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.

The owners, Joni Caldera and Nelson Contreras, are an Italian and Dominican couple who opened shop in late 2017. 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.

The 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 Smurf, made with blueberries and bananas.

You can visit to grab one or two (or as many as you can carry at once), or order a party platter. The Empanada Shop is located at 251 B. Valley Blvd., Wood-Ridge. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 am-8 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am-4 pm. Check out the menu online or call at 201-559-2165.