April 26th, 2016 – Philadelphia Neighborhoods – Words, images and video by Erin Edinger-Turoff and Joe Brandt.
Priority No. 1 for Cristina Martinez (above), the head chef at South Philly Barbacoa, is “to change the hearts” of customers at the restaurant at 11th and Morris streets.
“They come in and eat the food here, and maybe at the table they talk immigration reform,” Martinez said.
Since acquiring their own brick-and-mortar space, the co-owners of Barbacoa — Martinez and her husband, Ben Miller — have hosted events and met with Mayor Jim Kenney to discuss issues facing undocumented workers in the restaurant industry.
For the couple, there is a personal connection to the issue.