Before the owners of New Haven\u2019s new empanaderia opened the doors to their restaurant, they were two food truck owners navigating the city streets and stops at local breweries. Maurice Watson\u2019s truck Lunch Box 23 parked frequently on Broadway outside the Apple store, selling bite-sized sliders made with beef, chicken and salmon. On Hazel Lebron\u2019s former Caribe Soul truck, specializing in Latin American and Caribbean food, her empanadas were best-selling menu items. Lebron sold her truck, and Watson put his on pause. The couple melded their shared culinary expertise to open Madeline\u2019s Empanaderia on Middletown Avenue on April 21. \u201cWe went with empanadas because they go well with the tapas cuisine,\u201d Lebron, who runs the front of the house operations, said. Watson, the chef, has a culinary background in Spanish food; he wanted the menu to include small plates. Empanadas ($3 apiece), with a fried flour shell, make up the majority of Madeline\u2019s menu, and many are favorites from Caribe Soul\u2019s past offerings. There\u2019s the Sweet Flame, with Cajun chicken, mango habanero and cheese; the Rican Jerk, with jerk-spiced shrimp and chipotle mayo. Other meat options include a Meek Philly with steak, cheese, onions and peppers; a cheeseburger empanada, a \u201csizzling sausage\u201d with Spanish chorizo and potato and even a birria version with braised lamb and beef, served with consomm\u00e9 for dipping. The Mary Jane empanada is vegan, with curried potato, spinach and Caribbean spice, and the guava lava, another top seller with guava paste and mozzarella, is sweet and savory, Lebron said. Beyond the core menu items, Madeline\u2019s also offers specials, like a recent jalape\u00f1o popper empanada and another called Captain America, with the flavors of a loaded baked potato (bacon, cheddar and chives.) Watson\u2019s small plates ($8 to $13) include picadillo croquetas (deep fried potato balls with ground beef), crab salad, chipotle costillas (pork ribs) and Coca Cola chicken wings. There\u2019s also El Cubano, a classic Cuban sandwich ($13). Sides ($4.50 to $6) include sweet plantains, tostones and patatas bravas. Lebron said the menu may expand and or change seasonally. \u201cWe\u2019re trying to make sure we have a handle on everything,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s already been overwhelming in a good way. It\u2019s very busy.\u201d The restaurant is open for takeout and dine-in seating, and delivery is available through UberEats, GrubHub and soon DoorDash. Madeline\u2019s is at 48 Middletown Ave. in New Haven. It\u2019s open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. 475-242-6221, https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/MadelinesEmpanadas.