A search for the best empanada in Atlantic City's Chelsea neighborhood kicked off Friday as part of ongoing efforts to support local businesses and highlight the neighborhood's diversity and international flavor.

ACDEVCO and the Chelsea Economic Development Corporation are sponsoring the empanada contest among 10 neighborhood restaurants this month. Online voting will take place through August, with a winner an

nounced Sept. 1.

But the underlying goal of the contest is to engage the community and showcase the community's rainbow of international restaurants and local businesses, said Elizabeth Terenik, director of the Chelsea EDC.

The restaurants competing in the challenge show the neighborhood's multicultural quality with roots from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, Honduras and Colombia.

Many of the restaurants were on hand Friday afternoon for the kickoff. Under an outdoor dining tent in the parking lot of the Knife and Fork Restaurant, owners offered samples of their unique recipes, sharing their history. Many have been in the community for decades, and all have stayed open during the pandemic.

ACDEVCO and the Chelsea EDC have helped the owners navigate permits to offer outdoor dining, but wants to help them get access to capital to grow, or buy their properties and become true owners.

Participating restaurants include:

  • Mexico
  • Sabor Salvadoreno
  • Queens
  • Mr. Taco
  • El Gran Chalan
  • Rincón Catracho
  • El Patron
  • Lenox Café
  • Chismosa’s Kitchen at Celebrity Corner
  • Boom Market Café.

Voters just have to buy and taste an empanada from two or more (or all 10) of the participating restaurants anytime during the month of August, and cast their vote for the best at ChelseaEDC.org. Information about the restaurants and their empanadas are also on the site.

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@buzzkeough

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