Irma is best known as founder (with her sister Norma) of Las Paletas, the purveyor of yummy Mexican-style frozen treats, the equivalent of gourmet Popsicles. Bob, of course, rules over the Bongo Java coffee empire. In a move as endearing as it is brilliant, the husband and wife are partners in Hot & Cold, a concept that will unite coffee and frozen treats.
"Usually, when ice cream places try to do coffee, it's lousy," he says. "And when coffee places try to do ice cream, it's lousy." The couple hope to dodge those pitfalls by taking the erstwhile Smoothie King spot (next to Bongo Java flagship cafe Fido) and configure it with the coolers and display space that ice cream requires along with the setup and expertise to ensure a good cup of joe.
Bernstein says Hot & Cold will sell coffee, paletas and locally made ice cream. Fido veteran Jeff Gibbs will manage the place, which hopes to open by Aug. 1.