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.
Ice Cream | Restaurants
10 thoughts on “Flavored Water”
Usually, I love your posts, but this one is a no. I know it may be the only place with water ice around so I can see that. I’m gonna scope a spot that I’ve heard about to see if they still do their thing and I’ll message you privately. If I don’t message you, it was a fail.
Hey Jamie. By all means suggest some good independents. I share your reluctance to give a corporate chain a break. And I do find a few of Rita’s flavors revolting. However, I’ve sampled all of the independent water ice places that I’ve been able to find in the area, and the only one that I think is consistently better than Rita’s is Vincent’s. And his soft serve isn’t as good as Rita’s custard (though I get his Gelati with home made ice cream which is to die for).
It’s only partially because it’s a chain. I know the consistency has a lot to do with it. I just do not like their water ice at all. And you are right about their custard. It is good.
If you’re looking for good water ice. Find a place that serves Rosati’s water ice. Arctic Ice Cream sells it in bulk to other businesses. They also sell cases of single serving water ices.
In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can find some homemade water ice within a decent radius to the city.
And I also love gelati’s with home made ice cream. Lemon ice and chocolate ice cream is my fave! LoL
Sounds like we agree more than we disagree. We’ll happily cover an independent with good water ice if you can find one. At Rita’s, my own preferences are pretty much Lemon, Mango, and wild cherry, which are all OK in my book.
They used to have a mixed wild berry or triple berry as a specialty flavor. That was good. It had blueberries in it.
While VeginCity grew up near Philly, this is Millman and I grew up in North Jersey. For me, water ice and Rita’s was a revelation. Despite its flaws, I think it’s worth covering for folks who move here, especially.
LoL. I was born and raised in Trenton with my grandparents. It spoiled me along the lines of good food. It made me super picky about a lot of food and how it should be made, but I also hold sentimental value towards things that aren’t the greatest. I love them because they’re part of my childhood and they bring back good memories. Like pizza from Columbus and what not.
Or better yet, try CARVEL!
Where I’m from we call them Italian ices