Technically, pepperoni pizza and Lo-mein are not originally from the United States (what is American, really? Turkey and cranberry jam?) Yet, nothing has become more quintessentially American than eating a slice of pizza at 3am after a night out on the town or ordering Chinese food to be delivered straight to your house when so desired. Of course, ya era hora que another type of immigrant fast food cuisine (easy on the go as well as on the pocket) would claim a space in the realm of suburban eating and delivery options. That’s right, welcome empanadas to our doorsteps.
Just two months ago, Argentinean-born Juan Zavala and his wife Pilar, from Mexico, opened Half Moon Empanadas, an idea that had been on the works for around five years. The couple wanted to give consumers another option when considering delivery; opening up a fast-food joint on 16th Street and Washington Ave, a block away from Lincoln Rd. Currently that is their only location, but their goal is to expand nationally. Although empanadas are of Hispanic origin, Juan and Pilar say that so far their customers are from all over the world. Half Moon offers 12 twelve options of empanadas such as beef, veggie, pepperoni and cheese -which tastes very much like pizza – or their most popular: napolitana (ham, peppers, mozzarella and tomato sauce). For the sweet tooth, there are 3 kinds of Cuban-influenced pastelitos: batata (similar to sweet potato), membrillo (that stems from a fruit called quince) and dulce de leche. Each empanada or pastel is $1.50, or you can choose from their different combos (how American!) that range from $4.50 for 2 empanadas and a drink, to 2 dozen empanadas for $29.99.
Aside from their unique concept, what makes Half Moon special? The empanadas are hand-made from fresh products daily, and most of the ingredientes are from the empanada capital of Latin America, Argentina. These empanadas can be fried or baked, which feels healthier than eating a slice of pizza dripping oil. They are also just as filling and less messy or complicated to eat (especially at 3am.) Also, Half Moon has thought of every little detail: each empanada has its filling printed on it with vegetable ink, like a tattoo, so there’s no confusion when you open that box filled with 12 identical looking half-moons. If you choose to visit their location, you will find a very friendly staff and a clean establishment with an interior decoration that blends perfectly with the rest of their brand. Taco Bell, watch out, Half Moon is on its way to becoming the next fast food hope in America. And it all starts right here in South Beach.
Half Moon Empanadas
1616 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139