Second Friday happens this week in downtown Mesa; the night when folks flock to the street looking for art and camaraderie and maybe some really amazing empanadas. Fortunately, you can now find all three since the opening of República Empanada off of 1st Avenue and Hibbert.
In fact, it was just last month on Second Friday when we ran into a couple cool cats walking along Main Street who told us about República Empanada and suggested we check it out. One month (and countless empanadas) later, we’re here to say “thank you” publicly and share with the rest of you this secret gem tucked into the heart of Mesa.
República Empanada offers pan-Latin cuisine centered around South American savory empanadas. The Cubana (slow roasted pork, ham, mozzarella, and dill pickle) and the Pernil (slow-roasted, specially seasoned pork) have proven to be personal favorites. Vegetarians can indulge their empanada cravings as well with both a Bean & Cheese and an Achiote Potato option.
For those of you that like to keep it closer to home when it comes to cuisine, a Cheeseburger empanada or even a Tuna Melt option offer delicious acculturated versions for the burgeoning empanada fan. And, if you’re not feeling in an empanada mood, República Empanada’s menu hosts several alternatives like their Black Bean Salad or Arroz Con Pollo (a house speciality).
Make sure you save room for a sweet dessert empanada. Interesting regional combinations like the Fig Cheese & Caramel or the Guava & Cheese empanada await adventurous diners. Ruiz’s Pieces (peanut butter and nutella) might make you skip dinner entirely and head straight for the dessert menu.
Dessert is not always an option especially if you opt into the traditional appetizer selections, and I highly recommend you do so. Yuca Fritas (cassava fries served with crema and cilantro jalapeno ranch) and Maduros (sweet plantains served with crema) are my two favorites and I have willingly forsaken dessert for the Combo Caribe: a combo platter with Yuca Fritas, Maduros, and Tostones.
Stop by República Empanada for your fix before joining the Second Friday festivities. This month is Steampunk themed so expect some awesomely attired attendants. To view República Empanada’s complete menu, check out their website here.