Shelton, Connecticut – Dave’s Gourmet Paletas, a healthy ice cream option that recently set up shop in Shelton, opened its stores just in time for the hot summer months.
According to owner Dave Rock, the store officially opened for business in mid-May on River Road at the former location of Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard.
The Shelton store is Dave’s second location after the successful launch in Fairfield that often attracts customers from Shelton, Derby and Stratford.
According to Rock, the Shelton site offers much more space, including a larger kitchen in which both Shelton and Fairfield products are prepared.
“It’s twice the size of Fairfield,” said Rock. “We’re able to get people seated, and we’re working on getting some seating outside in the front. We’re running around and doing the dip. All 21 flavors are [available]The same flavors found in Fairfield are available at Shelton.”
The website describes the pallets as “colorful plates of homemade ice cream and fresh fruit on a stick” that are popular in Mexico and other areas of the United States.
Additionally, Rock noted that the store serves both dairy and non-dairy dishes.
“We have five non-dairy flavors that will taste like ice cream,” said Rock. “It’s more fruity and more solid. Then we have… 16 other flavors that will taste like ice cream. They’re made from dairy, and they’ll taste like ice cream minus the additives and preservatives. They’re all made by the chef at the back of the restaurant in our kitchen.”
While the concept may be new to some, store staff often guide customers through the various flavors of paleta on offer and guide them through the decision-making process, Rock said.
“With us, it’s walking around in something they’ve never tried before and talking about our product, building it with the person who chooses to dip in and then decorate. I think it’s more of an intimate and experiential vibe when you get our product, so it’s fun that way,” said Rock.
The real difference between Dave’s and other ice cream parlors in the area, said Rock, is the ingredients not found in their products.
“All of our recipes are ours,” said Rock. “Our chef makes it by hand. You can pronounce all the ingredients. No additives, no preservatives, nothing.”
According to Rock, the store’s boards will go bad in about 15 days due to a lack of chemicals in them, so their produce is always fresh.
“None of these chemicals are in our ice cream, and I think that’s what sets it apart,” said Rock. “A lot of people sell chemicals in a cup or chemicals in a cone. That’s not who we are. We don’t believe in putting chemicals in our ice cream. It’s a lot different.”
Rock said Shelton has already proven to be a huge hit with customers and that the store’s first month of operation went smoothly.
“On the first day, we had a streak before we opened at noon that was forming outside,” said Rock. “We opened up and people were placing orders, and it was really fun to see a line.”
For Rock, the community itself is one of the biggest attractions of opening a second location in Shelton.
“I’m from Fairfield, but I’m at Chilton all the time,” said Rock. “We’re just looking to be part of the Chilton community and kind of serve that community, immerse ourselves and be part of that community’s decision-making when it comes to where they go to buy ice cream.”