jezabels
Photo: Joy Lee / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Jezabel Careaga has been bringing traditional Argentine cuisine to Philadelphia since 2010, when she opened her namesake cafe on 26th and Pine. Now, she’s expanding operations to West Philadelphia — but it won’t be run like a typical restaurant.

Careaga plans to open Jezabel’s Studio on 208 South 45th St. within the next few months, Philadelphia Magazine reported. Rather than offer only food or merchandise, the new business will serve patrons snacks and teas, while also offering traditional Argentine kitchenware for sale. These services will complement cooking and craft demonstrations that Careaga will regularly perform for customers who visit the studio.

Careaga was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

College freshman Mer Fagliano is excited about this idea. An international student, Fagliano was born and raised in Argentina, and has been looking for more Argentine food options since starting at Penn this fall. She looks forward to finally having one close to campus.

“I’m really excited about [Jezabel’s Studio] because there aren’t too many restaurants in Philly that serve Argentinean food,” Fagliano said. “And other [Argentine restaurants] are in Center City, but this one’s in West Philly, so it’s probably going to be more convenient.”

Though specifics are still scarce, Careaga has made some details known to the public.

She will be serving her signature empanadas with beef, chicken, spinach and vegan varieties, which have been lauded by CBS-Philly as among the top five in the city back when the restaurant went by the name Gavin’s Cafe. She will also be preparing different mates, traditional tea-like drinks popular in Latin America, and alfajores de maizena, which are dulce de leche-filled cookie sandwiches.

“Alfajores, oh my God, yes,” Fagliano said when she read the menu.

The kitchenware available will include hand-made towels and aprons imported from Argentina. Customers will also be able to buy cutting boards, tables and other wood-workings that Careaga makes at a local technical studio.

The highlight of Jezabel Studio’s different events may be the monthly Bar de Pinchos. Like she does once a month at her Café, Careaga will host a BYOB, where patrons are invited to watch cooking and craft lessons, while enjoying drinks and a menu of snacks.

Fagliano hopes that Jezabel Studio will be successful.

“I would love to have more Argentinian restaurants and more Latin American restaurants that are not necessarily Mexican ... I would love to see more Colombian, Venezuelan, Uruguayan, Brazilian,” Fagliano said. “We need more diversity and food here in Philly.”

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