Empanada & Co. brings unique twist to classic empanadas


Cindy Peterson
 |  For the Daily Commercial

Juan and Beatrice Soto are living the American dream by showcasing their Ecuadorian empanadas at Empanada & Co. in downtown Mount Dora. 

Juan began making his famous empanadas five years ago as a home business, selling them out of the back of his car and giving them to friends and family. The response was so great that, soon, he was getting delivery and catering orders. 

The couple decided to quit their day jobs and open Empanada & Co. in Mount Dora in Jan. 2020, and they are now expanding with a second location in Winter Garden. 

“We took that leap of faith,” Juan said. “I used to give them away at first because I knew if people would just try them, they would buy three more. People really loved them, especially with the different fillings I make. My very first one was chicken and cheese and it just expanded from there.”

Juan makes all the dough and fillings himself, and hand-makes every one to ensure each empanada is perfect. 

“We did pretty well despite the pandemic,” Juan said. “We survived on a lot of to-go orders. Mount Dora has been very good to me and my wife and our empanadas. People love them.”

The restaurant, located inside the Mount Dora Marketplace, offers more than 30 varieties of their signature empanadas with very unique flavors and fillings. 

Under the chicken section, they offer chicken and cheese, spinach chicken Alfredo, chicken and spinach, chicken bacon ranch, BBQ chicken, chicken cordon bleu and chicken stew. 

For beef, they offer ropa vieja, picadillo, beef onion mushroom, bacon cheese burger, beef or chop cheese. 

For pork, they offer BBQ pork, Cubano, Hawaiian, ham and cheese, maduro bacon queso and baked corn. 

Veggie empanadas include spinach and queso, broccoli and queso, onion and queso, maduro and queso, queso fresco, black bean corn feta, spinach artichoke and queso and smoked gouda and mushroom. 

They even have dessert empanadas including strawberries and cream, guava and queso, banana Nutella queso, apple cinnamon and pumpkin cheesecake. 

Empanadas are $3.50. A selection of them are hot and ready and any others can be heated and ready in 15 minutes. They also sell them frozen for people to take home and enjoy later. They are also available for delivery. 

Don’t forget to grab one of their signature homemade sauces for dipping which include green chile tomatillo (green mild sauce), Ecuadorian hot sauce (orange), cilantro garlic mayo (light green) or mayo ketchup (pink sauce). 

Empanada & Co., 334 N Donnelly St. in Mount Dora, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit https://www.empanadaandco.com/



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