The world of tango may have lost a pair of instructors, but Naples has gained an Argentine bakery.
Alicia and Pablo Repun, longtime devotees and teachers of tango, suddenly found their local dance business decimated by the pandemic. They reverted to another dream they had nurtured for many years and opened Locos x Argentina (“crazy for Argentina”), a café and bake shop.
“In Argentina, neighborhood cafés are the center of social life,” says Alicia. “They’re places to congregate, talk, and connect with others. We had that sense of community with the tango, and we wanted to get it back.”
The couple opened the doors in October 2020, and despite COVID, they soon had lines out the door. The Repuns produce a wide range of pastries, cakes, sandwiches, pizza, and, of course, empanadas. “You don’t have to be Argentinian to enjoy empanadas,” Alicia says. “Everyone loves them.”
Popular throughout South and Central America, empanadas—similar to turnovers—are perfect for takeout and eating on the go. Locos x Argentina Bakery & Café serves up several varieties, from the beef and chicken-filled classics to a breakfast version stuffed with bacon, eggs, potatoes, and cheddar. Vegetarian options include espinaca (spinach, ricotta, and artichoke), lentejas (lentils, onions, sweet potatoes, raisins, and corn), and batata (sweet potatoes, apples, chickpeas, and coconut milk). Recent innovations include an empanada packed with blue cheese, nuts, and celery, and another with mozzarella, olives, and onions.
What does the future hold for the Repuns? The answer isn’t surprising: “We’d love to add a dance floor to the café,” says Alicia.