Fast forward to the opening of the Liberty Public Market in 2016, and the burgeoning business secures its rank as one of the flagship vendors. Family-owned and operated, they are now expanding to open a 250-square-foot kiosk in the vibrant Westfield UTC in La Jolla.
Although an exact date has not been set for the Westfield opening, they’re hopeful for the end of February. They are currently finishing up construction, and are awaiting final inspection.
Lucia Landman’s family began their venture, as many Porteno Argentinians do, serving empanadas at parties or get-togethers at home.
“I was born in Buenos Aires, but my mom was raised in Paraná (hence the name),” said Landman. “My mom and dad developed the recipes in Argentina, but now we’ve adapted to include Margherita, bean-and-cheese and chipotle chicken to suit Southern California tastes. The great thing about empanadas is that they’re really easy to serve – you don’t have to sit down to eat them.”
While beef, chicken or other land-drawn protein is used as typical filler for the perfectly flaky receptacles, Landman states that Portenos typically don’t eat spicy food.
“In some of the northern states, you may find spicy food, but not where we’re from,” said Landman.
Along the coast, there really aren’t any other large-scale empanada restaurants. Papa Luna closed a few years back in Pacific Beach, and Hola Che is about to shutter in the beach town as well. This being the case, it’s quite possible that Paraná Empanadas is one of the only locations in a 10-mile radius. And for good reason.
The empanadas themselves are baked at an offsite location, then brought to the individual stores/markets. There, they are stored until they are warmed in an oven, displayed for customers to peruse before purchase. Some standout items are the spinach, mushroom, beef and chipotle chicken empanadas. It’s highly recommended to grab a box of six to eight for a friendly beach day. All of the delectable, savory treats are perfectly complemented by a classic chimichurri, chipotle chimichurri and a mayo-based “traditional sauce.”
No Argentinian empanada location would be considered as such without the omnipresent dessert treat of that country – alfajor(es). Although another company bakes the dulce-de-leche-esque cookies, they provide a sweet antithesis to the savory empanadas.
And staying true to their roots, Paraná Empanadas is still frequenting the Ocean Beach farmers market (among many others).
WHERE: Liberty Public Market, 2820 Historic Decatur Rd.; Westfield UTC, 4545 La Jolla Village Dr.
WHEN: Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CONTACT: paranaempanadas.com, or call 858-900-3499.