Pablo’s Ice Cream House opens on Frye Ave. in Peoria – Peoria Journal Star

PEORIA – A rundown commercial building on Frye Avenue is now a brightly-colored ice cream shop thanks to a family of entrepreneurs.  

Pablo’s Ice Cream House opened in March after Luis Delgado and his family spent many weeks overseeing extensive renovations to the building. Today, it’s a cheery place where customers can enjoy traditional Mexican fare. 

Delgado’s extended family originally settled in Chicago after emigrating from Mexico, but they made their way to Peoria later because of its affordability, said Adna Martinez, Delgado’s niece and manager of the store. 

“We moved here, I want to say it was like 2011. We all came in bunches,” she said. “One of our aunts moved here first, and one by one we all started going.” 

Martinez, who attended Peoria Public Schools and graduated from Woodruff Career and Technical Center’s culinary arts program, is excited to manage the family’s restaurant. On a recent Saturday she stood behind the counter negotiating with a group of neighborhood kids who visited the shop with a handful of coins. Serving myriad colorful frozen treats, the shop is a big hit with young residents of the surrounding neighborhood. 

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“The popsicles, some of them have chili, which is really spicy, for people who like the kick – I don’t, personally, but there’s also very sweet ones like chocolate and mango. I feel like the most popular one will always be strawberry,” said Martinez. 

With about 10 employees, the shop makes ice cream and popsicles from scratch with natural ingredients. Ice cream can be made into a variety of treats, from milk shakes to Mexican standards like the mangoneada with chamoy sauce, a concoction made from dried fruit and a touch of chili powder, providing a salty, spicy contrast to sweet ice cream. 

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The shop also serves traditional Mexican foods like tacos and flautas, and a traditional Honduran dish called pupusas. 

“It’s masa dough stuffed inside with cheese and beans. It’s not Mexican, but we do make it. We got someone to teach us how to make it,” said Martinez. 

Many of the dishes served in the shop are from family recipes passed down for generations, said Martinez. 

“We enjoy cooking something we grew up with,” said Martinez. “For Hispanic girls, it’s like, ‘Oh, you have to know how to cook,’ but it’s good because we keep the recipes going. They don’t change.” 

Leslie Renken can be reached at (309) 370-5087 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken. 

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