Is Empanada Joe’s Using Single Women To Attract Customers?

Got a really interesting comment about Empanada Joe’s (on 8th Ave. btw. 43+44th) recently that I wanted to share. I just want to say up front, I have absolutely no evidence that this comment is a shill. The person who made the comment has never commented before, but there is nothing that would indicate they are not telling the truth- except for the actual words that they typed. Enjoy:

“TO be honest… I really do not understand what people don’t like about this place. I work IN Times Square, and for the past several months, each time I have to go on break for lunch, I’ve found myself at an impasse trying to figure out what to do, and when I found Empanada Joe’s early last week and I had a meal there, I was so happy, and for one whole week… I have literally gone NO WHERE but there for break every single time. In the space of one week, I think I’ve gone there 6 times. I’m only paying $8.11 now, where before, I was paying anywhere from $15 to $25 for lunch.”

So far so good (kind of)… but wait, there’s more.

“I think that the empanada’s EJ’s sells are soooo YUMMY! They have good spice and good flavor, and the Chipotle Mayo goes well with most of the flavors. I love the corn, rice, and potato salad a LOT, but the bean salad could definitely use a lot more tweaking, not to mention the simple thing called SALT.

If you see a girl sitting at Empanada Joe’s by herself and thoroughly enjoying herself, chances are, it’s me! Hope to see you there!”

So you may ask, why do you think this is a shill? Let’s count the ways:

1. Use of “to be honest” to start off the comment. Why would we think you are being anything but?
2. Claiming that $8 is some super-deal. Why were you paying $15-$25 for lunch? Are you saying Empanada Joe’s is only good to people who have been paying waaaay to much for mediocre Times Square food?
3. Adding a criticism of the bean salad. Often, shillers will add a benign negative comment to throw you off the scent.

and the best one…

4. The “if you see a girl” line. This is a new one even for me… trying to appeal to single guys by making them think there is a girl eating alone at Empanada Joe’s who wants to be noticed by the type of people who would be reading Midtown Lunch comments. Is there a girl like that who exists?

Awesome. Shill or honest comment? You decide…

In defense of Empanada Joe’s though, they have made some positive changes since they first opened. For example, the $8 2 empanada combo now includes 2 side dishes (instead of 1) and a fountain soda. And the 3 empanada combo is now $10, instead of $11, making it within the Midtown Lunch price range (and it also comes with 2 side dishes, and a fountain soda.)  That’s a lot of food for $10. Alright… maybe I’ll go back one more time.

Related: Empanada Joe’s Disproves Positive Comments With Their Food


  • Call Chris Hansen right away.

  • MM, that was the comment of the year.

  • The “soooo YUMMY!” comment kinda creeps me out. If I never hear the word yummy again, I would be slightly happier.

  • “thoroughly enjoying herself”

    I try not to enjoy myself in public, it’s indecent.

  • It’s Sarah Hellermans ‘Colleague’.

  • YUM-O!

  • Would have been a better shill if they posted Mamacita-style…

    The empanadas were moist as a toothsome love-muffin, the chipotle mayo made it slick with desire as I slathered it on longingly… the corn started a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited … the side order of a pound of chorizo was smallish so make sure you order a man-sized portion… if you see a gal alone in a day-glo micro-mini and Che halter top, buy her a drink fer chrissakes!

  • lol @MM


  • Those comments were typed by the hairy knuckles of a 300lb manager/owner of “EJ”s looking to drive volume.

    I’m starting to doubt some of the resturant reviews on menu pages. I think it should be punishable by law for people to post false reviews or reviews with motives on food websites….you’re playing with peoples livelyhoods and emotions dammit.

  • HAHA! Wayne! I like the way you write!

  • That’s the shilliest shill since Ben Shiller came to Shilltown.

  • Lets see.. shill or no shill…

    1) Use of random WORDS in all capital LETTERS – Check
    2) Overabundance of exclamation points – Check!!!!
    3) Stupid dramatic phrases like “I found myself at an impasse” – After serious consideration, I find myself offering this phrase a check
    4) Ridiculous misspellings? – No

    Although not a perfect score, 3 out of 4 = shill

  • I wouldn’t want to date someone who likes this place, total dumpster food, so the point is moot

  • Anyone that works in Times Sq. and describes grabbing lunch as “having to go on break for lunch” cannot afford $15-25 lunches. That’s a hard shill to swallow.

  • @ Wined & Dined

    Exactly, that’s the language the managers at Empanada Joe’s probably use when they tell their poorly paid staff to scram for a half an hour so they comply with labor laws.

  • Someone’s pants are clearly on fire here. that is about as authentic as Taco Bell is to real mexican food. Total shill. Another place that will not be entertaining my dollars….

  • I too gave Empanada Joes a second chance after they included two side orders, instead of the singular terrible rice dish.

    I won’t be back. I got what was supposed to be a spicy corn salad, which was terribly bland, and potato salad, which was just plain bad. The two were also combined into a single container. Not horrible, but if there were two really disparate flavours(of which there were thankfully none!),putting them together would be so wrong.

    The empanadas aren’t bad, just small and not too flavorful, more or less relying on the sauces to provide flavoring. I’d head to Empanada Mama if I really was craving non-cart empanadas.

    My non schill-ey 2 cents.

  • Good catch, W&D. Professionals don’t “go on break for lunch,” and people working at Ann Taylor Loft can’t spend $15-$25 for lunch–that’d be spending their entire morning’s earnings (after tax) on lunch!

  • That place will be a WAMU/Luxury hi-rise by summer….

  • Agree with above comments… side dishes are nasty and undercooked, but the empanadas are actually pretty good, and I’d grab a box of them for a party or slam a few for lunch when in the neighborhood….

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