Shop Name: Rita's Italian Ice
Location: Lincoln Highway
Boo's Rating: 3 Screams
I gave Rita's a decent rating because the "water ice" is flavorful and the frozen custard is creamy and delicious. But let's be clear, kids- it ain't no ice cream stand. I asked some locals where they go for good ice cream and they sent me to Rita's, so I tried it. Imagine my surprise to find NO ICE CREAM on the menu. Frozen custard is pretty good, though. I'd never had it before moving to PA, and for those of you who've never experienced it, it's like an extra-thick, really creamy soft serve. Yum. I sampled a "gelati" with vanilla custard and raspberry ice..... more on that later.
Rita's "Italian Ice" is often referred to around here as "water ice." That seems strange to me. Isn't that kind of redundant? Anyway, the ice at Rita's has more of a slush consistency. I'm used to Italian ice that's a little more solid, and much smaller ice crystals. You know the kind- it comes in a little paper cup and you scrape the ice with a little wooden spoon! To each his own- I'm not here to critique ice. Also, Rita's always has a sugar-free ice flavor so yay for that.
What bothers me about Rita's is their "gelati." I hate to break it to you, but pouring slush over frozen custard in NO WAY resembles gelato, and changing the last letter of that word doesn't fool anyone. Let me sum it up: Slush by itself, tasty. Frozen custard by itself, also tasty. The two together: Not so tasty and also not gelato. I was surprised that they don't even mix the two. I think if they did, it might give it a consistency more in line with gelato. Instead, they just pour one on top of the other! Weird, right? I guess some people like it, or it wouldn't be on their menu.
So, in the end I gave Rita's 3 screams. They lost points for not actually serving ice cream, but flavor and consistency of their products (when served separately) is pretty good. I'm not taking points away for the whole gelati argument since it's really up to the patron to decide whether or not they want to combine ice and custard. Also, even though I'm not a fan, obviously some people are and my beef with Rita's is more the misleading naming of the treat.