If you can get to Warner Robins for lunch, try My Grandma’s Empanadas, and get there early. This little luncheria is a little jewel across from the Air Force Base and is packed by noon, and if you tarry you risk them running out of the dishes you wanted to try. After all, the place was just featured on PBS’s “TasteMakers.”
When you enter, you’ll go all the way back to order (unless there’s a line) then turn left to pick your drink — with bottled seltzers and jarritos as well as the usual pulled sodas — and pay. They find yourself a seat and wait for them to cheerfully bring it your way just minutes later. You can even watch as the empanadas are being stuffed and folded behind the counter.
With its beginnings at the local farmers market, My Grandma’s Empanadas continues its relationship with local growers and artisans such as Marview Farms, Lo-Kol Lands, Vesterfield Farms, A Girl and a Goat, Rust’d Plow and the delicious Silly Goat. Everything is fresh, is as local as the season permits and is delicious. Oh, and cheap.
Empanadas — little fried pies — are just $3 each, so get as many as you need to fill up. Our favorites were the spicy beef ones, the apple cinnamon and the spicy ground chicken. The bean ones were a little dry and could benefit from a liquid binder. The berry-guava pies with cream cheese are definitely worth a try. And just in case you’re concerned about all that fried-ness, know that these fried pies are just lightly pan fried in local cold-pressed sunflower oil.
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If you want something healthier than fried pies, try their stuffed avocados, wedge salad or stewed chicken soup with rice and dumplings. Each is small but also less than $5. Or try the Arroz con Guandu, which is rice and peas in coconut milk and tomatoes, for something completely different.
The corn empanadas and yuca carminolas are like papusas, fritters stuffed with beef and then fried. The Rikki Roll is a small rolled and fried beef and cheese taco. Try all three plus the flour empanada of your choice for $9.99.
The space is cute and the atmosphere is fun. Bring a big group, get a dozen empanadas for just $30, and find your favorites for your next visit.
My Grandma’s Empanadas
Address: 120 S. Armed Forces Blvd., Warner Robins
Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Payment: credit card, cash
Kids menu: no
Noise level: low
Health rating: 100
Price range: $2.25-$9.99
Rating: 3 stars