BUFFALO, N.Y. - A restaurant that aims to be the "Baskin and Robbins of empanadas" left its mark on Buffalo's west side long before serving up its first flaky turnover.
A check of Google street view shows the dramatic change the century old former social club on the corner of Herkimer and West Ferry streets went through onthe way to becoming La Gourmet Empanadas.
Miami native Hector Gonzalez rehabilitated the building over the past two years with partner and chef Jeff Harris, a Hawaiian who adds his creative touch to the quickly growing menu.
"Most people do pastelitos and empanadas as just beef and chicken," Harris says. "We have a wide variety of empanadas that we want you to come and try. We want to create 40 different empanadas by the end of summer."
The restaurant is already well on the way to that goal- alongside the traditional offerings of beef, pork, and chicken, there are savory favorites like buffalo chicken pizza and pulled pork, vegetarian selections including black bean, and seafood offerings including salmon. There's also a long list of dessert options tossed in brown sugar, like cherry cheesecake and pineapple upside-down cake. And all come with dipping sauces, a way Harris adds another special touch to the recipes.
The restaurant itself is finished with a few seats, but mostly serves take-out customers. The funds are helping finish the ongoing transformation of the building, including a large banquet hall and performance space.
La Gourmet Empanadas
74 Herkimer St.
Buffalo, NY 14213
Mon-Sat: 11am - 9pm