Ices and frozen custard . . . what more could one ask for?


Rita’s of Franklin Square

887 Hempstead Turnpike, Franklin Square

(516) 445-3938

Those who have missed Rita’s Ices in West Hempstead, which closed in 2008, will be thrilled to hear that last month, only blocks away, Rita’s of Franklin Square debuted. Owners are Anne Gentile and her fiancé, Randy Mesh, who adore the product and the idea of starting a “happy” business together.

As a franchise with many great resources, Rita’s offers a fantastic selection of treats and variations to please any palate. Known for Italian Ices and old fashioned frozen custard, Rita’s comes in many flavors, with an array of creative ideas. Rita’s dates back to 1984, when a Philadelphia firefighter opened a small Italian ice business to augment his income, and named it after his wife, Rita. With the help of his mother, they added fresh fruit and created recipes and flavors. By 1989, the business had grown to more than 100 franchises in nine states.

What’s unique about Rita’s, said Gentile, is the freshness. Ices are made on the premises every day. Whatever doesn’t sell within 36 hours must be tossed out. And last year, their frozen custard was rated No. 1 by Zagat’s. The ices and custards can only be purchased at a Rita’s Ices.

The Franklin Square location opened on April 15. It is one of the few walk-in Rita’s stores. They have digital menu boards, inside and outside seating, and sell ice cream cookie sandwiches and frozen custard cakes. They also do catering for all sorts of events — block parties, company picnics, barbecues, etc. — where they bring ices to the site.

Selections change every day and new flavors are brought in frequently. Water ices are made daily at the store with fresh fruit. Their cream ice boasts a silky consistency. Gelati is a layering of your choice of Italian ice and frozen custard. Misto is a blending of Italian ice and custard, which you can drink through a straw. Create your own sundae with frozen custard and unlimited toppings. Milkshakes are made with vanilla or chocolate custard and the option of whipped cream. Sugar-free ices, sweetened with Splenda, are always available too.

Many of the recipes carry popular candy names. The newest is their Strawberry Star Burst ices. For a tangy pucker, try Sour Patch Kids red ices. Or, picture marshmallow swirled into cool, creamy peanut butter custard. The options are endless.

Rita’s opens every day at noon. As the summer unfolds, they will stay open until11 p.m. every night.