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Pop Fizz to run concession at Hispanic Cultural Center

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Lorenzo Alvarez, owner of Pop Fizz at 844 Bridge Street SW, has acquired the contract for the concessions at the National Hispanic Cultural Center to serve food and drink at all the performances at the Center. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Hispanic Cultural Center didn’t have to look too far to find its newest concessions vendor.

Pop Fizz, located near the center at 844-B Bridge SW, was awarded a one-year lease to serve food at performances at the NHCC.

The NHCC has been looking for someone to run its concessions since La Fonda del Bosque shuttered during the summer, again leaving the restaurant and concessions vacant.

The contract was approved by the NHCC board last week for Pop Fizz to handle concessions. The contract includes lease of two NHCC liquor licenses and part of the commercial kitchen.

According to the lease, Pop Fizz will pay $600 a month for the space and an additional $200 for the two liquor licenses. The restaurant will soon be leased to a different vendor in a separate contract, but Rebecca Avitia, NHCC executive director, would not provide details.

She said Pop Fizz is run by Rafael Alvarez and his two sons, Carlos and Lorenzo .

“We feel like the NHCC is making large strides to actively bring more attention to the center and is aiming at not only reaching its core audience but a younger demographic,” Carlos Alvarez said. “We see this venture as a great opportunity to promote our brand while also promoting the NHCC’s core vision.”

Avitia said Pop Fizz impressed the selection committee with its passion for its product. She said Pop Fizz is in the business of selling a culture through its food, and the NHCC sells culture through performances and art.

Pop Fizz is known for its homemade paletas, or popsicles, which are made from all-natural, real fruit, and cream popsicles with flavors ranging from the classic strawberry, coconut and lime to exotic flavors like avocado, pineapple habaƱero and even sweet corn.

It also offers a variety of Mexican-American inspired treats such as aguas frescas (fruit based drinks in a variety of flavors), mangoneadas, Mexican hot chocolate, churros and the wildly popular ice cream tacos.

Avitia said Pop Fizz will use the commercial kitchen to create its paletas and eventually plans a paleteria. The business also will sell sandwiches and other items.

“We have this wonderful plaza on campus,” she said. “I’d like to get an outdoor patio set up for Pop Fizz to where they can sell their products as well. It wouldn’t be competition to the restaurant when it opens. It would provide another option.”

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