Five Local Dallas Paleterias That Give The Carpetbagging Steel City Pops a Run For Its Money.

As unpredictable as the weather in Texas can be — earthquakes and floods and tornadoes, oh my! — one thing you can always count on is that, come summer, it's going to get pretty damn hot around these parts. And what's a hot Dallasite to do but to look for A/C, shade and/or a nice refreshing popsicle for some respite?

Anyone that's been to Lower Greenville lately has seen the ridiculously long lines that stretch out of Steel City Pops on a hot summer day. It's a pretty ridiculous sight to behold: Not only do you have to stand in that line if you want a cool-down treat, but you're paying $3 per pop for an Alabama-based brand? C'mon, that's pure nonsense.

Well, come closer, friends, and I'll tell you a secret: If you're in the know, you can get the same treats, in more flavors and for a third of the price, at places where there's never any lines.

These magical oases are the various Mexican paleterias that are hiding right in plain sight throughout the region. For those not up on this culture, here's a paleteria crash course: Most of these are family-owned local shops that specialize in popsicles — or paletas — that are mostly made in-house, and while the flavors options range between shops, that's part of the fun. Plus, in addition to paletas, most of these spots also offer up snacks like elotes, chips and Mexican cokes.

That said, here are five of our favorite paleterias to check out when the Texas heat becomes unbearable and you feel like flipping those damn lines the bird.

Paleteria Neveria (203 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas).
Flavor sampled: Tamarind.
Credit/Debit Card Accepted? Yes, no minimum.
Anyone that's visited to the Historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff has walked by this establishment at least one or twice. Paleteria Neveria is a sister store to the Paleteria La Mexicana spot located just a few blocks down Jefferson (more on that store later), so they share a lot of the same flavors. The big draw here is the proximity to the theater, and the $1.50 popsicles.

La Original Michoacan (415 W. Davis St., Dallas).
Flavor sampled: Mango y Chile.
Credit/Debit Card Accepted? Yes, no minimum.
Located near Cafe Brazil in Bishop Arts — well, for now, as the shop recently announced that rising rents are forcing it to move to Arlington come the end of July — this is one of the more adventurous paleterias around, at least flavor-wise. Their mango y chile popsicle is the perfect mix of fruity and spicy, and makes for a fine, refreshing treat on a hot day. If, for whatever reason, you're not wanting popsicles on your visit, be sure to try the Gansito Split, which is basically a banana split with a Gansito (think a better tasting, chocolate-covered and strawberry-filled Twinkie) subbing in for the banana.

Paleteria Y Neveria Frutitas (539 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas).
Flavor sampled: Cookies & Cream.
Credit/Debit Card Accepted? Yes, but there's a $5 minimum.
This paleteria is one of the oldest in town and, as such, it boasts one of the largest selections of popsicles around, from your most-standard fruit-based fare to sweeter options. Better yet, they're all available for about a buck each. Given this store's $5 credit card minimum, I came away with a cookies & cream pop, a Mexican Coke, a large bag of duros fritos and a bag of chips. Not a bad haul!

Paleteria La Mexicana (817 E. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas).
Flavor sampled: Lime.
Credit/Debit Card Accepted? No, cash only.
This busy sister site to Paleteria Neveria, this spot has many of the same flavors and assorted snacks that the other shop has. The big benefit here, though, is that there's a parking lot right next to the shop, allowing for easy access. This is very much a to-go store, and perhaps the best place to just quickly grab a bunch of popsiles for the crew.

La Michoacana Ice Cream and Fruitsicles (8086 Spring Valley Road, Richardson).
Flavors sample: Pistachio and Bubble Gum.
Credit/Debit Card? Yes, no minimum.
This was my personal favorite of all of the places I checked out for this piece. Why? Because, beyond just a ton of flavors, the options they keep around are all pretty out there. Tamarind? Pistachio? Pinenut? Soursop? Prune? Yeah, you can get all of those here, even if you didn't know you wanted them. As for me, my personal favorite flavor was the bubble gum flavor, which was sweet but not too sweet and just full of flavor. While not located in a trendy neighborhood like Lower Greenville or Bishop Arts, it's still pretty close to the Central Expressway, and it's a nice, bright store with a friendly staff and large menu of snacks.

All photos by Allie Williamson

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