South Florida foodies who like salty, sweet, and savory all at once are in for a treat.
This month, Miami-born Half Moon Empanadas expanded into Broward County with its newest location in Pembroke Pines located inside the Misha’s Cupcakes at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens. The new store is a special project from Half Moon co-founder Pilar Guzman Zavala, who says she decided to open side-by-side with the shop — also helmed by a fellow woman entrepreneur — as an opportunity to collaborate.
After nearly a year of challenges due to Covid-19, Miami-born Half Moon Empanadas beat all odds and continued to grow through South Florida with the grand opening of the brand's 11th location inside Jackson Memorial Hospital in May 2021. And the empanada giant doesn’t plan on stopping its expansion plans anytime soon. The new Pembroke Pines location is the first store in Broward County, with many more on the horizon.
Hungry? The Pembroke Pines location will be celebrating its grand opening on August 28, 2021, with a 12-hour celebration and free empanadas. To secure your free empanada, make sure to reserve your spot by clicking this link, and selecting a time slot from 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. The giveaway is limited to one empanada per person present, until supplies last.
Today, Half Moon Empanadas is beloved for its fresh — never frozen — artisanal take on the oven-baked pastry. The company was founded in 2008 by Pilar and her husband, Juan, who came up with the concept of Americanizing the famous Argentinian empanada. Together, the duo opened their first location in Miami Beach where they aimed to compete with takeout-centered restaurants that focused on pizza, burgers, and various fast-casual eats.
"It wasn't until we participated at a street food festival and quickly sold-out of all our empanadas that we realized we needed to change their selling strategy," says Pilar.
Soon after, the couple began selling Half Moon Empanadas via a cart stand at a college campus, and quickly perfected their new on-the-go strategy.
Fast forward to today, and Half Moon Empanadas has become a staple in the South Florida community, serving up their baked treats at more than a dozen locations. The empanadas are available at retail locations in like the Miami International Airport, the University of Miami, Florida International University, MIMO, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and the Miami Convention Center. They even have their very own grab-and-go retail window — or ventanita — in true Miami fashion.
Pilar will tell you each empanada is made from scratch using artisanal dough and fresh ingredients, available with a range of sweet and savory flavors. And while these empanadas are proudly Argentinian, they're also made with a hint of Mexican flair to represent Pilar’s Mexican roots.
The menu includes an array of empanadas ranging from traditional beef, spinach, or ham and cheese to breakfast bacon, egg, and cheese empanadas and sweet, dessert-like treats including a Nutella-filled or dulce de leche empanada. Each are sold individually, but are also available in packs of 6, 12, or 24 empanadas. The menu also includes coffee, teas, and soft drinks.
"Not only are they delicious, but they are also a healthier alternative to most of the fried empanadas we are accustomed to here in South Florida," says Pilar.