After a run of barely a year, La Empanada Llama will close its current location, a first step toward relocating at another Albany venue. The Peruvian restaurant opened just last summer in space once occupied by the Crestview Deli at 26B Picotte Drive. Its next location will be nearby at 469 Delaware Avenue at Whitehall Road, next door to the Delaware Dollar store. An October 1 reopening is planned.
La Empanada Llama is a bricks-and-mortar version of a food business began by Maria T. Lloyd about 20 years ago as Marie's Peruvian Delights. Lloyd, a native of Peru, began cooking her ethnic dishes for festivals throughout the Capital Region. About five years ago, she began selling them at various local farmer's markets, something she still does.
When her daughter, Andrea, graduated from the University at Albany, mother and daughter decided to open a takeout restaurant, and thus was born La Empanada Llama, complete with a catering service. The Lloyds plan to continue selling at several local farmer's markets during the location transition.
La Empanada Llama's menu specializes in, of course, empanadas -- fried dough pouches filled with everything from meats (such as ground chorizo, shredded chicken, ground beef) to vegetables and cheeses (such as refried beans, spinach and cheese) to dessert-style fillings (such as Nutella and bananas, apple pie, dulce de leche with or without coconut) at just $3 each. Main dishes includes such offerings as Tallarines a la Huancaina, $10.95 (spaghetti with a cheese-based Peruvian sauce), Aji De Gallina, $11.95 (shredded chicken breast cooked with a Peruvian yellow pepper base), and Lomo Saltado, $12.95 (beef stir fry with tomatoes and onions served atop French fries).