If you ever have both sweet and salty cravings, then Nonna Rita’s may be the place for you. The small store that boasts empanadas and pastries in its name opened in January in the space formerly occupied by Milio’s not too far from the intersection of East Johnson Street and East Washington Avenue.
I ordered the beef and chicken empanadas ($2.50 each). Instead of frying them, Nonna Rita’s bakes them. The crust was nice and flaky, but I didn’t care for the beef (too much cumin) or the chicken (a bit dry). You also can try taco, ham & cheese, spinach, corn and tuna; one dozen costs $25.
The small pastries are based on traditional Argentine baking techniques and are either topped or filled with dulce de leche (similar to caramel in flavor), a custard-like cream or both. I really enjoyed the dulce de leche–it’s a wonderful alternative to the typical chocolate topped/filled pastries you find at other bakeries.
I also liked both the butter croissant and the “saltier” croissant (as it was described to me). Both have so much flavor that you don’t need to add jam or anything. I paid $7 for a dozen pastries, but I got that as a discount since they were about to close for the day.
The only other item on the menu are the pizzettas ($2.50, $3 or $3.50), personal-sized pizzas that can be topped with pepperoni, heart of palms or tomato basil, for example.
Nonna Rita’s is open Tuesday-Saturday. There’s usually ample street parking right in front. Credit cards are currently not accepted.