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Business on fire for Mexican-style frozen treats

An employee watches paletas come off the production line at the Popp Fizz Labs manufacturing facility in Los Ranchos. (Courtesy of CNM SBDC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of Albuquerque’s premier paleta purveyors is primed for growth.

Pop Fizz, a family-owned business started five years ago, has expanded to become a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of Mexican-style paletas (frozen treats) with an American soda fountain twist.

The Alvarez family recently opened a new production/retail location called Pop Fizz Labs at 6770 Fourth NW in Los Ranchos. Co-founder Rafael Alvarez said, “We’ve worked hard to expand operations, and we are pleased to open our new manufacturing facility that includes retail space and a drive-through window offering our natural paletas and drink.”

Made from all-natural ingredients such as fruit, vegetables and cane sugar, Pop Fizz treats combine both Mexican and American culture, Alvarez said. Menu offerings range from fruit and cream paletas to ice cream tacos, shakes and floats.

“The folks at the Small Business Development Center (at CNM) helped us focus on the needs of our customers,” said Lorenzo Alvarez, co-founder and Rafael’s son. “When we first started, we needed direction and guidance. They helped us to nail down our main objective: paletas,” he added.

The business owners decided to go to the next level, which includes opening additional palaterias in the Albuquerque area and drumming up more wholesale business.

Pop Fizz was recently awarded the 2018 Star Client of the Year for the Albuquerque CNM Small Business Development Center as an outstanding example of entrepreneurship and small-business management.

Duran’s does coffee

West Downtown now has a new caffeine option: a stand-alone business called Remedy Coffee.

Mona Ghattas, the owner of Duran Central Pharmacy, has partnered with Villa Myriam Roasters to bring its award-winning blends to java junkies. The folks behind Remedy Coffee, 1816 Lomas NW, on the north side of Duran’s parking lot, have created a warm environment in a 100-year-old adobe home.

“It’s the cure for the common coffee,” said Jay Guthrie, a Duran spokesman.

The menu features specialty toasts with hummus and labneh, coffee drinks galore, local teas by Tea O Graphy, fresh-baked pastries and hot chocolate made with Eldora Chocolate of Albuquerque.

Burritos created in Duran’s kitchen round out the menu.

Remedy is also a rental hub for the Rio Metro Regional Transit District’s PACE bike rental program.

Coffee is served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week.

Food, food, food

Erin Wade has opened two new restaurants in the booming West Central neighborhood, a short distance from Downtown. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The West Downtown food scene is certainly hopping, and much of the credit goes to restaurateur Erin Wade. Her new business is a veritable culinary emporium.

Modern General and The Feel Good are the latest entrants in Wade’s growing restaurant empire. Both share the same address: 1720 Central SW. The ambitious Wade runs another restaurant up the street called Vinaigrette.

Modern General brings the concept of breakfast all day to a new level, said Wade, who owns another Modern General in Santa Fe. Inspired by the classic general store, the business also has a mercantile featuring a collection of home goods and wares, along with select grocery offerings beside Modern General’s house-made granolas, yogurts and sauces, as well as fresh-baked bread from the bakery.

The second concept, The Feel Good, dovetails with Wade’s philosophy of “eating lovingly,” with hints of the French-inspired American cuisine of Julia Child and the cooking of Wade’s own grandmother. Several of the dishes – such as Dorothey’s Deviled Stew with Hungarian paprika, horseradish, sour cream and rice, and Smoked Oyster & Saltines – arrived on the menu directly from Wade’s childhood. Speaking of comfort food, six made-from-scratch soups will also be on the menu.

The Feel Good, which is targeting both a lunch and dinner clientele, introduces the New School Wine Bar to Albuquerque, with a list of sparkling, white, rosé and red vintages available by the bottle and the glass. Guests can also enjoy a selection of housemade cocktails.

Steve Sinovic can be reached at ssinovic@abqjournal.com or by calling 505-823-3919.

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