Hola Empanada Joe’s!

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This morning, Bwog woke up hungry and hankering for something not sweet, but savory.  Fortunately, Saturday Brunch will never be Sunday Brunch and Bwog wanted lunch.  And so on this dark Saturday, Bwog strode down Broadway past the parfaits and waffles of Community and Le Monde in search of vittles of a more proteinaceous variety.   

Ecce Empanada Joe’s! Despite its highly anticipated arrival, the little eatery opened to little fanfare a few weeks ago.   Unlike Chipotle, tempting customers with both flex and Burrito Bowls, Empanada Joe’s offers neither and unsurprisingly lacks the long lines and loyal following of the former pseudo-latino burrito bar. But occasionally, today for example, hunger outweighs reliability. And despite of Empanada Joe’s generic, prefabricated décor, a result of franchising no doubt, Bwog’s gastronomic gusto was a success.


Entering just minutes after Empanada Joe’s opened this afternoon, Bwog enjoyed a lunch of two stuffed pastries and a side of corn salad.  For all those who no habla Espanol, the word empanada comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap in bread (sp. pan.) The pastry to filling ratio often poses a problem to chefs and results in overly doughy or excessively juicy empanadas.  But the folks at Empanada Joe’s have the formula for flaky on the outside to flavorful on the inside down. Although their menu is small and primarily consists of the eponymous treats, there are some desserts and a bunch of tasty sides as well.  But the variety lies, however, with what’s inside the empanada.

Most of the filling options involve the typical ingredients of Latin American cooking, pulled pork, sausage and peppers, beef and the like.  But there are vegetarian options and some creative, decidedly un-ethnic, spins on bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches.   It’s a little confusing to know how much to order the first time around.  But Bwog recommends at least two empanadas, reasonably priced at $3.38 each and a side, $3.42 each, to round out the meal.  Together the Rio Chicken, spicy without being overwhelmingly so, and the Veggie Mama, a little light on veggies and heavy on the sauce, left just enough room for the corn salad.  To be honest, this was most anticipated item of Bwog’s lunch, but damn those great expectations.  Unfortunately the corn salad, consisting of canned corn and neither enough lime nor parsley, fell short.  

Nonetheless Empanada Joe’s served up fresh, hot and healthy-ish lunch in minimal time and for minimal money.   

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  1. Anonymous

    sorry bwog but this place sucks

  2. minimal money?  

    i'm not sure about that. two empanadas from this place barely suffice as a meal...three is just about right. and with 3, the price goes above 10 dollars, which isn't that cheap for a fast-food lunch. hamdel still takes the cake for cheap, good lunches.

  3. this sucks  

    the empanadas taste like undercooked microwaved hot pockets

  4. also

    each empanada was about the size of my hand. i'm tiny.

  5. not rich, not tiny  

    ummm... $3.38 for a tiny hot pocket is not reasonably priced

  6. eww  

    I found a hair baked into my empanada

  7. what?  

    over the summer, havana had a happy hour deal every thursday: two empanadas for a dollar. 50 cents compared to $3.38, and so much tastier...empanada joe's is crap.

  8. blah

    That was really pretentious. Ecce? Really?

  9. senior  

    this place is disgusting and over priced. Might as well buy hot pockets.

  10. yah

    I'm disappointing in you, Bwog. What, afraid to review a neighborhood place badly? Unless this has changed from a week ago when I went, I don't know what you are smoking. These things are tiny and hence overpriced, the bread outside is crusty and chewy at once, I'll give it that, but the fillings have absolutely no flavor; no spice; no bite. I ordered one beef and one pulled pork and could have easily been eating potato filling in both of them instead. Even the "choose-your-own" sauces didn't help.

    I ended up feeling like a chump for spending over 7 dollars...

  11. bwog  

    either has terrible taste or no balls

  12. what?

    corn salad: cilantro, not parsley, also, bwog's gastronomic gusto? in the words of the inimitable john stossel, give me a break

  13. ...  

    i thought it was okay. albeit a bit expensive for some chipotle mayo and a few starchy carriers for said mayo.

    if my $9 meal had cost $5 or $6. i think it would have been okay . $9 however was kind of a total ripoff.

    but then again, most places in this neighborhood are total ripoffs. they know you're stranded on the isle of morningside and know that they can charge what they please.

  14. ...  

    no wonder it's so expensive! look at the size of that management team for only one outlet that's operating!

    i suggest these complaints be brought up with the director of global business development and strategy.

    these guys are doomed. they obviously put more effort into building a management structure than they did in testing/designing their product.

  15. Mr. Clean  

    The lady eating next to me found something resembling mammalian feces in her empanada.

  16. Agree  

    with the other posts...

    Had to try it out and see for myself so as I write I'm eating two tiny empanadas and a very bland "spanish" potato salad (potatoes, peas, carrots, mayo) which cost me 11.00 versus my 12.00 chipotle burrito with chips and guac AND a drink. Very upsetting.

  17. empanada joe

    Spicy corn salad - nibblet corn, parsley, onion, peppers and zest of jalapeno

    Y'all are bitches.

    But it's true that they're only there for the chipotle mayo. That stuff is like crack.

  18. christine marie

    why are you all being so mean?/ this place improves your karmatic structure, so it's cool that they have like 80 people running it. holy shit i haven't eaten in three days. i could use an empanada!

  19. Flipout

    Good news. Now there's an Empanada Joe's open near Times Square at 8th Avenue and 43rd. Maybe the diners I run into there won't be as snarky as you Ivory Tower types.

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