Add This New Empanada Spot to Your Must-Visit List, Stat
The Wood-Ridge locale is giving the classic food a fresh take.
Photo courtesy of The Empanada Shop
These aren’t your abuela’s empanadas. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating one before, it’s a Latin pastry typically stuffed with various types of meat, veggies or fruit. If you’re already a fan, The Empanada Shop won’t disappoint. This new spot opened roughly two months ago, and it’s already gotten a lot of buzz.
The owners, Joni Caldera and Nelson Contreras, are an Italian and Dominican couple who met two years ago. After impressing their friends at parties with their unconventional and standard empanadas alike, they finally went brick-and-mortar by nailing down a Wood-Ridge storefront.
The Latin beef, chicken and pork numbers are made from age-old homemade recipes, and speak to Nelson’s Dominican background. Jodi’s Italian roots show in fillings like sausage and peppers, tomato basil chicken and garlic shrimp. Their love for American food is a brag-worthy influence, too, thanks to selections like the buffalo chicken, broccoli cheddar and chili mac and cheese. The Empanada Shop won’t let little sugar monsters down, either, thanks to the guava and cheese and apple pie dessert selections.
This shop offers more than just empanadas. They also serve chicken or beef rice bowls (the Shop calls them naked empanadas), tostones (fried plantains), flan and a killer Cuban sandwich. Not to mention the extensive smoothie menu, including the Aloha, made with pineapple, coconut and banana, and the Gumby, a blend of pineapple, cucumber and mango.
You can visit to grab one or two (or as you can carry at once), or order a party platter. The shop hosts karaoke on Friday nights, according to the eatery’s Instagram.
The Empanada Shop is located at 251 B. Valley Blvd., Wood-Ridge. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-8 pm. Check out the menu online or call at 201-559-2165.