Geary Ave. is a hotspot for artisan shops and restaurants. With Parallel’s art-filled interior and outstanding Middle Eastern cuisine and Famiglia Baldassarre’s cult following of pasta aficionados, it’s no wonder this is also home to the city’s most coveted savoury pockets of gold.
Gaucho Pie Co. is a family-run bakery dishing out hundreds of empanadas every day from their location inside the Artisan Factory (116 Geary Ave.). These Argentinian handheld turnovers may seem traditional from the outside, but owner Susan Arevalo has given her mother’s recipe a Toronto twist.
“The new empanada flavours are so exciting as they really embrace and are a testament to our new home being Toronto and its incredible cultural diversity,” says Arevalo.
Gaucho Pie Co. empanadas sport some not-so-typical flavours.
“Each of the flavours has a story; from the kimchi and pork shoulder (we live in Korea-town!) to the Ruben with sauerkraut (my husband is a corned beef aficionado),” she says. “In the end, our business comes from the passion to share who we are now and where we came from.
Following her career as an ESL teacher and raising her three children alongside her husband and chef Anthony Walsh, the corporate executive chef across the Oliver & Bonacini empire, Susan decided to follow her own passion for food.
Arevalo’s father was a baker in Argentina and when her family immigrated to Canada in 1976, they carried over the recipes that would soon make a splash at the Arevalo-Walsh family dinner parties and inspire the menu at O&B’s Leña. After years of houseguests complimenting her famed empanadas, Susan and her siblings Claudio and Pedro decided to open up their own bakery and start sharing their family’s tradition with the city.
“It is a classic story of three kids growing up in a bakery, all having very defined feelings about it (not all great!) and through life’s twists and turns, they all collectively end up together doing what their parents did all of those years ago,” says Arevalo.
Gaucho Pie Co. serves empanadas eight different ways. They are sold by the dozen and come in a variety of flavours.