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  • Our Story

Bringing the Tradition of Empanadas Argentinas to the States

El Porteño Empanadas is proud to put its stamp on this traditional food with a unique empanada dough that is baked, never fried, giving it a distinctive buttery, flaky texture. Our dough recipe is inspired by European pastry techniques and produced using small-batch, artisanal methods. Filled with fresh, local ingredients, and Latin flavors, our empanadas Argentinas are not to be missed.

Who We Are

At El Porteño Empanadas, we are proud to be a family-owned business. Joseph and Teresa Ahearne, are the founders who continually manage daily operations with a staff of roughly 50 people and counting.

As tried-and-true Napans and San Francisco residents, we support our communities by sourcing many of our ingredients from nearby farms. We see food as a way to bring people together and consider everyone who steps foot in any of our locations as family—customers and employees alike.

From The Founder 
- Joseph Ahearne

Food has been a multi-generational family business for El Porteño transcending borders. Growing up, I knew my mother’s empanadas Argentinas were something special, and I took an avid interest in learning the family recipe.

My mother, a former “Ms. Argentina,” moved to America not knowing English. After my father passed away, my mother operated a farm, opened two restaurants (Maria’s in St. Helena and Maria’s Taqueria in Napa), and raised 5 kids on her own. I helped in the restaurants as I grew up, washing dishes and taking care of the cattle and hogs. As a continuation of my passion for food, I trained as a prep cook and chef in San Francisco.

After marrying and having children, I sought a job with a shorter commute and more flexibility for time with my family. I also longed for Argentinian food. The food I grew up with. I soon realized there were no establishments, not even a single food truck, that featured the Argentinian-style empanadas I enjoyed as a kid. In 2008, despite a recession, I decided to take the leap and start an empanada business. I chose the name El Porteño, which means “person from the port,” and is synonymous with Buenos Aires to emphasize my love for the city and its people.

Inspired by the empanada recipe my mother taught me long ago, I set out to perfect the empanada dough. My sister, a pastry chef who trained in France, helped me infuse European pastry techniques into the traditional Argentinian recipe—creating the signature El Porteño Empanadas dough. I’m proud to say I sold my very first empanada at the Burlingame Farmers’ Market.

A Brief Timeline of Our Expansion:

2008: El Porteño Empanadas begins as a booth at the Burlingame Farmers’ Market.
2009: We begin to offer catering services.
2010: Our empanadas become available at select Whole Foods and the Ferry Building offers us retail space.
We move to a bigger space in the Ferry Building
2020: We expand our catering, wholesale, and shipping options. We open our Napa location.

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Contact Us to Experience Our Delicious Empanadas

Stop by one of our locations—in the historic Ferry Building Marketplace, Napa Valley’s Oxbow Public Market, or our newest location near Giants stadium —to take in the scenery and the best empanadas Argentinas in the Bay Area. We also invite you to contact us with inquiries on how to bring El Porteño Empanadas directly to you through our wholesale, catering, and shipping services.

The Ferry Building

El Porteño Empanadas, Ferry Building Marketplace
1 Ferry Building, #18
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: 415-513-4529

Oxbow Public Market

El Porteño Empanadas, Oxbow Public Market
610 1st St
Napa, CA 94559
Telephone: 415-513-4529


El Porteño Empanadas, 
700 2nd St, San Francisco,
CA 94107
Telephone: 415-513-4529

More Locations

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