Empanola Biloxi is one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s newest restaurants and it has a concept like no other. It’s a very cool combination of coffee shop, café, and specialty eatery. It’s only been open a few weeks (the original location is on Magazine Street in New Orleans) and it has that crisp, new feel, enhanced with a black ceiling, tan wood floors, and walls that are blue with lots of bright graphics (I really liked the head of garlic!).
Empanola is a great place to bring your laptop and get some work done, while sipping a specialty coffee, café style. There are more than a dozen hot coffees and teas and six iced drinks, that includes everything from espresso, cappuccino to a café au lait.
There is also a salad bar and a good handful of house-made soups, like red beans and andouille, shrimp and corn bisque, Cajun crawfish boil, and crawfish etouffee. But what this place is all about are the homemade empanadas. I counted more than a dozen on my visit and was told the best sellers are the Beef Argentina (ground beef, peppers, onions, olives, and eggs), ham and queso (ham, Havarti, mozzarella, cream cheese, and nutmeg), and spinach and artichoke (spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan, Havarti, and mozzarella).
If you didn’t know, empanadas come to us from Galicia, Spain and are believed to have Moorish influence (the Moors invaded Spain 711 to 1492). The first mention of empanadas was in a cookbook from 1520. They became so popular, the idea of a pastry filled with savory or sweet filling, very much like a fried turnover, that they became popular all over southern Europe and Latin America.
If you are in the mood for breakfast, check out the breakfast empanada, made with scrambled eggs, bacon, parmesan, and bechamel sauce. Yum! You also have the choice of a plain croissant, or chocolate drizzle, and a muffin. If you have a sweet tooth, there are four choices: tres leches cake, tiramisu, banana foster empanada, and an apple pecan empanada.
The first Empanola opened in 2017 in New Orleans on Magazine Street, with the idea of offering Latin inspired and Louisiana influenced empanadas, a unique idea that is proving to be very popular. Stop by for a quick breakfast, lunch or take out for dinner.