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Paleta bar options at The Paleta Bar in Santa Fe, NM

Veronica Ortiz had dreamed of owning a paleta store and when she and her husband, John, stopped at the Paleta Bar in Bernalillo, they decided they wanted in. Just over a year later, they are co-owners of three Paleta Bars as well as a Paleta Bar Café in Albuquerque, along with their partners, Marcos and Yesica Palafox.

So, what is a paleta? Basically, John explains, “paleta” is what an ice pop is called in Mexico. But the Paleta Bar doesn’t just serve you a frozen treatPaleta topped with strawberries and white chocolate on a stick. Oh, no! There’s much more. Once you select a flavor of ice pop from their list of more than 20 options, you can opt to have a half or full dip in chocolate: white, milk, or dark. But wait, as they say, there’s more! Now that your paleta is dripping with delicious chocolate, you can choose from about a dozen toppings, from cereals to nuts to fruits, including graham crackers, toffee, M&M candies, and more. Whipped cream? Sure, why not!

There are even non-dairy, fruit-based options, including enticing flavors such as lime, chili-watermelon, chile-lime, mango, and mango-chile.

The Paleta Bar Difference

These treats are very popular in Mexico and are taking off in the United States. What sets the Paleta Bar apart is that their frozen treats are hand-made every day with fresh ingredients, with no additives or preservatives. In addition to the quality of their paletas, John explains that they strive to have an upbeat, welcoming atmosphere. “We train our people to put on a good show for our customers. We like to entertain them!” And that they do, making a show of dripping the chocolate down the paleta or piling up the whipped cream.

Ordering counter at The Paleta Bar in Santa Fe, New MexicoWith all those options available every day, what’s John’s favorite paleta combination? He says he stumbled upon it by chance, when an employee made the wrong one for a customer and John couldn’t let it go to waste! His go-to paleta is a tres leches ice pop, half dipped in white chocolate, and half covered with Fruity Pebbles cereal. That combo is then topped with bananas and strawberries and the whole thing is drizzled with more white chocolate. Obviously, all that doesn’t fit on a frozen pop on a stick. These paletas are served in trays to hold all that extra deliciousness, although your pop is on a stick so you can pick it up and take a bite!

While John admits that it has been a bit crazy running three stores in three communities in the midst of a pandemic, it doesn’t sound like this grandfather of seven regrets a thing. “Overall, it’s been a joy. The community support has been great, and the stores have been busy. One of my favorite things about it is having a family come in with younger kids. There’s a huge display case and it has these rows of ice cream. You’ll see these little kids walk up to it with big eyes and they’re just filled with excitement and joy.”

You can find some of that excitement and joy yourself — and John adds, “Live the experience” — at any of their three Paleta Bar locations and the Paleta Bar Café in Albuquerque’s Uptown Mall, which also offers coffee, churros, and donuts. At the Paleta Bar shops, you can get nachos or agua frescas with your frozen pops. When you go, tell them sent you!

2442 Cerillos Road, Santa Fe

2003 Southern Blvd. Unit 180, Rio Rancho

1651 Main Street, Las Lunas

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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