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Enter: Empanada Joe’s

In a bold real estate move, the likes of which fair Morningside hasn’t seen since Pinkberry’s merciless eclipse of Tasti D-Lite, a restaurant called Empanadas Joe’s has opened a few blocks down from Havana Central and just mere stores away from Chipotle, igniting a battle of Latin-influenced Broadway establishments. The empanada retailer will be taking the place of the darkly mysterious Wrapp Factory.

Little is known about Empanada Joe’s: There’s a restaurant called Empanada Joe’s in Tulum, Mexico. And the company is apparently a registered business. Also, when Bwog was outside, a man approached us as we were taking a picture of the storefront. He suggested that we email the photo to the company, and that they would pay us for it. “If it’s good,” he added. As you can see, it is not.

A sign hanging outside announced that they were hiring (which means there are summer jobs still available!) and that today the store held a “meet and greet” for prospective employees. We assume EmJo will be open for business quite soon, at which point Chipotle and Havana Central will maybe be in for the fight of their lives, but probably not.

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  • grrr says:

    @grrr I don’t get it. Fucking empanadas. Just fucking shoot me.

    Of ALL the things that could open in that space, unoccupied for close to a year, of all the corners of the earth into which my imagination grandly wandered, it had to be…Latin food. Latin food approximately four doors down from Chipotle. Really? Really Morningside Heights? Really??

    My dreams for the future are shattered; dashed to the ground. There is now nothing left to hope for. Goodbye cruel world, may I go to a place where regional cuisines are not turned into little fastfood minisnacks sold by stores sporting bright yellow signs with those ever present “food + possessive proper name” constructions written in unattractive (comic sans?) fonts.

    ::chokes on own vomit::


    1. well.... says:

      @well.... at least it isn’t a satellite location of the shoe tree (for kids!).

    2. Font recognition says:

      @Font recognition It’s not Comic Sans. I’m going to guess Arial Rounded?

      1. empandas says:

        @empandas taste much better with a serif font

    3. meh says:

      @meh Does chipotle serve empanadas? No, well, then I guess they aren’t redundant.

      Also, chipotle sucks a fat one. I’ve been there 3 times – never had a good burrito. Cold rice and lukewarm beans do not go well together. Maybe it was a bad server, but 3 times? And, as #5 said – it isn’t necessarily cheap.
      I miss the west End’s wednesday’s lunch burger special. $5 for a burger and cold drink!

    4. sure says:

      @sure sure, i’ll shoot you. no problem.

  • why... says:

    @why... why oh why is there no Dunkin Donuts?! And why the hell are there TWO Starbucks?

    I need sugar, dammit.

  • Did it says:

    @Did it occur to anyone else that Columbia students tend to complain less if a bad situation doesn’t change than if it improves in some way?

  • chipotle? says:

    @chipotle? can someone explain to me why chipotle is all the rage? i’ve been there. it’s pretty expensive and not particularly amazing. not saying it’s not good, just want to hear a cogent argument for why i should pay some 8 dollars for a burrito.

  • This says:

    @This is incredible..I love eating empanadas. Who can hate Latin food? If you do, I suggest reading Kant’s Critique of Judgment.

  • ehhh says:

    @ehhh blockheads is really the way to go.

  • Hmmm says:

    @Hmmm Yes! That West End special was great. You’re making me salivate. I know this is a little crazy…but I actually miss the egg bagels and tuna fish salad from Columbia bagels sometimes…and yes I’ve gone all the way to Times Square to get one of their bagels again. Nussbaum just don’t cut it in the bagel world.

    1. Absolutely says:

      @Absolutely Mensch, have you never been to Absolute Bagels?

  • DHI says:

    @DHI I don’t know anything about this “Joe” but I’ll still say this place ain’t got shit on Julia’s Empanadas.

  • empanadas says:

    @empanadas I hope they’re cheap! Then I’m there. Empanadas are wonderful in all of their many variations…

  • Al Noblet says:


  • EAL says:

    @EAL Chipotle is awesome. Haters be damned!

    1. ... says:

      @... MEMORANDUM

      TO: YOU



  • hmm says:

    @hmm this makes me want some roti roll!

  • ahem says:

    @ahem i. Tasti>Pinkberry. And less creepy.

    ii. chipotle is two meals for the slightly enlarged price of one.

  • wrapp factory says:

    @wrapp factory darkly mysterious?

    1. wrapp factory says:

      @wrapp factory mysteriously dark?

  • your mom says:

    @your mom they need to open a hale and hearty soup near campus!

  • Hmmmm says:

    @Hmmmm *sigh* Absolute is sad in comparison. Their cream cheeses taste like they came from a philadelphia container. Plus their egg bagels lack that buttery flavor that made Columbia Bagels wonderful. Also, their tuna doesn’t have enough mayo or onions. Zabar’s tuna salad is passable though.

  • Mexican says:

    @Mexican There isn’t a ‘great’ Mexican place near campus. At the very least, this opening gives us another option that might be tasty.

    My burrito experiences at Chipotle have always been better than at Taqueria.

  • Hmmm says:

    @Hmmm Comparing Taqueria to Chipotle is like comparing apples and oranges. If want something hearty and simpler I go to Taqueria if I want something with heavy sour cream and guac then I go to Chipotle. Tex Mex and Mexican are pretty different.

  • EAL says:

    @EAL The hell with Joe. We need a Five Guys or Chick-fil-a up here! Mmmm…waffle fries.

    1. yes says:

      @yes Five Guys. As a DC resident, I have to have my fix.

  • Yes! says:

    @Yes! Five guys, for the love of god yes, please…those fries…oh my.

  • To Hmmm says:

    @To Hmmm I am fully in agreement with your perspective on Five Guys and Taqueria vis-à-vis Chipotle. So it pains me that you fail to appreciate the joy that is Absolute Bagels. Zabar’s, H&H, and everything else south of 96th street taste like cake. Absolute has simplicity going for it, and I like their cream cheese. Oh well.

  • DHI says:

    @DHI Taqueria isn’t a burrito joint so it’s foolish to judge it on burritos.

    Get the tacos (which are the traditional style of being a pile of meat on a tortilla with a few onions) tortas, or if you got the cash, the entrees. Also, get stuff like pastor, chorizo, and suadero instead of just going for steak and chicken. Also the tostadas and sopas are cheap and reasonably big for their price.

    Anyway, let me tell you about Julia’s Empanadas:

    it is in Washington, D.C.

    it has delicious, large empanadas. turkey, chilean beef, jamaican beef, saltenas, chorizo.

    it still has cheap product even after all this inflation.

    for you vegan types, they got a vegan empanada that always changes.


  • um yes! says:

    @um yes! awesome! There is one right by my office and I go there, oh, probably every day. We can hope that Julia is somehow related to Joe can’t we??

  • why cant we get says:

    @why cant we get in-n-out?

    1. because says:

      @because for quality control purposes they won’t open locations outside of ca/nv/ut/az.

      you should know this if you love in-n-out so much.

  • nothing special says:

    @nothing special In-n-Out is nothing special. Had one of their burgers once and it didn’t rock my argyle socks off.
    The french fries are good until they start to get cold, which is not good news when you order a burger and french fries. then you are faced with the tough decision of which to eat first, the fries or the burger?

  • HMMMM. says:

    @HMMMM. bring back Taco Bell! or Quiznos!!!!!!!!!
    or Texas Steakhouse!! Suburbs rule!

    1. yeah says:

      @yeah quiznos is good
      taco bell is cheap

      good or cheap are both good things

  • cc '10 says:

    @cc '10 oh man if there was a Texas Roadhouse round Columbia… sooo good.

    Sometimes, the suburbs are useful for something

    1. ... says:

      @... uh… dinosaur bbq?

      1. Bollinger says:


  • The South says:

    @The South We have yet to address the most heinous food-related atrocity in Morningside Heights: the fact that NYU has a Chick-fil-A and Columbia has none.

    I pine for waffle fries!

    1. S'uth'n'r says:

      @S'uth'n'r Yeah, but the whole no-food-on-Sundays thing is pretty damn annoying.

  • but ugh says:

    @but ugh — have you actually had food from the Chick-fil-A near NYU? It’s so terribly disappointing!

    As far as Five Guys goes — there’s one down in the 50’s somewhere and has been around for at least a year, I think. Those with peanut allergies stay away though; they’ve got them all over the place.

    1. five guys says:

      @five guys there’s a five guys by the christopher street 1 stop, on bleecker and 7th, just fyi :) 50th street would be closer, but i don’t know if there’s actually one there. i was pretty certain that the village location was the first and so far the only one in the city. but i stand to be corrected!

  • Abroad in ARG says:

    @Abroad in ARG Ya llegado mi salvación! O to think I once dreaded my return to the empanadaless barrio of morningside hieghts…

  • from Japan. says:

    @from Japan. The food here kicks ass.

    But I still miss Chipotle.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous looks like a gem to me ladies and gents. i’ll be at the front of the line. heard they’re mad cheap, tasty… perfect for the area.

  • Karl says:

    @Karl passed by empanada joes today and met someone that told me its a whole lot cheaper than chipotle and about 200 calories per empanada as opposed to the 2000 in a burrito down the street… they also mentioned its a latin idea but the ingredients are amazing with a delicious egg and cheese one and a bunch of dessert ones…. I dont know but it seems to me people will love this place when it opens

  • There's A says:

    @There's A There’s a Five Guys in Midtown – on 55th, between 5th and 6th. They’re tasty, but nothing spectacular – the chain-wide insistence on cooking the beef well done drags the otherwise excellent burgers down. The fries are still great though.

    They should get a Goodburger near campus, maybe a decent taco truck / halal cart, and a decent Dominican / Puerto Rican / Cuban place.

  • Trent says:

    @Trent I think the store looks cool. I like that minimalist modernish look. Even though it’s quite brandy at least it’s unfast food looking and not dark and somewaht dumpy like Chipotle.

    I’m gonna check em out. If the product looks as good as the store I’ll be a regular

  • Yum says:

    @Yum I luv Burritos but I luv Emapandas even more. I can’t wait till they open.

    I took a peak inside and the store definitely looks kewel. WF was such a dump.

  • Steve says:

    @Steve Just had a rojo chicken and a bacon egg and cheese empanada. Boy are they delicious the sotre has a great vibe too

    1. Colombiana says:

      @Colombiana Just tried Empanada Joe’s for lunch today, now that it’s finally open. Got in and out quickly. Couldn’t agree with you more about the food. Had the bacon egg and cheese empanada and the chicken empanada, both very tasty. Prefer their flaky Argentine-style crust to the heavier, deep-fried type served back home. Looking forward to trying some of the other combos.

  • fooddude says:

    @fooddude tried emanada joe’s and it blows the socks off Chipotle (which sucks and very fattening). To try it is to love it. Excellent taste and variety. As for price it beats the crap out of a $7 coffee.Low fat,excellent taste,good value how can you go elsewhere.

  • truss mee says:

    @truss mee these empanadas taste like trash… and they’re a ripoff ontop of that. It’s like paying $3.50 for a jelly doughnut. It’s just wrong.

    my advice: Go to a real latin bakery.

  • For Real says:

    @For Real These empanadas are the best tasting things I’ve eaten in a long time. fresh mozz, tomato and basil wrapped in a flaky crust. Just writing it makes me hungry.

    BTW I’ve eaten those 1/2 flat Paninis at 7 bucks a pop that have less stuff in em than each of these empanada. Plus I’d rather fill up on the good stuff (protein) as opposed to crap (starch and carbs) any day of the week

  • Amazing says:

    @Amazing The pulled pork with the chipotle mayo. Amazing. The tenderest tastiest Pork I’ve eaten.

    Yeah it’s a few pennies more than some places but wow is it worth it.

  • Foodman says:

    @Foodman To say that these Empanadas taste like trash, is to say that you are smart… but it’s obvious to all of us, that you’re just an idiot who has time to waste. I am a big fan of blog-ing, I believe in free speech. But when people use it as a form of therapy, its just plane sad. Before this reading this person’s comment, I never considered trying Empanada Joe’s. Reading the frustration behind the words “it” used to describe it, got me currious. This person was completely wrong. The Empanadas were great. I was lucky enough to arrive when they were sampling. I tried the Rio chicken, pulled pork, and argentine beef. they were amazing, so much so, that i had to purchase a dessert empanada. I tried the cha cha chocolate… WOW!! you have to try this. It’s hot dark chocolate and bananas… who would have thought it would be so sinfuly great.

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