Rita’s Italian Ice, a restaurant chain focusing on Italian ice, frozen custard, and specialty creations, is opening a new location in St. Augustine at 70 Silver Forest Drive, Suite 101.
The company’s newest location will move into a newly built development near SilverLeaf Village, according to a recent plan change application. Franchise owner Craig Stowers, who serves as the founder and CEO at Ramarc Solutions, tells What Now Jacksonville that he hopes to open this location in Fall 2023, possibly mid-September. This will be the company’s first location in Northeast Florida, with two sites in Lakeland and Valrico. New locations are coming to Lithia and Kissimmee.
Rita’s Italian Ice opened in 1984 under founder Bob Tumolo, a former firefighter who opened the eatery with his wife, Rita. The family opened a second location in 1987 before deciding to franchise the business two years later. Today, there are over 600 locations in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Rita’s Italian Ice expanded internationally in 2013 when it opened its first location outside the United States in Shenzhen, China.
When the new location opens later this year, customers can expect a variety of frozen desserts, which the company initially advertised its product as “water ice.” All items on the menu include some combination of water, ice, custard, and toppings. Its Blendini combines frozen custard and water ice blended with a topping, while the Gelati is made with water ice between frozen custard. The sweet shop also offers milkshakes, soft serve, and other desserts.