Ice cream means more than dessert to business owner Jose Luis Ordóñez.
It’s a reminder of his childhood in Mexico, where his best friend’s grandfather taught him how to make homemade ice cream. The older man was a mentor, keeping Ordóñez working to stay “out of the streets” at 14.
When Ordóñez came to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, he worked for years in various jobs. But in 2017 he sold everything he owned to start his business, opening his shop on Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff in August. The colorful decorations in La Chula Michoacana make it look like an ice cream shop out of the movie Coco. The Michoacan-style ice cream is known in the west central region of Mexico for its softer, creamier texture.
He calls ice cream his passion. And his American dream.
“I always missed the flavor of that man’s ice cream. I never realized how good it was. With sacrifice, after 20 years, my dream to be a truck driver ended up being a paleteria,” Ordóñez said in Spanish.
He sells a variety of desserts and snacks, but the novelty is in the ice cream.
Ordóñez and his wife, Denis Hernandez, get to the store hours before it opens to slice the fruit and make new flavors. Each day, he offers 36 store-made ice cream flavors and 50 paleta flavors. They also sell various desserts, including elaborate fruit treats, yogurts and flavored water, or aguas frescas.
Ice cream shops, or neverías, are special places in Mexico. It’s where cousins and families go together. Sometimes, it’s a reward for good behavior or as a post-church tradition. Ordóñez wanted to make sure he had enough space for tables to seat several families.
Veronica Galvan of Dallas brought her two kids one day for a treat instead of their typical Sonic visit after noticing the store.
“They have a lot of flavors I’ve never seen before,” Galvan said. “My kids loved their ice creams.”
La Chula Michoacana offers flavors like Ferrero Rocher chocolate, fresh fruit flavors like strawberry and mango ice cream. Those who love Mexican sweet treats like Gansitos and Mazapan will also be surprised to find that Ordóñez has created flavors in honor of those childhood favorites. There’s also a wide variety of unique ice cream flavors to try: tequila, queso and elote.
Our panel of taste-testers from The Dallas Morning News had a few of the flavors.
Here’s a few takeaways for four flavors in our taste test:
If you thought Ferrero Rocher candy was delicious, just wait until you have it in ice cream form. “This is really rich,” said GuideLive writer Tiney Riccardi. “I feel like I’m being wrapped in a chocolate blanket.”
This might sound a little strange since it’s made with cotija cheese. But it tastes a lot like cheesecake. Not everyone loved the texture of the crumbly cheese, but most agreed that asking for fruit toppings could make it better.
This is a water-based treat made with fresh mangoes. It was like eating a mango in thick smoothie form and definitely a favorite among everyone in the group.
No, this does not have real tequila in it. It has the smell and flavor, but no liquor. It’s a fun flavor to try, but not the most delicious.
Location: 211 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.