Restaurateur Brian Rossi is expanding the footprint of his Mexican food-and-drink business at the corner of South Broadway and Louisiana Avenue. With Adelitas Cocina y Cantina going strong and the newer Palenque Mezcaleria earning admiration for its mezcal and tequila list, Rossi is turning the duo into a trio with the addition of a Michoacán-style ice cream shop called La Chupaflor, which he hopes to open the week of July 13.
We asked Rossi a few questions about the project his inspiration for La Chupaflor, which will soon have a mural of hummingbirds pollinating agave plants to match a painting of bats flying toward agave that graces the exterior of Palenque next door.
Westword: What made you decide to open an ice cream/frozen dessert place?
Brian Rossi: Not only did we feel that the ice cream shop would be a good fit for our neighborhood, but it would also accompany Adelitas and Palenque extremely well. Now you can have one-stop shopping for dinner, drinks and dessert without leaving the block, and when you have a partner with a palate like Silvia Alaya [the chef at Adelitas/Palenque], you have to wonder about the ice cream flavors she can think up — and let me tell you, you have not lived until you've had bacon and maple syrup ice cream. In addition, between my family and my best-friend-turned-business-partner, we have five children, with another on the way, so we thought having an ice cream shop would give them a great place to work during the summers.
What will be on the menu, and what hours will the shop be open?
La Chupaflor will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., depending on business. Without giving away too much, we will have sixteen flavors to choose from. A few flavors on the menu include avocado, pistachio, queso, bacon and maple syrup, margarita [and] mezcal-infused orange sherbet. Silvia will only be using real flavorings and fruit. No artificial flavorings, colorings or additives. Some other items that La Chupaflor will have are a large selection of paletas, agua frescas — and just in case you were wondering, we will also be hosting an ice cream Taco Tuesday.
I had to look up chupaflor to learn that it means hummingbird. What's the inspiration?
Everything I do revolves around the maguey plant [agave]. So if you are standing on the sidewalk of Louisiana Avenue and look at Palenque, you will see what looks like a small agave field at night with bats flying around. If you look at La Chupaflor, you'll see a bright daytime scene with agaves and hummingbirds flying around. Two ways that magueys are pollinated are with bats and hummingbirds. So, needless to say, hummingbirds are my favorite bird.
Will there be any tequila- or mezcal-based desserts? That's on my personal wish list...
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Of course! I can't wait to see the flavor combinations Silvia comes up with. We have three flavors we're working on now. One is going to be margarita, another is the previously mentioned orange and mezcal, and another — which is probably going to be my favorite — will be raicilla [another agave-based spirit] and Squirt, which is primarily what we drink when we're with the raicilla producers.
Anything else customers will want to know?
Our inside seating will only have five tables that seat four people each, but we will provide benches in front of Adelitas and Palenque. We will also share the patio with Palenque. So, La Chupaflor will use the patio until 4 p.m., and at that time the patio will belong to Palenque customers, and when you dine at either Adelitas or Palenque, you'll be able to order La Chupaflor desserts while sitting at your table.