Photo by staff writer Eva Reid.
O’LaLa Empanadas has been serving the Jersey City community since Feb. 14, 2014.
Located at 600 Communipaw Avenue, the family-owned, managed and operated business was envisioned by owner and manager Idalia Beteta and her mother Idalia Borges.
Filled with the aroma of her mother’s recipes, Idalia Beteta is now sharing her mother’s recipes through O’Lala.
“The name “O’LaLa” serves multiple purposes: On the one hand, it’s a play on the phrase “oh là là,” which we envisioned customers would say as they enjoy our meals which has been proven to be true,” Beteta told Slice of Culture.
“More importantly since our mom’s nickname is LaLa, it reminds us to remain true to her recipes.”
Beteta said she makes sure all of her food is seasoned with love, and when asked what her secret is — it’s that.
“When our parents and grandparents migrated from Puerto Rico to Jersey City, they were welcomed by the place to call home. Born and raised in Jersey City, we are committed to giving back to our city,” shared Beteta.
O’LaLa Empanadas donates to Saint Peter’s University — where Idalia Beteta is an alumni — local high schools, non-profit organizations, local baseball teams and more.
“We decided why not share the love with our community by opening a restaurant centered around family and providing authentic flavors in every bite. Always stay true to her recipes and build an Empire of empanadas. Live on her legacy,” said Beteta.
This local spot not only has 15 different empanada flavors to choose from, including dessert empanadas, but they also serve traditional Puerto Rican dishes like the pastelon, coquito, rice with gandules, and pernil. They also serve a Chines/Peruvian dish Arroz Chaufa and the Cuban Sandwich.
“We’re thrilled to share with everyone not only our Puerto Rican culture, but also our history -the history of Latin America, one of cultural infusion. As noticed by many of the empanadas we offer,” Beteta shared.
To name a few of O’LaLa’s list of unique empanada flavors, you can try the Little Tokyo, Bay of Naples, Greek Goddess, and El Coqui. O’Lala Empanadas also serves traditional empanadas like chicken, beef and cheese.
“Many of our meals represent both the diversity of Jersey City and the fusion of world cultures,” she expressed. “Regardless what meal one chooses, we always serve top quality food that is cooked-to-order and made with love with authentic flavors.”
O’LaLa Empanadas has two locations: one in Jersey City and another in Newark at 194 Market Street.