taste of empanada toronto

Toronto bakery famous for their empanadas has permanently closed

Less than a year after opening, the Scarborough shop Taste of Empanada has shuttered for good.

The bakery specializing in Filipino empanadas and hopia says it was forced to close after sales decreased by 75 per cent, compared to pre-pandemic revenues. 

Taste of Empanada owner Joe Garcia cites a laundry list of reasons for the closure, all stemming from the effects of COVID-19.

taste of empanada toronto

The Filipino empanada shop Taste of Empanadas announced that it's closed less than a year since opening. Photo by Hector Vasquez. 

For one, adhering to social distancing meant having just a single staff member working in Taste of Empanada's small kitchen everyday.

It wasn't enough manpower to meet demand for UberEats orders, which in turn also took nearly 30 per cent in commission for sales. 

"It's hurting our business more than gaining profitability-wise," says Garcia. 

Two out of three of the staff also have young children that are currently in school and need help during their online classes. 

"These partners and business owners are so stressed out and are having a hard time in coping and managing the business and at the same time helping out their kids online," says Garcia. 

taste of empanada toronto

Taste of Empanada opened in 2019 following the success of the original brand Super Bakers. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

On top of that, many of their customers still aren't comfortable doing in-store pick up for their boxes of empanadas. And their 600-foot-square space (kitchen included) just wasn't large enough to accommodate customers, says Garcia. 

Though this Scarborough outpost has closed, Garcia is still running the original empanada shop in Etobicoke, Super Bakers, with his sister-in-law and owner, Mila Jazrawy.

Revenues have taken a hit at Super Bakers as well, he says, but the business is still staying afloat for now. "[We're] hoping and trying to be optimistic, though we don't know until when." 

Photos by

Hector Vasquez

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