Corona restaurant declared champion of inaugural best empanada competition

(L-R) Empanadas Café owners Luz Helena Bermudez and Patricia Bernard are awarded best empanadas in Queens through a public voting process hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce on Monday, May 22, 2023. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Empanadas Café in Corona was declared the winner of the inaugural Queens’ Best Empanada Competition, held by the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Over the past several weeks, borough foodies nominated and voted on their favorite stuffed doughy pastries, with the family-owned Corona eatery emerging as the winner on May 22.

Empanadas at Empanadas Café.(Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“This is such an honor after working on this for 20 years,” Empanadas Café Co-Owner Patricia Bernard said. “Having the best empanadas, having the best flour, and really having a commitment to quality, so it is an honor for me to receive this and say thank you to all our people who voted for us.”

Empanadas Café co-owner Patricia Bernard.(Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Bernard opened Empanadas Café on Van Doran Street and 108th Street with her sister and co-owner Luz Helena Bermudez, who created the whole grain empanada. In all, 19 flavors are served at Empanadas Café including meat, chicken, plantain, and Hawaiian, which are the most popular.

“This is a laboratory, always trying to get the best empanadas,” Bernard said. “Come and try our empanadas, you will not be disappointed.”

The co-owners received plaques and a complimentary year of membership to the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re delighted to honor Empanadas Café as the inaugural winner of the Queens’ Best Empanada Competition,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “Queens is home to the best restaurants in New York City and we received entries from a range of restaurants that truly reflects the diversity of our borough’s Latin American community. Congratulations to Patricia Bernard and the entire team at Empanadas Café on winning this coveted title. I just had a few myself, and I can tell you, they are worthy winners.”

I Love Paraguay Restaurant in Sunnyside was the runner-up, followed by We Love Empanadas in Jackson Heights, Que Rico Colombian Bakery in Astoria and the Empanada Spot in Jackson Heights.

“If there’s any place you can find the best empanadas you’ve ever had, it’s in Queens, the food capital of the world,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “And a big shout out to the other contestants as well as every empanada spot in our borough. Thank you for making our borough a delicious place to eat.”

The Chamber received hundreds of nominations online and voting was held earlier this month.

“We are honored to have been awarded the winner of the inaugural Queens Best Empanada contest,” Bernard said. “I want to thank our wonderful, dedicated staff and our loyal customers for this honor. We invite everyone to come and visit Empanadas Café and see why we were named the best place in Queens for empanadas.”

Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.