5411 Empanadas is one of the fastest growing restaurant groups in the city. Named after the international dialing code for Buenos Aires, the group first opened in 2009 with a quality product and making deliveries to local Chicago businesses. That led to an incredibly successful food truck and their first physical location, which opened in 2012. Today– 5411 Empanadas has four locations in Chicago, one in Miami, and likely many more on the way. We were welcomed at their 2045 W. Avenue location in Wicker Park to try their tasty baked empanadas.
5411 Empanadas is a mixture of a tapas restaurant and fast casual. It’s a small shop with a little over a dozen seats, a small bar area, and a counter where you order. The restaurant is very cleanly laid out with warm woods and lighting. Everything feels very precise, particularly the bar’s backdrop of evenly laid out, uniform bottles. 5411 Empanadas isn’t stuffy either as evident by its chalkboard menu and fun diagrams of the empanadas that help you differentiate each by shape. The best touch, though, is a wall dedicated fully to a photograph of their food truck. It’s a beautiful photo that fits their classy look while showing off their origins.
There’s an unwritten rule it seems that every restaurant in Wicker Par has to serve booze whether it’s an actual bar, Starbucks, or even a Taco Bell. 5411 Empanadas has a small selection of wines, beers, and cocktails that doesn’t disappoint. Particularly strong is their selection of local Chicago craft beers from familiar faces like Revolution Brewing and Half Acre.
I started off the night with their featured cocktail:
Fernet and Coke.
Fernet is a digestive that’s like a more palatable Malort, but still tastes like sweet, unholy death that even coke can’t tame.
However, it was just the thing I needed to wake me up from my post-work slumber and get ready for some tasty empanadas.
Each empanada has the same baked crust that’s just about perfect—crisp on first bite, but soft and chewy on the second. You order each individually. They’re $2.50 per empanada, and I’d say you want at least four if you’re hungry. The empanadas are easy to cut and share, so I’d recommend trying a bunch and splitting among friends. Chimichurri and Red Hot sauces are available on the side; while the Red Hot lives up to its name, I think the Chimichurri had the best balance of spice and flavor.
Though Argentinean influenced, 5411 Empanadas has a big variety of ingredients to get stuffed inside– from twists on classic breakfast like the bacon, cheddar & egg, to a to-die-for banana Nutella empanada, with other interesting flavors like ratatouille and sweet corn in the middle.
I had many favorites like the chorizo & patatas bravas (chorizo and potatoes is a savory dream for your mouth), ham & cheese, and the mushroom thyme & blue cheese, there can only be one winner. And that was the bacon, dates & goat cheese empanada. It’s an awesome combination of sweet and savory with contrasting textures. There’s the sweet, stickiness of the dates, the creamy goat cheese, and the chewier bacon—combined with the crisp, flaky crust—all coming together for a perfect treat for your mouth.
5411 Empanadas Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite from a food truck steps from your office or for a casual, yet still intimate, dinner in your neighborhood– 5411 Empanadas succeeds. They offer better quality ingredients than you’d find at any big chain fast food store at affordable prices with lots of local flavor. And whether you’re in the mood for a comfort food, need something spicy and savory, or have a sweet tooth to satisfy– you’re going to be happy you stopped by 5411 Empanadas.
2045 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647