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Nonna's Empanadas, Hoping to Open in a Pinch

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Nonna's Empanada's co-owner Graciella V. Boltiansky is nothing but a lady - dignified, precise, graceful - and has been ruling the opening of her new business as such. Her business partner and longtime friend Mario ("just Mario"), comes with restaurant experience from their native Argentina. "I'm Italian, Armenian and Argentinean. And this business is an expression of that," says Mario, "it is Italian. It is Argentinean. It is California." The pair have taken over what was for many years Breadsticks on West Third Street and completely renovated the old building, replacing walls, equipment - not to mention the decor. What was once a run-down Italian cafe is now full of light, pale woods, beige paint, shiny new fixtures, and properly set tables.

"In what other casual restaurant will you get tablecloths like these?" asks Graciella. "We are redefining fast food," she continues. The business model focuses on serving casual, tasty fair in an elegant setting. "The music is very important to me," says Mario, "Charles Aznavour, Astor Piazzolla - this is what we will play."

There is coffee, of course, a full espresso bar, and the espresso is $1.50 per shot. The beverage prices are recession-friendly, compared to what every other cafe on this block is charging.

The empanada, it should be mentioned - along with the taco, the crepe, the samosa, the pasty, etc - is one of those hot foods that are easy to eat anytime, anywhere. A crescent-shaped pastry filled with stewed meat, cheese, vegetables or fruits and then baked, it's savory and filling. So, "redefining" might be a little strong, but since the empanada hasn't yet taken over this particular LA neighborhood, perhaps Nonna's will fill this pocket of LA with an Argentinean classic - all without pinching pockets or pennies. The menu, featuring empanadas for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, prices all empanadas at $2.95 each or less, depending on size. They can also be purchased by the dozen for $20 - $30. There are beef empanadas, stewed with onions and red peppers; ham & cheese pockets; and chicken with onions and jalapeno stuffed into its own pastry shell. Nonna's is also offering bite size sandwiches called Tostinos. Sort of like a mini-panini in combinations like ham & cheese with hearts of palm, tomatoes, red peppers, mortadella or turkey, these are also available by the dozen. "We sell hundreds of these in Argentina," says Graciella, "they are perfect for parties, catering, even weddings." Delivery is also available and they are in the process of setting up an online ordering system. "The important thing to note here," announces Graciella, with Mario nodding behind her, "is that this is a Californian concept. We love LA. So we're bringing the food we love to the city we love."
·EaterWire: Choppe Choppe Now Serving, Nonna's Empanadas Appears [~ELA~]
— Daniela Galarza

Nonna's Empanada's

8570 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

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