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Rita's Water Ice is an East Coast regional chain based in Trevose, PA in Bensalem Township, selling mainly Italian ice, frozen custard, and gelati (not traditional Gelati, see below), as well as its specialty creations.
Rita's was founded in 1984 by former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo with a recipe that he purchased from an elderly neighbor that he then adjusted to enhance the flavors and include real fruit. By 1987 a second store was opened and in 1989 the family decided to franchise their business. Today there are over 500 locations and in 17 states and the District of Columbia. In May 2005, a new era in the evolution of Rita’s was ushered in with the sale of the company to McKnight Capital Partners, a private equity group with extensive franchise experience. McKnight Capital Partners recognized the organization’s growth potential and set into place plans to take the company to the next level.
In April 2007, Rita's moved its Bensalem headquarters to the Trevose section of Bensalem Township..
Rita's traditionally gives out a free regular sized water ice on the first day of Spring..
- Water ice (Italian ice).
- Frozen custard.
- Gelati, water ice covered with either frozen custard or Slenderita.
- Misto, a drink of frozen custard blended with water ice.
- Blendini, a Misto blended with crushed Oreo pieces, Nilla Wafer pieces, pretzel pieces or M&M's Minis.
- Ritaccino, a drink blending frozen custard, water ice and coffee flavoring.
- Slenderita, fat-free soft serve.
- Cream Ice (ice cream).
In March 2010, Rita's Water Ice announced it would partner with Bethlehem-based Just Born, Inc. to introduce a seasonal Peeps Brand Marshmallow Candy flavored ice.
The partnership between Rita's and Peeps will provide new taste combinations, such as "Peeps Chocolate Covered Gelati", "Peeps Chocolate Covered Misto" and "Peeps Pie Blendini".