Local Eats: Not Your Mama's Empanadas

Read more

Twitter: @Stefadook

Tucked away in that far-off land known as Queens, lies the mecca of empanadas, Mama’s Empanadas. Pockets of corn (or wheat), fried (or oven-baked) to perfection, their menu boats of over 50 choices. What? You thought your only options were carne or pollo? You were deathly mistaken.

You’ll usually find me at any of the FIVE Mama’s Empanadas locations, drooling over their menu board. Once I’ve picked my jaw up from the floor, I’ll step up to the always hospitable teller (had to be Colombians!) and place my MULTIPLE orders. With ingredients you didn’t even know could possibly fit inside of an empanada, Mama’s works 24Hrs a day, 7 days a week to surprise and satisfy you. Their uber popular maiz (corn) empanadas give you choices like Hawaiian (ham, cheese and pineapple), arroz y frijoles and spinach and cheese…and that’s just for dinner. The DESSERT empanadas are what I come for. Wrapped in wheat flour pockets, freshly baked then topped with powdered sugar, crack open one of these babies, and the most magical things come pouring out. The arequipe (Colombian caramel), figs and ooey-gooey cheese empanada is heaven on Earth. Their guava and sweet-plantain is my salvation. Did I mention NONE of these will lose you more than three bucks? I have found a God and her name is Mama’s Empanadas.

With their three small locations throughout Queens (Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Sunnyside) being massive successes, Mama’s Empanadas opened two locations in Manhattan called….Empanada Mama. Set in Hells Kitchen and LES, you’ll find a much larger menu with other Latino favorites like tamales, yuca frita, arepas and homemade fruity drinks. But if cheap-eats and off-the-radar is what you crave, for less than a MetroCard swipe, you’ll find empanadas you only thought existed in your wildest dreams.