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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

The Empanada Shop Opens in Rutherford

By Tracy Leigh

The Empanada Shop has opened in Rutherford and has taken over the old Subway location at 30 Park Avenue. TIR had the opportunity to chat with Joni Caldera, 1 of the 3 owners of the Rutherford location about The Empanada Shop and why they chose Rutherford for their 2nd location.

TIR: Welcome to Rutherford! Tell us more about The Empanada Shop.

Joni Caldera: The Empanada Shop opened our first location at 251B Valley Blvd., Wood-Ridge, NJ on January 19, 2018.  We opened to rave reviews and lines wrapping around the block.  The town was yearning for authentic Latin food at reasonable prices and we knew we could serve delicious, homemade empanadas.  After a successful beginning with empanadas, we decide to expand our menu and began serving rice bowls with pernil, chicken, beef, spinach, or sausage, peppers, & onions as a topping.  Then we added homemade black and red beans, which were a big hit!  Health conscious customers love our fruit smoothies, too.  We have vegetarian options and we offer vegan empanadas as well. Our goal is to serve fresh fast food to meet the needs of any family oriented community.  So many families have two working parents who may commute into the city and then return home to rush their children off to sports or activities.  We wanted to provide a quick option for those families and business people on the go.  We are also very involved in the community, sponsoring sports teams, donating to tricky trays, and hosting end of season parties.  We look forward to being involved in the tight knit community of Rutherford!

TIR: Why did you choose Rutherford as your 2nd location?

JC: Rutherford was an obvious choice.  I had my eye on spaces that were becoming available on Park Avenue for a while.  Once the old Subway space went up for lease I knew it was the perfect location for our 2nd empanada shop.  Our Wood-Ridge location was taking daily deliveries to Rutherford multiple times per day.  We were receiving endless phone calls from Lyndhurst, North Arlington, and even Kearny asking if we would deliver to those locations.  We couldn't meet those demands from the Wood-Ridge shop, but having a shop on Park Ave will allow us to serve Rutherford more quickly as well as the surrounding towns.  Rutherford is very similar to Wood-Ridge in that it is a town of hard working, diverse individuals who take pride in their community.  We are excited to offer homemade Latin food, in a quick service environment, especially on Park Ave.

TIR: What do you admire about Rutherford? 

JC: We love Rutherford!  Nelson and I have 2 sons and one of our sons went to Lightbridge Academy in Rutherford.  My family also frequents the restaurants on Park Ave and we appreciate the bring your own options at the restaurants.  My family also enjoys the Farmer's Market very much.  I am a client at Substance Hair Salon and my family takes frequent trips to the Dairy Queen which brings back childhood memories. We also love taking the train from Rutherford to Hoboken for a nice day out or even into the city when we want a little more adventure.   

The Rutherford Empanada Shop is owned by 3 business partners: Nelson Contreras who is Dominican; Joni Caldera who is Italian; and Laurie Suarez who is Puerto Rican.  The Empanada Shop's original recipes are derived from each of their nationalities.  All of their food is made fresh, on site daily.  Their empanadas are never frozen.  They also offer vegetarian and vegan options.  The Empanada Shop is looking forward to serving the Rutherford community!

The Empanada Shop

30 Park Ave.

Rutherford, NJ 07070



Monday - Saturday 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

Sunday 11:30 am - 4:00 pm

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