jumbo empanadas toronto

Toronto empanada store forced to close but neighbourhood is trying to save it

A devastating fire in Kensington Market has forced the closure of two staple Latin American businesses, including the 21-year-old Jumbo Empanadas

Irene Morales' restaurant, which has operated at 245 Augusta Avenue since 1991, shuttered two weeks ago following a serious fire at neighbouring grocery store Emporium Latino

The damage from the incident extended to Jumbo Empanadas, and Morales' business was forced to close by safety inspectors in mid-October. 

Locals have now launched a fundraiser for the beloved business in an attempt to raise $2,000, which will cover lost income for employees and repairs not covered by insurance. 

"Jumbo is a community hub," said organizers Leyla Razeghi, Maggie Helwig, and Venetia Butler in the GoFundMe post. "Irene has promoted and helped to run fundraisers for Chilean earthquakes victims, donated generously to meals for the homeless and more. 

"We don't know how long they will be closed. Irene and her family are great people and embody the independent spirit that makes Kensington Market special." 

Considered one of Toronto's best spots for empanadas, Morales first started Jumbo Empanadas in 1991 as a Saturday food cart in the market. 

Eight years later she moved into 245 Augusta Avenue, hiring four workers to help fold and fill those hulking empanadas. 

The fundraiser organizers have also launched a $10K GoFundMe for Emporium Latino. Over the past several weeks, they've raised well over the goal, with more than $27K in support for owners Ceci and Mauricio, and their employees. 

Lead photo by

Jumbo Empanadas


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