Meraz, who's parents Edmundo and Jinette are the restaurant's owners, says the menu at Republica Empanda was inspired by his travels through Central and South America. He'll be floating between the front and the back of the house and his mother will serve as the restaurant's executive chef. Together the two came up with the restaurant's menu.
"She's the genius, shes the one with the palette and the gift in the kitchen," he says.
As far as the cuisine goes, Meraz describes the food as "pan Latin" or "Latin American comfort food." He says there will be regional fare from all over South and Central America, though he'll avoid Mexican cuisine for the most part since Arizona has great Mexican eats already. Their specialty will be South American style empanadas -- and Meraz says they'll be the first restaurant in Phoenix to focus on that dish.
"The concept people usually have is the empanadas we get at Mexican bakeries, you know, with fruit filling? Something you eat for breakfast," explained Meraz.
But that's not what this place is about. They have a selection of savory, meat filled pastries (reminiscent of Cornish pasties) not the sweet breakfast treats people maybe imagining.
The menu's appetizer selection includes Yuca Frita, or Cassava fries that will be served with crema & avocado sauce ($4.99), as well as Tostones, or green plantains. A small selection of salads features a Black Bean Salad with with Cilantro Jalapeño Ranch ($8.5) and a Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad ($9).