Argentinian restaurant expands to provide cultural experiences.
Keeping a business open under the best of circumstances is challenging. Add in a pandemic, and you have a recipe for revenue reduction and even closure. For Minnetonka’s DelSur Empanadas, it tangoed its way into enlarging the restaurant and offering cultural experiences.
After three years in operation, DelSur expanded its original location into the adjoining space to provide immersive experiences and accommodate more diners. Featuring a new dining area, a patio and a larger kitchen, DelSur offers space for customers to experience different aspects of Argentinian culture.
“More than just making it a part of our business, we are just promoting aspects of our culture and introducing something else about Argentina to the community,” says Diego Montero, co-owner. “We are featuring more things of our culture from the music, the sports and having the space for people to gather. It is all super exciting and rewarding.”
Launching the business online in 2014, fellow Argentine Nicolas Nikolov and Montero began selling empanadas and Argentinian comfort food to close friends and family. An appreciative following developed, so they upgraded in 2016 to a food truck that operated out of local breweries, which lead to the opening of the first brick-and-mortar location in Minnetonka in 2018. A second location opened this summer at The Market at Malcom Yards in Minneapolis.
With the larger footprint, DelSur hopes to offer tango performances and dance classes, to be taught by professional instructors. As the soul of Argentinian culture and a common social activity, the tango at its root is a style of music that is typically accompanied by dance.
If there is another Argentinian passion that rivals the tango, it might be football (soccer). In any culture, food brings people together, and sports can, as well. Fostering a sense of community, DelSur’s new event space is home to a variety of watch-party gatherings. In addition to viewing in-season matches for La Selección (also known as La Albiceleste), Argentina’s national team,
DelSur also plans to host World Cup events (next is in 2022). For those who love one of the United States’ most-watched sports, football (American), it also plans to host Super Bowl parties.
Savor the Flavor
As a traditional Argentinian comfort food, the empanada is a tasty and convenient treat that is comparable to an Italian calzone. Translating to “wrapped in dough,” this South American staple consists of a pocket of baked or fried pastry that is stuffed with a variety of savory fillings, including meat and vegetables.
Priding itself in sourcing fresh, authentic cuisine, DelSur bakes its empanadas to keep them light in texture and adhere to true home-cooked flavor. “There are not many Argentinian places, so there is uniqueness not only for the food itself because it is not something that you find on every corner, but also we make everything from scratch and in-house,” Montero says.
Staying true to the traditional process of creating these tasty handhelds, Montero says that they like to get creative with the varieties of fillings for an elevated twist on classic Argentinian flavors. Regularly offering 15 (8-10 at a time) varieties, DelSur rotates in two features every other week (Fridays and Saturdays) as a way to experiment with trends in modern cuisine (such as the breakfast or BBQ chicken empanadas) and introduce new flavors that coincide with the seasons.
The most popular (and traditional) order is a beef empanada, which is inspired by the flavors of the Argentinian province of Salta, located in the northwest of the country. Seasoned to perfection, this variation features hand-cut steak, onions, red peppers, potatoes, scallions and green olives.
If meat isn’t for you, don’t fret! DelSur offers a plant-based beef option that is sourced from The Herbivorous Butcher, a family-owned vegan market in Minneapolis. Stuffed with vegan meat, onions, scallions, red peppers and potatoes, this alternative to traditional fillings still packs an authentic punch.
In addition to empanadas, DelSur offers a selection of Argentinian-inspired sandwiches, salads and desserts. Consider the Choripan. Combining the Spanish words “chorizo,” meaning sausage, and “pan,” meaning bread, the Choripan is a show-stopping sandwich, which is common in Argentina. Using house-made sausage as its base, DelSur drizzles the sandwich with chimichurri sauce (comparable to a pesto made up of fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and chilis) and chimichurri mayo on top of freshly-baked bread.
Craving beef? Order the Lomito. Translating to “little tenderloin,” the Lomito is a steak sandwich at its core. Served on fresh-baked bread, it features filet mignon, lettuce, tomatoes, ham, cheese, house-made chimichurri mayo and a fried egg, if desired.