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Columbia Pike’s Mpanadas finally getting a grand opening later this month

New restaurant Mpanadas on Columbia Pike (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Mpanadas on Columbia Pike finally appears to be opening.

The small “South American-inspired cafe” at 2602 Columbia Pike is planning a soft opening for Thursday, June 15 and a grand opening that weekend, a restaurant spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow. The opening date is also listed on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

In addition, a “very special guest” will be in attendance. If posted images are any clue, that special guest may be of the animal variety. The restaurant’s logo features a llama eating an empanada.

The restaurant has been a bit of a mystery ever since new signage and brown paper covering the windows appeared on the 724-square-foot storefront last summer.

It was in July 2022 when ARLnow first reported that the Peruvian carry-out was making the move into the former home of a Boost Mobile. However, since then, details have been scarce.

Over the past 11 months, we have received a number of emails from hungry neighbors wondering when the eatery next to Domino’s might open. Now, the answer appears to be just in a matter of weeks.

A few other answers were also provided to ARLnow by Gabriela Rojas, the restaurant’s “brand designer” and the owner’s niece. Mpanadas is owned by Marcelo Herbas, with several of his family members also helping. This is his first restaurant; he previously owned a number of mobile phone stores on Columbia Pike.

The menu will have Bolivian and South American influences, with a focus on empanadas. Rojas said that there will be a variety of flavors, making it more them more “spin offs”of traditional empanadas. The full menu and website should be live in the next couple of days, said Rojas.

Mpanadas will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It’s taken almost a full year to open the eatery due to permitting “struggles,” Rojas said, echoing the challenges of numerous other recently-opened restaurants.

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