From the empanadas, to the fileteado font on the window and awning, to the decoration plates adorned with the sanctified images of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, everything about Boludo brings the feel of a Buenos Aires street café to South Minneapolis.
Boludo, a common Argentine word used in the same way as “buddy” or “pal” in English, where it’s mostly said endearingly to friends but can also function as “jerk” when angrily directed at strangers, is the creation of co-owners Facundo De Fraia and Teddy Kordonowy. It officially opened Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 38th & Nicollet.
Serving up De Fraia’s empanadas, a family recipe handed down by his tango-singing grandmother, pizza and Argentine classics like the chorizo sandwich, choripan, Boludo is hoping to focus on take out and catering, with a cozy café space for people to linger for hours over beer, wine or fernet and coke while they munch empanadas.
De Fraia came to Minnesota from San Diego in 2016 to help childhood friend Daniel del Prado open Martina at 43rd & Upton. De Fraia came to make his empanadas, which quickly became a top seller at the restaurant. There he met Kordonowy, who came to Martina from Lowry Hill Meats, where he focused on Argentine sausage staples chorizo, and morcilla, or blood sausage.
Kordonowy dived into Argentine culture and cuisine after studying abroad in Buenos Aires in college and connected instantly with De Fraia at Martina. The two think empanadas are having a global moment and wanted to seize on it. If last week’s soft-opening crowds were any indication, they’re right.
“I think we’re going to be even busier than we expected,” Kordonowy said.
The menu at Boludo has five varieties of empanadas, including a fried jamon y queso option in addition to the more standard baked style, six pizzas, salads and desserts. There’s also the choripan and faina, a chickpea flour bread that Argentines typically consume with pizza, which De Fraia said will be a new flavor for many Americans. Everything is made in-house, and everything on the menu can be prepared gluten-free, De Fraia said. There will be vegetarian and vegan options, as well.
All the menu items are in Spanish, which De Fraia said was important to him as a way to expose people to the culture.
“It’s a good way to start a conversation with guests,” he said.
Boludo hopes to add elements as it goes along, and is considering a weekend brunch in the future, as well as adding the signature gnocchi from Martina to the menu. A kiosk in the store will sell dulce de leche, ready-to-bake empanadas and dough, as well as the Argentine salsa chimichurri.