Legendary taco spot Lucha Libre has reconfigured its North Park location, which opened in 2015, consolidating operations to left side of the space to make way for Zonkey Paletas, a new venture specializing in Mexican paletas and aguas frescas.
Its famous wrestling ring had to be sacrificed for the move, but co-owner José Luis Rojano tells Eater that it’s been donated to a local wrestling school.
Named after the painted donkeys providing photo ops on Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion, a spectacle that dates back to the 1930s in the border town, Zonkey is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., offering more than 20 different paletas, customizable with various toppings and dipping options. Its creative flavors range from the Cosita, made with pineapple, chamoy, hoja santa, and cilantro to the Ponytail, a mix of white peach, grapefruit, elderflower, and bergamot and the Nana Fosters, a banana and nutmeg paleta filled with cajeta.
Partnering with award-winning bartender Andrew “Coco” Cordero, formerly of CH Projects, Zonkey also features boozy frozen popsicles inspired by cocktails, including the Grasshopper, with pistachio, koji miso, mint, Pedro Ximenez and a take on a Piña Colada that blends blue rice, with coconut cream, mandarin, and Oloroso. The shop will even rent out mini paleta carts for parties and special events.
A variety of aguas frescas includes a version with fresh watermelon, yerba mate, passionfruit, and lime and the classic horchata, made here with toasted rice, blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, and whole milk. Its chamoy-rimmed coolers, including grapefruit-celery and strawberry-cucumber, will get fizzy boost from either mineral water or beer.
Owned by Rojano, his brother Diego Rojano-Garcia, and their families, Luche Libre Taco Shop has other locations in Mission Hills and at Sycuan Casino. The brothers shared that they plan to expand Zonkey as a stand alone business as well as incorporate the paletas and aguas frescas into existing and future taco shops.