Fast Food Review: Mama's Empanadas in Queens

Everyone knows that New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Consequently you will find one of the most vibrant and diverse food cultures in the world, especially in the borough of Queens. Most people know Queens as the home of the perpetually struggling New York Mets and the borough where Doug and Carrie live (King of Queens), where George Costanza's parents live and celebrate Festivus (Seinfeld) and more recently where Betty Suarez lived (Ugly Betty). If Manhattan has au pairs to take care of the kids, the families of Queens have Grandma or Nana or Babcia or Yaya or put your non-English language for Grandma here. You can practically find a restaurant from any country in the world here -- and it won't be fancy, the restaurants are simpler with the emphasis on tasty, traditional meals like you would get from mama's kitchen. In the case of Mama's Empanada's, Mama obviously made some very tasty meat pies or empanadas in Spanish.

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Storefront on Roosevelt AvenueA pair of empanadas with green chili sauceBeef empanadas with bits of potatoChicken empanadas with bits of potato and carrots
Storefront on Roosevelt Avenue
Storefront on Roosevelt Avenue
A pair of empanadas with green chili sauce
A pair of empanadas with green chili sauce
Beef empanadas with bits of potato
Beef empanadas with bits of potato
Chicken empanadas with bits of potato and carrots
Chicken empanadas with bits of potato and carrots
A marker76-17 Roosevelt Avenue -
76-17 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372, USA
[get directions]

Mama's Empanadas

But these are not just any meat pies. These are meat pies via the Dominican Republic which means the dough is made from corn flour and the meat is shredded beef mixed with potatoes and onions and garlic. Then it is deep fried in very hot oil and what you have in front of you is a golden half moon of crisp goodness. It is not at all greasy. When you first bite into a Mama's empanada, you'll experience the crisp that comes from the deep frying and then you sink your teeth into into the pillowy soft beef and potato filling which make for a satisfying chewing experience. I like to slather salsa verde on my empanada to give it more kick. If you like a more piquant taste, the red chili sauce is also popular.

But the beef empanadas are not the only type available, there is chicken, cheese, vegetable, chorizo (spanish sausage) and so many others - Mama's Empanadas claims there are 50 varieties (try the Hawaiian which is ham, cheese, and pinapple!). And if you don't like corn flour dough, the empanadas also come in a wheat flour version, just ask for it. If you are more cholesterol conscious, baked empanadas are also available -- again just ask for it.

This is a very filling and popular snack. There's always a line, especially late at night, when partyers leave the dance clubs on the avenue and look for a late night place to eat. And it's cheap. Take the the 7 to 74th St. or E, F, R, M lines to Roosevelt Avenue and walk one block.  Two empanada's and a can of soda will set you back $2.50. What New Yorker doesn't like a bargain?

This article is part of the HubPages Marks the Spot contest hmtswk1.

Other Locations

  • 85-05 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights. This is Mama's original location.
  • 91-20 59th Avenue near the Queens Mall. This locations is really convenient when I go shopping there.
  • 42-18 Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside.  This is their newest location.

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Comments 2 comments

E. A. Wright profile image

E. A. Wright 6 years ago from New York City

They have two other locations in Queens, right?

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi EA Wright, yes the originial Mama's Empanadas is on Northern Boulevard and 86th St. I just find this location a lot more convenient.

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