Tag Archives: world empanadas

You Can Now Have a Seat at World Empanadas

Editors Note: This is a followup to the original story by Maria Hsin which you can read HERE.

Customers walking into World Empanadas on Magnolia Boulevard may have noticed they are now able to sit down while they wait for their order, or consume the empanadas on site.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“People really like the tables and chairs, they’re so happy,” said owner Liz Hirtz, who runs the business with her two sons and husband. “A whole family will come in, and the kids draw on the board. It’s a good thing.”

As of Oct. 1, World Empanadas was able to bring back their indoor seating, and their application for outdoor seating was approved, Hirtz said.

Hirtz, her two sons and husband, who hails from Argentina, opened World Empanadas in May 2012 on Victory Boulevard. Hirtz is from Mexico and came to the U.S. when she was six.

By November 2014, the demand for their empanadas had grown such that Hirtz was transporting the Argentine staple in warmers to the current restaurant on Magnolia.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Magnolia location did not have a full kitchen, and there was only a permit for it to operate as a retail location. In February, the family closed the Magnolia shop to renovate it and have a fully-functioning restaurant.

“It was too crazy,” Hirtz said of transporting the food from one site to the other.

After the remodel, filing the necessary paperwork with the city and about $70,000 to comply with city codes, Hirtz and her family thought their headaches were over and they could now focus on running the business.

Her contractor was informed that before opening, the restaurant would need to create one handicap parking spot, leaving her with a total of four parking spots, Hirtz said. The last step in the process for them was a license from the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and on May 5, World Empanadas was open for business again.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Then, in June, the business received some news from code enforcement that there was a violation, and all seating was to be removed in four days, Hirtz said.

World Empanadas apparently needed 17 parking spots, based on the size of the restaurant. Hirtz was told she could fill out additional paperwork for a special permit to operate as is.

It cost her about $1050.

Her was told last month that now that the city had received her paperwork, neighboring businesses within 1,000 feet of World Empanadas would have an opportunity to comment on the special permit the restaurant may be granted. Hirtz was informed she could have an answer as to whether she may install tables and chairs by mid October, and then was told she needed a permit for the outdoor seating.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Looking back on the last few months, Hirtz referred to the difficulties as a hiccup, and offered some advice.

“There are days you feel overwhelmed and like you could really drown in a glass of water,” she said. “We leased this place back in November of last year. There was nothing. Just a shell. We wanted to bring empanadas here. It’s been less than a year, we’ve been able to get a hood in there and open up a restaurant. I think we were very lucky. I would just tell anybody that you need to be really persistent and ask questions before you do anything. Don’t be discouraged, because the limits are your own.”

World Empanadas – World of Confusion Dealing With City Codes

World Empanadas, a tiny, pick-up only restaurant, opened on Victory Boulevard, in an unlikely spot.

Patrons walked past a liquor store, into a 400-square-foot room, to pick up or place an order for empanadas.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

For the uninitiated, empanadas are breaded pastries baked or sometimes fried, and stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including meat, cheese or vegetables. They are thought to have originated in Spain, and are common to Latin America, Portugal and the Caribbean, among other places.

“My son is a chef,” said Rosalia “Lia” Hirtz. “When he graduated from culinary school, I thought, ‘Hey do you want to do this?’ Everything just happened. The liquor store gave us a few months free rent.”

Hirtz, her two sons and husband, who hails from Argentina, opened World Empanadas in May 2012. Hirtz is from Mexico and came to the U.S. when she was six.

By November 2014, the demand for their empanadas had grown such that Hirtz was transporting the Argentine staple in warmers to a second, larger location on Magnolia Boulevard.

The Magnolia location did not have a full kitchen, and there was only a permit for it to operate as a retail location. By February, the family closed the Magnolia shop to renovate it and have a fully-functioning restaurant.

“It was too crazy,” Hirtz said of transporting the food from one site to the other.

After selecting a contractor, creating plans and taking them to the city for approval, and fixing what the contractor initially installed incorrectly, the plans were approved, Hirtz said.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Her contractor was informed that before opening, the restaurant would need to create one handicap parking spot, leaving her with a total of four parking spots, Hirtz said.

“I did not have a business in the food industry before, I was very naive,” Hirtz said. “I figured the contractor had done all that was needed.”

Hirtz said the last step in the process for them was a license from the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and on May 5, World Empanadas was open for business again.

“People start coming, it’s great,” Hirtz said.

Then, in June, the business received some news.

“Code enforcement said there was a violation, and we had to remove all the seating and tables in four days,” Hirtz said. “We were not in compliance.”

World Empanadas apparently needed 17 parking spots, based on the size of the restaurant. Hirtz was told she could fill out additional paperwork for a special permit to operate as is.

It cost her about $1050.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hirtz removed all the tables and chairs, except for one table that is pushed up against a wall, where she discusses catering needs with clients.

All the people that came in for lunch, all the studio employees who came in and doodled on the eatery’s chalkboards were lost when the seating was removed, Hirtz said.

“What about the front street?” Hirtz said about additional parking. “This is not a sit-down place where you sit for hours. It’s a quick lunch, and then people leave.”

The city process is intimidating for the average person, Hirtz said, adding that she spent about $70,000 to comply with all of the necessary city codes.

“I’m not sure if it’s only Burbank, but I don’t know that I would do this again,” she said. “There is not a clear road map. The city should talk to business owners, make sure nobody takes advantage of them. Make the process easier and friendlier.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Now that the city has received Hirtz’s paperwork, neighboring businesses within 1,000 feet of World Empanadas will have an opportunity to comment on the special permit the restaurant may be granted. Hirtz could have an answer as to whether she may install tables and chairs by mid October.

While she acknowledges the learning curve with the contractor, Hirtz said she is really upset that the process has taken this long.

“I felt the city didn’t care if I opened a business here or not,” Hirtz said.

Marissa Minor, an economic development analyst in the city’s economic development department, said that while classes are not offered to new business owners or those wanting to start a business, her department does meet with interested business owners and property managers individually. They are then taken to the permitting counter, and upstairs to licenses and code, and walked through the entire process. Anyone can receive those services by contacting the department, she added.

Hirtz was not aware of any assistance for business owners, and said she felt it was extremely difficult to get help with what she needed.

Carol Barrett, assistant director of the planning division, said last week the frustrations Hirtz experienced were due to paperwork being filed incorrectly.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Here’s what I understand: she filled out an application for a business, identified it as carry out and opened the business with tables and chairs,” Barrett said. “There was a complaint to the city about this. We have a process that requires notification of neighbors in order to grant approval for a business to open if they don’t have the parking that code requires and they are a small business. There are fees associated with that. I think [Hirtz] was not happy with how that process worked.”

The city does not plan to take any enforcement action since Hirtz has applied for what the city calls an Administrative Use Permit, Barrett said.

“We are happy to work with people,” Barrett said. “Not everyone understands the system.”

Indicating the restaurant would be carry out, without any tables and chairs, and then opening with tables and chairs is significant, as that is part of how the city determines how much parking is needed, Barrett said.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I don’t think there was any malevolence, it was just a misunderstanding,” Barrett said. “We are working with the applicant to make it possible to have tables and chairs.”

Hirtz said that yes, she originally indicated the restaurant would be carry out, and that is why she was transporting empanadas from the Victory location to the larger, more desirable location on Magnolia. When that became too difficult, Hirtz said they went back to the city and submitted plans for a restaurant with a full kitchen.

“We submitted the plans and thought since we were turning it into a restaurant with a full kitchen, everything was in order,” Hirtz said. “Nobody said anything about seating and parking.”

Although the city did mention the handicap parking, Hirtz said.

“I felt we could have avoided all this,” Hirtz said. “Yes, it was my own ignorance that we didn’t file differently, but no one at the city mentioned it to us [at the time].”

When asked why Hirtz wasn’t informed about the need for 17 parking spots when she was informed about the handicap parking, Barrett said: “I can’t answer why someone in the city who reviewed the parking plan can’t give information on zoning. I wouldn’t know about that.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Barrett said the “logical thing to do” was for the owner to contact the city when she changed her mind about how she was going to run the business.

Initially Barrett said the public works department would have made the determination about the handicap parking, and that public works doesn’t address zoning issues.

“You can talk to the director of public works about what they’re supposed to do,” Barrett said, adding that in her 40 years of experience, public works doesn’t discuss zoning.

Barrett amended her statement to say that if the parking is located in the back alley, then it would be the responsibility of public works. If the parking is in the back, accessed by the alley, that would have been licenses and codes that made the determination about handicap parking.

In that case, would Barrett concede the process could be confusing to new business owners?

“I would say a lot of people went through this process and were not confused about it,” Barrett said. “In the view of this business owner, she is frustrated by how this turned out. A lot of others came in, in similar circumstances, and it was clear and they worked on it, and they’re open today, and they’re successful.”

Barrett added: “She has a certain perspective; she’s been talking to a lot of people about her perspective.”

Customers have asked Hirtz if they are able to sit at the table, and what happened to the other tables and chairs, and Hirtz said she’s had to explain her situation.

“We have gotten a lot of community support,” Hirtz said, adding that phone orders and catering requests have picked up, and that many people walk to the restaurant from the surrounding neighborhood.

Hirtz gave the city a document with 300 signatures that support their request for seating when she submitted her permit in June. An online petition also has signatures, and Hirtz said there are more signatures at the restaurant that she has not submitted.

The idea originated with one of her regulars, Hirtz said.

As she waits, Hirtz is also looking into installing a bike rack. Some of her roughly 1,300 Facebook followers may appreciate that.

World Empanadas Holds Ribbon Cutting Today

Showing off the new location with customer seating available and a menu full of delicious goodies, Chef Matthew Hirtz invites all patrons to join him along with his mother Lia and father Carlos for an official ‘Ribbon Cutting’ this afternoon at 5:00 p.m.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos will be on hand along with other elected officials and a full range of Burbank Chamber of Commerce members.

The menu has grown to include a healthy side of items including gluten-free Empanadas.

Located at 1206 W. Magnolia Blvd., the ribbon cutting will take place at 5:00 p.m. and everyone is encouraged to come by.

MyBurbank.com has done a couple of reviews and they have been rated “Tops In Town” which qualifies as an outstanding rating by our food critic.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Here is a link to our previous posts: https://myburbank.com/?p=45816 and when they opened on Victory Blvd. back in 2013: https://myburbank.com/?p=30675

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

World Empanadas New Location Adds Dimension To Magnolia Park

World Empanadas opened the doors to their new location in Magnolia Park on May 5, marking a new chapter in the young Burbank restaurant’s life. Chef Matthew Hirtz continues his exciting experiments with flavor and ingredient combinations for savory and sweet empanada recipes.

We first shouted World Empanada’s praises nearly one-and-a-half years ago, just a few months after the Argentinian-style empanada and sandwich shop opened in the back of a Victory Boulevard liquor store in 2013. In the time since, the growing popularity of the restaurant and catering business has prompted the move to new digs with seating for eat-in customers.

World Empanadas opens new location on Magnolia Boulevard. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

World Empanadas opens new location on Magnolia Boulevard. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

New regular items have been added to the menu and operating hours extended, too, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vegan and gluten-free options are available, along with breakfast burritos and empanadas and a new steak sandwich.

World Empanadas continues to provide homemade salsas and chimichurris for added moistness and flavor, including a new favorite, a creamy, spicy, green tomatillo salsa.

World Empanadas makes a tasty Chicken Milanese sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

World Empanadas makes a tasty Chicken Milanese sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Chicken Milanese sandwich continues to be a family favorite, with its scrumptious and slightly piquant creamy aioli spread. The Pinto Bean & Brown Rice, Quinoa & Lentils and Spicy Chile Con Carne are recent finds. We continue to enjoy the Crab Empanada special, dessert empanadas and the solid standbys of Beef, Spinach, Ham & Cheese and Creamy Corn.

World Empanadas makes tasty breakfast burritos, filled with eggs, bacon or chorizo, potato and cheese. Or, jump right into the day and order a burrito with one of the standard menu empanada fillings. You’ll be happy you did.

Savory and sweet empanadas fill World Empanadas display case. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Savory and sweet empanadas fill World Empanadas display case. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Hirtz, along with his parents Carlos and Lia, runs World Empanadas with a creative flair and familiar touch. The new Magnolia Park location also showcases a collection of yerba mate gourds and cups along with silver bombillas or straw strainers. Instead of a soda, try an Argentinian mate with your next empanada.

Restaurant Info: World Empanadas is located at 1206 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA  91506. 818-934-1820. Open Monday – Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays.

World Empanadas receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

World Empanadas Combines Exciting Flavors For A Hearty Burst Of Deliciousness

World Empanadas has been operating for over a year as a take-out spot in the rear of a liquor store at the corner of S. Victory Blvd. and W. Providencia Avenue. This little shop has the best empanadas around, from the standard flavors of beef, corn, spinach and cheese, to more exciting combinations including fresh crab, chile relleno, chicken marsala, fajitas and pulled pork. The empanada dough is not too heavy or greasy or too abundant, but rather, just right.

Chicken Milanesa sandwich and a Chicken Marsala empanada special are brightened with some fresh pico de gallo and chimmichurri. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chicken Milanese sandwich and a Chicken Marsala empanada special are brightened with some fresh pico de gallo and chimichurri. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

With changing weekend specials, more options for lunch and a newly added breakfast menu, World Empanadas does more than just make spectacular empanadas. The Chicken Milanese sandwich is out-of-this-world good, joining lighted breaded tenderized chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, melted cheese and a flavorful, garlicky spread in a soft roll. Chicken tortilla soup, a chorizo sandwich and a Chicken Milanese salad are also available for the lunch menu.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chicken Milanese sandwich next to a several different empanadas – the varying shapes and marks on the empanada exterior help tell the various kinds apart. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The breakfast menu includes burritos, muffins, cinnamon buns and coffee. It’s more for the late riser or a mid-morning bite, since the shop doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m.

Started by young chef and Le Cordon Bleu graduate Matthew Hirtz, who gets some help from his parents Lia and Carlos, World Empanadas is known for baking, not frying, the empanadas, which leads to a fresher, lighter taste. The creative combinations of ingredients and flavors shines here. Hirtz is not afraid to try some pretty wild recipes sometimes – which usually turn out exceptionally well.

Corn empanada and Beef empanda. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Corn empanada and Beef empanda. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Because World Empanadas is a true mom and pop take-out restaurant in every sense of the word, we have found it’s better to call in our order ahead of time. That way, if the staff is very busy, we have a better idea of how long it may take to make our order. It’s not unusual for the shop to run out of popular items before closing. Sometimes the order taking is a bit hit and miss, and sometimes it takes a while to make the Milanese sandwich – which is okay, because it’s so delicious and worth the wait.

All the ingredients used are so fresh and the resulting creations are bites of deliciousness. World Empanadas often have a dessert empanada special; the recent Chocolate Gelato empanada was absolute perfection. Cool, softening chocolate gelato (from Ciao Cristina’s supplier) fills a flaky pastry topped with hardened chocolate. One-half of this dessert empanada is plenty for one sitting!

Chocolate gelato dessert empanada. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chocolate gelato dessert empanada. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

This coming weekend, in celebration of the Super Bowl, World Empanadas is offering two specials. Inspired by the Denver Broncos, the shop is offering a pulled pork, green chile, pinto bean and veggie empanada. For the Seattle Seahawks, the chefs are making the longtime-favorite, fresh lump crab meat empanada with tomato-mayo, veggies and cilantro.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

World Empandas’ website and Facebook page list their upcoming specials weekly. We have eaten from this restaurant regularly for over a year and the place continues to wow our family, young and old, with consistently good food and exciting specials.

World Empanadas gets a Tops In Town for elevating the basic empanada and sandwich to new levels and is always a popular choice for a delicious, easy meal for the whole family.

Restaurant Info: World Empanadas is located at 529 S. Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA  91502. 818-934-1820. Open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sundays.

World Empanadas receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)