Empanola, the spot that serves up traditional and New Orleans-inspired empanadas, is opening a new location at 3109 Magazine St. on Aug. 1. The site is the former location of novelty and gift shop Bootsy’s Fun Rock’n, which closed last summer.
The Empanola location at 7321 Freret St., a neighborhood favorite since 2019, will remain Empanola’s main store, where all of the empanadas are baked.
Empanadas are a hand food made with a light, flaky crust packed with filling such as meat and cheese. Versions of the small savory pies can be found in many cultures, including Louisiana’s.
Empanola’s version is baked, not fried, and comes in a variety of South American and New Orleans-inspired flavors.
Co-owner Jimena Urrutia is from Argentina. Her husband, chef and co-owner Marcelo García, is from Chile. After moving to New Orleans, they dreamed of introducing their style of empanadas to the city.
They opened their first empanada stand at St. Roch Market in 2017 and, a year later, moved on to Auction House Market. During the pandemic, the Auction House Market location closed, leaving the couple looking for a new location where they could serve up their tasty turnovers.
“I thought that a good place for the new shop would be in the Garden District,” Urrutia said. “I pictured people walking around with empanadas in their hands. We’ve been working on this location for three months and I think it’s just about ready — it’s all coming together.”
Empanola is a family business. Along with Urrutia and García, Jimena’s brother Javier Urrutia is a co-owner, and the couple’s daughter Emilia García does graphic design for the business.
Empanola offers a variety of South American-inspired empanadas such as Beef Argentina, made with ground beef, peppers, onions, olives and eggs, and Chicken Peruvian, made with chicken, ají amarillo, pecans, olives and Parmesan cheese.
Vegetarian empanada options include Spinach and Artichoke, made with spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan, havarti and mozzarella cheese, and Mushroom and Cheese, made with sautéed mushrooms, onions, shallots, havarti and mozzarella cheese.
New Orleans-inspired empanadas such as Crawfish Étouffée, made with Louisiana crawfish, onions, peppers and celery, and Gumbo, made with roasted chicken, sausage, onions and peppers, round out the diverse menu.
There is also a daily vegan special on the menu using plant-based Impossible meat, which Urrutia said is very popular.
The Magazine location will have a café-type feel and will offer 12 types of empanadas; hot coffee, iced coffee and tea; and a full selection of sweets and traditional desserts, such as flan. The Magazine location will also offer brunch.
“All of our hearts are in this location,” Urrutia said. “We synchronize our South American culture with the New Orleans culture, and offer the best of both worlds.”
Empanola’s Magazine Street hours will be Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reporter Marielle Songy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.