THE BUCK STOPS HERE

By Robin Raisfeld

"For a deep-fried empanada or a tropical ice pop, all it takes is a dollar and a dream."

Empanadas can be found in nearly every Latin American country, and so can their deeply partisan fans. When the Colombian owners of Empanadas Del Parque opened what they’d hoped would be a sort of United Nations of empanadas last winter, they learned firsthand that one man’s meat pie was another’s poor substitute. "The difficulty was in trying to please everybody," says Patricia Bernard, who runs the business with her brother, Jaime Bermudez, and sister, Luz Helena Bermudez, both of whom have channeled years of Manhattan catering experience into churning out nineteen varieties of fried empanadas from a Corona kitchen. After encountering initial resistance, they sacrificed attempted authenticity for full-blown creative license, stuffing their spongy corn-flour and flaky white-flour pies with untraditional ingredients like shrimp, cod, spinach and ricotta, and the ever-popular trinity of ham, pineapple, and cheese. Made to order and served with a spicy avocado sauce, the empanadas (a deal at $1 apiece) ultimately won over a loyal Latino clientele. (The location, four blocks from the soccer fields at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, can’t hurt.) On hot days, locals huddle over the freezer case, excavating dollar ices and ice creams made from tropical fruits like soursop, guava, avocado, and mango. Judging by their popularity, the Lemon Ice King of Corona might finally have some competition.

 

NewYorkMag
NewYorkMag