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5 things to know about Boludo, a new empanada spot from Martina’s pastry mastermind

Natalia Mendez

Natalia Mendez

With the new Boludo, Martina alum Facundo De Fraia and Teddy Kordonowy of Lowry Hill Meats have joined forces to bring the flavors of Argentina to south Minneapolis.

After starting with a wildly successful empanada pop-up at Nicollet Open Streets, they’re bringing the hand-held treasures to their own storefront (the space that once housed Birdie). Just in time for the chilling bite of winter—their official grand opening is this Tuesday, November 20—Boludo is poised to keep us all warm with sunny, savory snacks.

We were lucky enough to stumble upon a soft opening last weekend. Here are five things to know before you go.

5.This place is small.
Like, really small—reminiscent of quick-bite, standing-room-only cicchetti joints of Venice. But at Boludo, you have the added benefit of giving your legs a rest: A few stools line the burnished wooden countertop that wraps around the restaurant’s outer edges. Folks may need to give up their standard Minnesotan personal-space bubble in this joint, but it’ll be well worth it. (For those who can’t bring themselves to muster this level of coziness, food can be taken to go.)

4.Gluten-free? Come on in.
Gluten-intolerants are very welcome here, as all empanadas and pizzas can be made gluten-free. Which is great news, because everyone should experience the Peras pizza, topped with creamy, salty, gorgonzola and sweet, mild pears that calm some of the funk from the cheese. Warm, crunchy pine nuts and fragrant dill round out the flavors on what may be my new favorite pie. If funky cheese isn’t your thing, try the Campo: Its chunky tomato sauce plays sweetly with big bites of sausage, and earthy mushrooms will satisfy those looking for more familiar pizza flavors. Thick-flake salt sprinkled on the crust edges ensures that not a single bite will go to waste and adds a lovely texture to your final bites.

Natalia Mendez

Natalia Mendez

3. The chimichurri will blow your mind.
Perfectly bright and acidic, this thin sauce didn’t look like much, but packed a punch of parsley and fatty olive oil that rounded out the dominant flavors in the empanadas we tried. It goes especially well with the mild heat and fragrant spices in the pollo empanada, and you’ll find yourself reaching to spoon some onto each bite for that perfect balance. But the best application for it may be slathering it onto the Argentinean street-food sweetheart: choripán. As the name suggests, choripán lovingly tucks succulent, salty chorizo into house-baked pan (bread, in this case, a baguette).Though it sounds simple, it may sneakily be among the best bites on the menu.

2. These aren’t your average drink selections.
There are Mexican and Argentine imports for imbibing, with word that they will keep a rotating selection. Wine, fernet, tequila, and mezcal will be available as well. An Argentinean signature—the herbaceous Fernet Con Coca (Fernet and Coca-Cola)—will be the sole mixed drink.

1. It’s easy to try it all.
With reasonable prices for the amount of food you get you can easily work your way through the menu—whether that’s a light lunch or a hearty dinner. Grab a few empanadas ($3.50 each), a pizza or two ($9-15), or a salad ($6)—and don’t forget dessert of churro donuts or flan ($5 and $4). I expect this place will be a great option for pre-movie dinner dates or a quick bite with friends before a night out. Heck, you could even make for a nice night in by grabbing a few of their simple, beautifully adorned boxes on your way home.

Boludo
3749 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
612-965-2858, boludoempanadas.com

Natalia Mendez

Natalia Mendez