungry Pigeon, Sate Kampar, Le Virtu, Brigantessa, ITV, El Sarape, Mole Poblano, and W/N W/N Coffee Bar are also closed. Le Virtu and Brigantessa owner Francis Cretarola tells Eater Philly he and co-owner/wife Cathy Lee, along with some staff, are using the day to plant in Le Virtu’s garden.
Le Virtu, Brigantessa, El Compadre, and South Philly Barbacoa, among other Philly eateries, declared themselves sanctuary restaurants earlier this year, and Le Virtu hosted a dinner benefiting PAUWR last month.
Tonight, South Philly Barbacoa hosts a #Right2Work dinner in New York, the first in the series to take place outside of Philadelphia. The donation-based event, which advocates for the rights of undocumented workers, is at Downtown Art (70 E. Fourth Street) and includes dinner, a documentary screening, a concert, and a panel discussion.
Martinez and Miller will be cooking, along with Kurt Evans of Route 23 Café, Valerie Erwin of the now-closed Geechee Girl Rice Café, which was in Mt. Airy, Carolina Saavedra of New York’s La Morada, and Harold Villarosa of Maison Pickle, also in New York. Yewande Komolafe of recipe-development lab Four Salt Spoons in New York and New Orleans-based Nigerian chef Tunde Wey, who brought his Blackness in America dinner series to Philly, are also participating.
After New York, PAUWR plans to set up more #Right2Work events in other cities, starting with Detroit.