If you’ve ever wanted to eat a cheeseburger, spinach and artichoke dip, chicken and waffles, and a loaded baked potato all in one meal without feeling like you were going to explode, then emPIEnada is the place for you.
With a menu made up of empanadas and pies, there are a lot of hearty combinations you can put together. And the best part is that everything on the menu truly tastes like that food—it may be wrapped up in a puff pastry, but that cheeseburger empanada you’re about to dive into will create the exact same flavor profile as a cheeseburger from your favorite restaurant.
EmPIEnada’s counter-serve eatery opened on April 20, taking its food truck staples to a brick and mortar on Kings Row. They had an equipment glitch and closed for a few days shortly after opening, but are back in business now.
They are masters of the pastry, turning out flaky and soft breaded dishes that range from a beef and Guinness pot pie to a loaded baked potato ball, with salads and dessert pies to round out the menu. Every option is thought out, with different types of breading on different menu items to create the best combinations.
The spinach and artichoke empanada, for example, comes in a gluten-free pastry, while the casing on the cheeseburger empanada is larger and heartier. The cheeseburger was my personal favorite of the four I tried, which is probably why it’s sitting on the most popular list. Mac and cheese balls are the other most ordered item so far.
Because empanadas aren’t very big, you could load up on three or four to make a meal. This is the key to satisfying several cravings at once. If you have a favorite, order a few of the same or opt for a pot pie, which is a single-serve dish.
Regardless of what you buy, the price point is great—we’re talking $3.50 for an empanada, $9.75 for a pot pie and $5.50-$7.50 for the mac and cheese or potato balls (choose from scalloped or loaded) depending on size.
3683 Kings Row
Reno, NV 89503
(775)GOT-PIES / (775) 468-7437
Select a few dipping sauces ranging from classic ranch to creamy cilantro lime, or get a side of pickled onions to chow with your grub. The empanadas aren’t dry, with plenty of cheese, “toppings” and sauce inside to warrant not dipping them, but for those that want to coat anything in Ranch dressing, the option is there. The last bite would benefit when you get down to the flaky pastry corners, but otherwise the food items stand up on their own.
As mentioned above, the best part is that every item on the menu tastes like what it’s named after. The chicken and waffles empanada is missing a little sweetness you would typically get from the dish, but the tender chicken mixed with the bready exterior with just the right amount of crisp certainly nods to the classic.
For now, orders are available for pick-up or delivery and can be enjoyed on the tables outside. To order, check out the website and give the chefs 15 minutes to whip up your meal. Then, come back for more.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.