Restaurant Review: Pop Fizz

New Paleteria Offers Inventive Frozen Treats

Nora Hickey
3 min read
The Scoop on Pop Fizz
A scoop of Avocado ice cream is a uniquely flavorful way to keep cool. (Eric Williams
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On busy Bridge Street just west of the Rio Grande, there sits the antidote to scorching summertime heat. Though the sun may blind your eyes, look closely so as not to miss the colorful sign of new refresqueria Pop Fizz. Before entering, stray a moment in the swelter, because soon you will walk through Pop Fizz’s glass doors to cool air and refreshing frozen culinary delights.

Surrounding the few tables and chairs are many sweet and savory packaged goods, from nacho cheese Doritos to Mexican tamarind candy. These, however, were of little interest to me—the hum of the freezer beckoned. Beneath the cool glass lay brightly colored paletas—frozen juice- or cream-based pops originating from Mexico—as well as prepackaged cups of homemade small batch ice cream.

When I visited, no staff was immediately visible, but someone always emerged from the back a few seconds later. After speaking to the employees/owners, this makes perfect sense; paletas are made in-house daily at Pop Fizz, and it’s easy to imagine the owners concocting new, inventive flavors in every spare moment.

Brothers Lorenzo and Carlos Alvarez, along with father Rafael, opened the shop five weeks ago in hopes of capturing the flavors they remembered fondly from childhood, but with a dedication to using natural ingredients like real fruit and organic cane sugar. You won’t find high fructose corn syrup here, but you will discover Grandma Alvarez’s horchata and limeade recipes in use, as well as new creations like guanabana, avocado and mimosa ice cream and paletas. The family also works with South Valley farms to use locally sourced food when it’s in season.

The Alvarez’s New Mexican, El Paso–Juárez and Mexican background stands out deliciously in their products. These are flavors of the distinct and multifarious Southwest, and what able ambassadors they are. The prickly pear sorbet, sweetened with agave nectar, is pleasingly granular and mellow, growing fluid and syrupy in the heat. Even more refreshing, the cucumber lime chile paleta reminded me of homemade juice popsicles from childhood summers, but much more refined. The three flavors were simultaneously layered and blended from start to sticky finish. This was not my father’s Hawaiian Punch pop. On the creamier side of things is the rich, dense avocado ice cream. If you love the mild nutty flavor of the buttery green fruit, this ice cream is a requirement. With so many colors, forms and flavors to choose from, don’t hesitate to ask the experts for guidance; they’re happy to tell you about the fruit family of the soursop, or the hangover-specific healing properties of prickly pear.

The Alvarez family continues to introduce new, seasonal flavors (a chicharrones one is in the works), so be sure to stop at their Bridge Street store, which also serves nachos, elotes and shakes. If you can’t make it there, look for their cart at the Downtown Growers’ Market each Saturday. Either way, pick your paleta, and slurp into the sunset.

Pop Fizz

844-B Bridge


Hours: 12 p.m. to 9p.m. Monday through Thursday

12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday

11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday

Price range: $1.00 to $5.00

Vibe: Friendly and fun

Happy hour paletas: Cabernet sauvignon and mimosa

Extras: Coffee, chips and candy

The Scoop on Pop Fizz

The Scoop on Pop Fizz

Brothers Lorenzo and Carlos Alvarez opened Pop Fizz with their father Rafael five weeks ago.

Eric Williams

The Scoop on Pop Fizz

Eric Williams

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