When you’re sitting inside the new paleteria in downtown Nogales, it’s easy to forget the blazing sun outside.
Overheated residents can find paletas, ice cream, aguas frescas, raspados, and cheesecake, all made on the spot at La Reina Por Su Sabor, which opened a few doors down from Food City and next to Rancho Grande restaurant on April 6 after spending a year at a different location on Grand Avenue across from the El Dorado Hotel.
“This location is even better for us,” said Tomas Silva, who co-owns the paleteria with his wife, Guadalupe Berrellez.
“We have a lot of walkers, instead of the drivers who went by at our old location,” he said, listing people coming across the border to shop, Food City customers who want a cool treat, and local students as his new customers.
Two of those new customers, Erika Aguilera, 20, and Miguel Rodriguez, 18, stopped in for lemonade on Tuesday morning on their first visit to La Reina.
“We wanted to try something new,” Rodriguez said, adding that before La Reina opened, his preferred spot for cool treats was the McDonald’s on Crawford Street.
“There’s not a lot of places here to go,” Aguilera noted of the downtown ice cream scene.
“And they sell Mexican candy, so that’s great, too,” she said with a grin.
Silva is hoping that the quality of his treats will attract even more customers, he said. “Our product is all natural, we don’t add preservatives or additives or anything.”
Much of that product comes from the ice cream maker, which he imported from Mexico, in the back of the shop. “We’re constantly making ice cream,” he said, adding that the machine churns out a thousand paletas each month.
While ice cream is popular, the “big sellers” at La Reina are the cheesecake and chocoflan made by his wife, Silva said.
The shop offers a wide array of ice cream flavors, including coconut, mango, watermelon, cream cheese with strawberries, Oreo cookie, vanilla, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip.
As for the aguas frescas, thirsty customers can enjoy watermelon, pineapple, barley, lemonade, jamaica, and horchata. Raspados are available in lemonade, mango, tamarindo, strawberry, and other flavors.