South Philly Barbacoa is back with a standalone restaurant again, after a year sharing a space with sister spot El Compadre. Chef Cristina Martinez will be making her nationally acclaimed tacos from the eatery’s new home at the corner of 9th and Ellsworth in the Italian Market three days a week. El Compadre, just down the street at 1149 S. 9th Street, will stay open.
Martinez and her husband/co-owner, Ben Miller, first started selling lamb tacos and consomme from a South Philly food cart. It quickly grew so popular neighbors complained about the crowds. The couple shuttered the cart and opened a brick and mortar location in 2016 at 1703 S. 11 Street (now Mike’s BBQ). There the praise started pouring in. Bon Appetit named the tacos among the three best in the country and put the eatery on its list of the 10 best new restaurants in America. The James Beard Foundation named the couple semifinalists for its best chef in the mid-Atlantic award. David Chang visited the restaurant for his Netflix show Ugly Delicious.
Meanwhile, Martinez helped her son, Isaias Berriozabal-Martinez, open torta shop El Compadre in the Italian Market. Tragedy stuck just a few months later, when the 23 year old died.
Miller and Martinez then moved South Philly Barbacoa into El Compadre, combining the two restaurants under the El Compadre name.
In the spring, Eater learned they were looking for a bigger space. And now they have one. South Philly Barbacoa opened at 1140 S. 9th over the weekend, with a grand opening planned for August 13. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. until sell out (usually in the afternoon) and Monday from 7 a.m. until sell out.
El Compadre will continue serving tortas and guisados, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.