Cafe Society

Eureka! A second Empanada Grill will open next week in the Berkeley 'hood

Ramon Campos, who owns Empanada Express Grill in Golden, stands in front of a dwarfed storefront at 4301 West 44th Avenue, a former Mexican joint that will soon become Empanada Grill, Campos's second Venezuelan restaurant. "It's in really bad shape, but we're working very, very hard to get it ready," says Campos, peering through the windows and shaking his head. "We wanted to open on Friday, but there's no way that's going to happen, given what we still need to get done."

Instead, the space, which will seat thirty, maybe forty, will open sometime next week, promises Campos, who will also continue to hold down the fort at the Golden store, which opened last September, after Campos ditched his freestanding trailer to unmask a brick-and-mortar joint at 2600 East Street. "The Golden location is doing well, but it's a long way from downtown, and not everyone wants to drive to Golden," Campos admits. "I picked this location because of its proximity to downtown and the fact that this area has a lot of young people -- and young people like to try new things."

When Empanada Grill opens, it will hustle the same menu as the Golden location and keep the same hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Campos is also working on securing a liquor license -- something the Golden joint doesn't have.

And once he gets the new space up and running, Campos will turn to pimping his terrific empanadas, arepas and cachapas from the pavement. "I'm looking for a truck, which I hope I'll have by next summer," he says.

The more trucks, the merrier.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson