A new sandwich and empanada restaurant opened in a troubled spot in Hyde Square last month.
Pikalo, which offers sandwiches, empanadas and patacones—sandwiches with fried plantains instead of buns—opened at the former home of The Goods JP and Slice O’ Pie pizzeria at 378 Centre St. in late April.
It is an expansion of Pikalo in Lawrence, which has been owned by Jose Pimentel since 2012.
“It’s very exciting to work in Boston again,” Elsa Martinez-Pimentel, Jose’s wife, told the Gazette this week. The couple live just over the JP border, on the far side of Forest Hills Cemetery, she said.
She said that JP’s pull was unavoidable: while scouting for a second location, they visited many neighborhoods and were seriously considering Allston-Brighton, for its student population, but JP was too “vibrant” to resist.
“We’ve been here a week and the people coming in are so diverse. Young couples, older couples, families with kids, all sorts of races and backgrounds,” Martinez-Pimentel said. “And it’s so close to home! We feel very invested here.”
Martinez-Pimentel said that they prepare the dough and ingredients weekly and daily in house—down to cooking and shredding the chicken and pork for the fillings.
As for her recommendations, Martinez-Pimentel suggests the patacones, made with fried plantains instead of bread, for a gluten-free alternative—as well as the “Big Papi” empanada.
“It has every single thing on the menu, from eggplant to lobster and shrimp,” she said.
Pikalo’s website is pikalotu.com.