Open seasonally, Spring through Fall
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
Note 3 additional locations (it is a chain!): in Ewing, Lawrence, and Morrisville
1400 Parkway Avenue (Ewing); 2070 US Highway 1 at Whitehead Road (Lawrenceville);815 W. Trenton Avenue, Morrisville, PA
Water Ice is a Philly confection: a slush (like a slurpee) made from water, sugar, and flavorings. In Rita’s case, the flavorings are generally fruit (my favorites: mango, wild-cherry, and lemon) with chunks of fruit mixed-in. Rita’s is a chain started in a suburb of Philly in 1984, that has been aggressively expanding in the mid-Atlantic states with some 400 stores.
Water ice is made fresh in each Rita’s store, and thrown out if not consumed within 36 hours. This is one of the ways that Rita’s seems to do a better job than most independent competition (though, check out Vincent’s, an independent who makes superb water ice).
Rita’s also does a superb Frozen Custard…denser and creamier than a Dairy Queen or Soft Serv, and better than anything I’ve ever had in an independent shop. On it’s own, I find it TOO rich. But mixed with water-ice, in a concoction they call “Gelati”, it’s heavenly. They put a layer of custard at the bottom of the cup, fill it with water ice, then crown it with another dollop of custard. Careful eaters can get a bit of custard with every bite of ice.
Rita’s hours vary seasonally, and are closed during the winter. On the first day of spring (the day of this original posting) they offer a free regular water ice just for showing up.
If you read this site, you’ll see I’m not a big fan of chains. But I make an exception for Rita’s. They do a very good job.