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Delia's Empanada Café welcomes customers with a warm greeting on its front window: "Come enjoy the experience." And that experience is all about amazing food served in a friendly, cheerful and convenient location. Delia's is truly a local gem, owned and operated by José Pantoja, a Trenton-born, retired Trenton police detective with a big heart and a strong love for his community.
“I want to do what I can to make Trenton better,” says José. “Opening an empanada café in this location had been a dream of mine for a while." He wanted to give something back to the city he had worked in for so many years.
He couldn’t think of anything better to give back than his family recipes. And, oh, was he right about that!
José keeps the menu simple and sensational. in addition to a variety empanadas, Delia's serves fried fish, desserts, a damn good cup of coffee and fabulous mofongo, easily the most popular Puerto Rican dish. Made with mashed plantains and lots of other savory ingredients, they make for a satisfying meal. Delia's serves this traditional Puerto Rican dish with your choice of protein. If you haven't tried one, all we can say is, "What are you waiting for?"
"People stop in for their favorites—like beef, chicken and fried pork empanadas—and to say hello. Some of the state workers make a point to pick up their lunch on the days they come into town. They miss our food! And we certainly miss them," says José.
Delia's opened in the fall of 2019 to rave reviews and incredible support. The menu and feel-good vibe hit all the right notes with the community, and the Warren Street location was convenient to the state house and other downtown businesses. Like many restaurant owners, José is anxious for the coronavirus to get under control to allow for more workers to come back into town and so that people in general feel safe eating out. "It's been tough the past few months," he relays. "People love the food and we want to be here for them. But things need to pick up soon."
As indoor dining capacity remains limited, José wants to remind everyone that Delia's is open for takeout and curbside pickup too. Empanadas are affordable, portable and delicious—a great choice when you are in a hurry.
And it's always a good idea to support local whenever you can. "We want to be here when the pandemic is over," says José. "All the businesses down here on Warren Street are waiting."
Delia's Empanada Café is located at 113 South Warren Street, Trenton, NJ. 609-396-7775
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday—Saturday.
Call ahead as hours may vary.