El Barbecue Ending Run In San Diego's Sherman Heights

October 8, 2023

After three years in business, El Barbecue is ending its run in San Diego's Sherman Heights.

El Barbecue was started as a pop-up in early 2020 by chefs Ami Cisnero and Brandon Standafer, who both previously worked for San Diego's popular Grand Ole BBQ. By summer 2020, the couple took over the standalone building on the corner of 25th & Market that was previously occupied by Sister Ray's and opened their first brick and mortar restaurant. El Barbecue offered a unique menu of slow smoked barbecue dishes and other comfort foods inspired by Mexican, Argentinean and Korean flavors. During their tenure owning El Barbecue, Brandon and Ami got married and recently had their first child. 

"It’s easy to say goodbye when there are other things saying hello," wrote Chef Ami in a social media post announcing El Barbecue's impending closure. "So grateful to have been able to make bbq these last three years but it’s time to move on. After three super rad years serving our community, we are closing this chapter in our lives. 25th and Market was more than a little bbq shack to us, it created great memories and even greater friendships. We're so grateful for all the support we've felt from you all and won't ever forget it."

With their lease coming to an end combined with the birth of their first son just last month, Ami & Brandon have decided to close El Barbecue after this weekend. The couple will host the restaurant's last service on Sunday, October 8, from 11am to 3pm.

Ami is a 2010 graduate of San Diego Culinary Institute and a native San Diegan who once led the kitchen at Grand Ole BBQ Flynn Springs and has worked in the kitchens at such area restaurants as JRDN and Mister A's. Chef Ami recently was a competitor on the fourth season of Food Network's BBQ Brawl and was once featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins & DivesBrandon is from Kentucky and helped start Grand Ole BBQ with founder Andy Harris, first as a catering company and then opening the brick and mortar in North Park. 

El Barbecue is located at 549 25th Street in San Diego's Sherman Heights neighborhood. For more information, visit elbarbecuesd.com.