Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to Sunnyside, Queens where the Oropeza brothers are serving up delicious Salteñas, Silpancho, and Sopas.


In a way, Alex and Patrick Oropeza, the brothers behind long-time Gothamist favorite Bolivian Llama Party, got lucky. When COVID-19 shut down both Llama locations last spring (at the Turnstyle Underground Market in the Columbus Circle subway station, and the Gotham Market at the Ashland in Fort Greene), the Oropezas had an ace in hole: their commissary kitchen, situated within the old Mi Bolivia restaurant along a bustling stretch of 48th Avenue in Sunnyside.

Nothing's changed inside the place—it still looks like an industrial kitchen—but the Oropezas knocked out two windows on the facade for easy sidewalk ordering, built a curbside dining pen for those of us who want to stay, and just like that the Queens Bolivian Llama Party restaurant was born. If the windows are closed just ring the Llama bell and Alex (probably... Patrick's the chef in the family) will pop up to help you. He also delivers your food and, on the day I went, posed with costumed dogs and handed out candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Most of the Bolivian Llama Party's business is local takeout and delivery, which is a good thing if you're dining in. Frankly, the curbside "room," while festive, would be a little too tight for me if even two groups decided to eat at once. It's going to get cold out here soon, too, though Alex told me that they are planning on adding vinyl sheeting "walls" as a wind block and installing electric heaters.


Bolivian Llama Party is probably best known for their Salteñas, which look like empanadas but house a stew-like filling, complete with plenty of broth. As such, the pastry shell, which here is pleasantly slightly-sweet, must be thick and dense enough to hold its hot, liquidy package. The hearty Beni Beef Salteña and the spicy Cochala Chicken one were both excellent.

The sleeper hit of my feast may have been the Sopa de Mani, or peanut soup, the rich and creamy broth packed with hunks of smoked brisket, peas, and potatoes, a pile of potato sticks floating on top adding salt and crunch. If you live nearby, this should become an integral part of your wintertime supper rotation. The Papitas are a must-order as well, fried to a crisp, tossed with a lively blend of seasonings, and, in my case, served with a cilantro dipping sauce. You can also get these with queso, truffle oil, or covered in a panka-thyme salt and cooked extra crispy.

An obvious accompaniment to those fries would be one of Llama Party's jaw-stretching sandwiches, served on house-baked sarnita bread. There are several from which to choose, and I was pleased that I went with the Sandwich de Chola "OG Style," which was stuffed with wonderfully fatty slices of pork shoulder, a bit of quesillo, and a vinegary slaw. Two entree-sized dishes are available as well, including a terrific traditional Bolivian Silpancho, the breaded beef steak placed over rice, a runny egg and a mound of salsa on top, with plenty of garlicky green sauce on the side.

It's always ice cream weather as far as I'm concerned, so I was excited to see a triple-scoop on offer for dessert. Patrick taught himself how to make the stuff when he was bored during the early days of the pandemic, and he did a great job. The Api Helado, or purple corn with cinnamon and clove; the Cherimoya Birthday Cake, complete with rainbow sprinkles; and the intense Dark Bolivian Chocolate, boosted by panka chilis and smoked butter, were all a delight.


The Queens Bolivian Llama Party has a full menu of really good things to eat, served by affable hosts. For Sunnyside residents, the transformation of a commissary kitchen into a restaurant makes for a rare bit of good fortune in a mostly terrible year.

Bolivian Llama Party is located at 44-14 48th Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, and is currently open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, and on Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 to 8:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday (347-370-9102; blp.nyc)