We saw the space come in on Davis Street, its façade’s bright, herringbone details inspired by the patterns and colors of Brazil. What struck me first was how very spacious Picolé was, this new Brazilian paleta spot that was twice as large as the La Original Michoacan it replaced. Past the cheerful, clean lines of the façade, the interior is decked out in white subway tile, concrete floors, and blond wood tables and stools, with big sculptures of popsicles affixed to the walls—one whole, another eaten almost all the way down, with big bites taken out (an invitation?). Picolé is owned by brothers Adrian, Andres, and Jorge Lara. (That they’re brothers, you can tell. Just come in on an evening when more than one is there.) They’ve been in Dallas for 15 years.
“Back in the ‘60s, our grandparents had a paleteria in Mexico City,” Adrian says. When the craze for English-sounding names swept that scene, they renamed their paleteria Manhattan. Manhattan in Mexico City. So, like the sibling owners of Encanto Pops just down Davis, the Laras have paletas in their roots.
Fast forward: while attending the recent World Cup in Brazil, the Lara brothers met the person who would become their fourth business partner and who knew about paletas in the land of açai and maracuya. They market themselves as peddling Brazilian paletas, featuring Brazilian exotic flavors in the Mexican paleta style that their grandparents used to make.
The three types of paletas (fruity, creamy, filled) start at $3.49 and run to $4.49 for the filled. But how they are filled: chocolate with a dark Nutella center; strawberry with a core of condensed milk; an incredibly creamy banana that hides a sploodge of Nutella. The filled popsicles are time-consuming to make, craft pops that take up to three hours per batch. But this is their signature and niche.
Dipped in chocolate and topped, they’re attractive. Dark, Belgian milk, or white chocolate affixes chopped pistachios or hazelnuts, coconut flakes, sprinkles. So you can make art out of a strawberry-cheesecake filled paleta with dark chocolate and hazelnuts. Butter Pecan dipped in milk chocolate and coconut. I love the incredibly creamy Nutella-filled banana with chocolate and pistachios.
They also have fruity flavors like kiwi, guava, and an açai that’s vampy purple and tastes like a love-child with blackberry. (Brazil brought us açai bowls.) Nearby, on the counter, are large jars of agua frescas (horchata, cucumber lime mojito, and others).
Picolé means popsicle in Portuguese. The shop opened in early November. It’s quiet as a mouse during weekday football games, but open till 11pm on weekends, to attract the Bishop Arts crowd. A second location will open in Deep Ellum, near Pecan Lodge (you heard those rumors right). That opening is slated for next spring. Meanwhile, they’re rolling out nine seasonal December flavors soon, including ‘smores and eggnog. And on a night when they pack up a bunch to go in shiny silver zip-seal bags with an ice pack, you do feel like you’re carrying home art.