What are Argentinian empanadas and how can I taste one?
Empanadas are savory pastries filled with minced beef, chicken, ham and cheese, vegetables and other flavors.
Empanadas are one of Argentina’s most popular dishes and they are available throughout the country. Each region offers different localized flavors and each home will have a particular recipe variation.
Currently, Argentinian empanadas are not available in the Spokane area. If you live in the Spokane area, you would have to drive 3 to 5 hours to get to the closest Argentinian empanadas restaurant (the closest is in Montana).
Spokane has many regional cuisines represented; Japanese, Indian, Thai, Chinese (different regions represented), Middle-eastern, Filipino, German, Italian, and Ethiopian. No Argentinian food is available yet...
We are a family of immigrants from Argentina that ended settling down permanently in the Spokane area. We became US citizens in the Spokane Federal Court in 2014.
We have been cooking empanadas from scratch at home since before we moved to the United States, but even more since relocating to the USA in 2002. Since Argentinian empanadas are a rarity in the U.S., we’ve had to make them from scratch whenever we wanted them.
Our son expressed an interest in opening an Argentinian restaurant in Spokane. To gain first-hand experience in the restaurant business he worked for a couple of years in the kitchens of local restaurants (Sante Restaurant and currently in Italia Trattoria). Our daughter also got a couple of years of experience in front-of-house at local places, working in the Onion Bar and Grill and at Azteca restaurant as a server.
Argentinian cuisine includes a wide variety of dishes, from Argentinian style barbecue to empanadas and many European dishes that come from Spain and Italy.
The idea of bringing Argentinian food to Spokane could not have been possible without Mr. Wok restaurant offering to help Tarascon get started by sharing restaurant space. We could say that Mr. Wok is our first supporter!
We will be located at the "Y" in North Spokane in the local Home Depot parking lot. 9222 N Newport Hwy C Spokane, WA 99218.
By focusing on a single Argentinian food item (empanadas) and having access to a shared restaurant space, we were able to move the timeline of the opening from 5 to 10 years to just 3 to 4 months.
We decided to name the restaurant Tarascon Empanadas. Tarascon is Argentinian slang that would translate as “big bite” or as we want to put it “taking a big bite of food that is too good to eat slowly”.
We have the family manpower and experience to bring this Argentinian delicacy to Spokane.
We only need a couple of last touch-ups and small investments to purchase an oven and some basic items that are not currently available in the restaurant space we’re moving into.
We will be making the empanadas from scratch, using local ingredients and Argentinian culinary techniques. We are planning on starting with 5 different flavors of empanadas and will expand over time.
If you want to participate and help us bring Argentinian empanadas to the area, please consider pledging to this project.
With local support, we will be able to open Tarascon to the public as early as this summer.
We already have a website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and we are also setting up an online ordering system that would allow you to place orders online to pick up later at Tarascon. We are planning on setting delivery options within Spokane once Tarascon opens its doors.
All pledges include the option of showing your name in our founder wall. If you want to keep your pledge private, we will not print your name in the founder wall.
Most pledges include a 10% discount card that will be issued on your name and will provide a 10% discount on all orders for empanadas and drinks placed during the first 6 months of Tarascon operations. The discount card will have the name of the Kickstarter supporter and is not transferable. The name in the discount card needs to match the ID or payment card used when placing or picking up an order.
Each pledge option shown on the side of this Kickstarter campaign shows the detail of items included. The only prize that will be shipped is the T-shirts. All other pledges that include tasting menus, discount cards and/or T-shirts, will be available to pick up at the restaurant, once we open for business. We will post updates once the project is funded.
How many empanadas would a person eat for a meal? It varies widely but we would say that someone would be full after eating 3 to 5 empanadas.
Risks and challenges
- Lack of experience opening a restaurant.
Opening a restaurant could be very challenging. Our family has a lot of experience in opening other kinds of businesses and non-profits. We also have some experience working in restaurants. But our secret weapon is Mr. Wok’s owner. He opened Mr. Wok in North Spokane 28 years ago and is still running, so he will help us through the process of obtaining the business license and permits and completing all paperwork specific to restaurants in Spokane.
- Introducing new foreign food
We know Spokane residents like Sushi, pasta, hamburgers, tacos, etc. But, do they like Argentinian empanadas? Who knows?
We are planning on starting with some original Argentinian empanada classics but will be also introducing some Americanized flavors using the traditional empanada technique mixed with local flavors. Patrons will have the option of going 100% Argentinian or trying more familiar flavors. This is the same approach of other international foods (there are no “California rolls” in Japanese sushi, nor fortune cookies in China)...
- (42 days)