March 6, 2021

America’s First Vegan Empanada Shop to Open in Chicago

This spring, all-vegan empanada shop Fons will open in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Created by husband-and-wife team Daniel Briceno and Daniela Crespo, Fons first launched last year as an e-commerce business that ships its premade and frozen empanadas—which the shop calls “fons”—in Chicago and nearby states. “Our concept is to create our empanadas 100 percent from natural plant-based sources, which is the origin of nutrition,” Briceno told VegNews, “and that is why our name is Fons, because it means ‘origin’ in the Latin language.”

Representing diversity
The storefront will offer 12 flavors of naturally colored five-inch empanadas, representing cultures from around the world, such as Italian-inspired Margherita (San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and vegan “fonzarella” in a tomato-and-basil dough), Cuban-inspired Ropa Vieja (Cuban-style shredded jackfruit in a chia dough), and Mexican-inspired Tinga (simmered onions and jackfruit in a chipotle and garlic sauce in carrot dough). All of Fons’ ingredients are made in-house, including its own vegan cheese, fillings, sauces, and dough. “Our main focus is to create and wrap a patchwork of different cultures and flavors from around the world that create the enormous diversity here in the US,” Briceno said. “Every country has its own type of empanada … and we want to have that diversity of culture in our fons.”

Fons will have empanadas available individually or as a build-your-own Fonspack of six, 12, 24, or 36 empanadas, along with house-made dipping sauces, and drinks such as matcha tea and coffee. All empanadas will be freshly baked and available for takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery through popular delivery apps. The storefront will also have a cozy bench for dine-in and a picnic table for outdoor seating.

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