Emilio Soto was on his way to be a hygienist when he eventually realized that's not actually the career path he wanted to take.
In April, Emilio Soto and his mom Carina Soto opened Deliciocho — a small shop on Tucson's south side that sells raspados, tacos, tortas, and a number of snacks and desserts such as churro ice cream sandwiches and pickles stuffed with Mexican candies and chamoy.
The journey really began with Emilio Soto's dad, Emilio Soto Sr., who once owned a cellphone store and converted it into a shop to sell raspados.
If you're unfamiliar with raspados, they're similar to shaved ice but typically come with juice, chunks of fruit, ice cream and lechera (sweetened condensed milk). Or there are bolder versions with spicy candies and chamoy.
But when Emilio Soto's dad ended up selling the raspado shop, the younger Emilio says he felt discouraged because he had always thought about going into the business himself.
"When I started working there, I just had this passion for it. To come up with things that people don't normally see — it's like an art form to me," he says.
So when a spot became available on Nogales Highway near Valencia Road, Emilio and Carina Soto decided to give it a go.
"I've always been creative, so this is a good way to give someone things they've never experienced," Emilio Soto says.
"You feel accomplished when you give a service and you know it's a great service and that people enjoy it," Carina Soto says. "It's fulfilling when (customers) have a happy face."
Deliciocho's menu was partially inspired by Emilio Soto's dad, who is now a contractor but had always wanted to open a spot for tortas. And the birria recipe used at Deliciocho has been in the Soto family for generations, starting with Emilio Soto's grandmother Carmen Soto.
Other items on the menu include Hot Cheetos mixed up with chunks of pickles (which is something Emilio Soto's wife Brianda Soto ate while she was pregnant with their 1-year-old son); a number of ice cream treats with scratch-made churros sometimes rolled in cereal; a birria tostada wrap that's a more elevated version of Taco Bell's Crunchwrap; and raspados made with natural fruit juice.
And the name "Deliciocho" was inspired by one of Emilio Soto's favorite childhood shows "El Chavo Del Ocho."
Some names of menu items are based off of characters from the show, and there's even one churro dessert that comes in a mini souvenir barrel — because the main character in the show lives in a barrel.
"People who watch the show get a kick out of it," Emilio Soto says.
Of course, Deliciocho is one of many spots in Tucson to find raspados and antojitos, street snacks. Common delights at these shops include Tosti-Locos, fresas con crema (strawberries with cream) and elote. Check out 20 shops below.
Did we miss your favorite raspado shop? Email us!
Delicias De Michoacan
Delicias De Michoacan is one of only a handful of raspado shops on Tucson's east side.
According to their Facebook page, the shop started when the Iñiguez-Barragán family moved to Tucson in 2014 and started looking for the perfect spot to house their raspado business.
Deliciocho, which opened in the spring of 2021, is one of Tucson's newest raspado shops. In addition to the raspados and antojitos found at many raspado shops, Deliciocho also sells tacos and tortas.
Starting in 1999, Funland has served Tucson for more than two decades with its 13 flavors of raspados, snacks, ice cream and fruity treats. There are also burgers, Sonoran hot dogs, tamales and queso-Cheetos (a quesadilla packed with Hot Cheetos) at the Grant location.
GeMa Raspados & Delights
Hielitos Fine Ice
Owned by Peter "Pops" Yucupicio (the mastermind behind Pops Hot Chicken), Hielitos opened a spot at American Eat Co. during the COVID-19 pandemic. One unique item on the menu is the Michi-Agua, which is a mix of three aguas frescas, plus Mexican candies, chamoy and tajin.
Fans of Hielitos can also look forward to a new spot opening at Park Place Mall soon.
Jason's Mexican Food
Jason's Mexican Food is a fast-casual spot for food that includes tacos, carne asada fries, burritos, hot dogs and, of course, raspados.
Juice N' Fruit Raspados
Juice N' Fruit has more than a dozen natural juices, in addition to its 17 raspado flavors that range from the classics like strawberry and mango to flavors such as watermelon, cherry and banana.
Mangos Refresqueria Y Cafe
Mother-son duo Veronica and Carl Amaya started Mangos in 2017 after dabbling for years with the idea of opening their version of a "Mexican Starbucks."
Of course, Carl Amaya's favorite raspado flavor is mango. Beyond the raspados, you'll find elote (some of which are covered in Hot Cheetos dust), tacos, tortas and desserts such as a churro waffle.
Marymar, which has been around for about two decades, has all the raspado and antojito classics.
Marymar is also home to a full event space a few miles away.
Michoacán Taquería has everything from tacos to tortas to hot dogs to flautas, plus more than 10 raspado flavors to choose from.
Mr. Lokko Snack & Raspado Bar
Think salad bar... but with chips and candy. What more could you ask for?
Oasis Fruit Cones
With roots dating back to 1983, Oasis is one of Tucson's oldest raspado shops. The business started as a hobby of brothers Alfonso and John Carrizosa, who were inspired by their grandfather who sold raspados in his front yard in Mexico.
Paleteria y Neveria La Michoacana
Home to a pink and white striped building on the corner of Sixth Avenue is Paleteria y Nevaria La Michoacana (and yes, the interior matches the exterior). In addition to raspados, the shop sells lots of ice cream treats and fruit popsicles.
Peña's serves up all the classics you'd expect to find at a raspado shop — raspados, macedonias (fruit and ice cream, minus the shaved ice), elote, pico de gallo (not the salsa, but fruit with chile and lime) and nachos.
Raspados El Paraiso
Raspados El Paraiso has been serving Tucson for about six years. Last year, owner Ana Castro expanded the shop with a second location.
Castro's grandmother used to sell raspados from a cart in Sinaloa — and Castro still uses some of those recipes.
Raspados La Niña
Located in a little pink building on Park Avenue is Raspados La Niña.
The shop sells goodies like breakfast burritos, quesadillas and caramelos, in addition to about 10 flavors for raspados.
The Robles family has been serving raspados to Tucsonans for more than two decades, originally starting with Sonoran Sno-Cones (more on that shop below).
Sonoran Delights, which is more of a taqueria with tortas, burros and tacos, has been around since 2005.
Sonoran Sno-Cones officially opened in 1999.
Beyond raspados, the menu of this shop in the Mercado includes creations such as Churros Locos, which are churro chips with cucumber, Clamato, lime and chile; and Tosti-Bombs, which is a bag of corn chips with your choice of five toppings.
Ta' Raspado has loads of raspado flavors to choose from, plus tortas, natural juices, ice cream treats and other antojitos.
Taqueria Pico de Gallo
While Taqueria Pico de Gallo, which has been a Tucson staple for decades, is most known for its tacos and freshly-made corn tortillas, they also have raspados!