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Rita's (Formerly Rita's Water Ice), Pennsylvania-Based Water-Ice Franchise in 18 States with Dozens of Area Locations


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It's funny that we have a thread on the Philadelphia Water Ice Factory company, but not on Rita's, which I think is the more popular chain.

Anyway, Prince of Petworth posted that the new Chinatown location is giving away free small water ices until Friday.

The other reason is to post a :huh?: to the fact that the Chinese translation chosen for water ice is "popsicle" (xue gao - snow cake), which is more reference to popsicles made with ice cream, except that there is a closer translation than what they've chosen to use. That and loving the fact there's no "r" love, just "leda's."*

I first tasted Rita's in Delaware and am glad to see them expand down here. The franchises here do it a bit different than what I recall in Delaware, but it was still nice to have a first water ice experience.

*Of course, we can't pronounce "r's" and there's no translation in Chinese for that sound, but I couldn't help except do a double-take when I saw the blog pic because it said "leda's popsicles" which made no sense whatsoever.

ETA: Never understood the Chinatown law because there is no consistency in translation and wish DC would amend the law for some consistency. Hence the vent. Thanks!

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We ate at the Rita's in Chinatown last week after a Caps game. Great service, good flavors of ice, two different flavors of custard but we were the only 3 people in the entire place. The owner said that weekdays he is busier than weekends and that he will close the shop for the winter because it is not profitable to stay open! The Rita's in Landmark Plaza in Alexandria also closes for the winter season.

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We ate at the Rita's in Chinatown last week after a Caps game. Great service, good flavors of ice, two different flavors of custard but we were the only 3 people in the entire place. The owner said that weekdays he is busier than weekends and that he will close the shop for the winter because it is not profitable to stay open! The Rita's in Landmark Plaza in Alexandria also closes for the winter season.

The vast majority of Rita's close for the winter in their home PA/NJ territory. I think only recently have some been open for the winter and included indoor seating.

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The Rita's in Laurel is indoors and open year round.  The College Park Rita's opened the first week of March and was doing brisk business this week with the warm weather.

This year they are apparently jumping on the "all natural" bandwagon with a handful of italian ice flavors that don't use artificial colors/flavors. I'm sure there is just as much sugar as in the un-natural ones though.

The eggs have also returned to their frozen custard, which was replaced with regular soft-serve last summer during the egg shortage. I just wish the College Park location would carry the coffee flavor custard, but they usually only have some kind of fruit (orange or strawberry) flavor in addition to the vanilla/chocolate standbys.

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In 2011, a controlling interest in Rita's was sold to Falconhead Capital, LLC: an investment firm with over $500 million in capital. This shouldn't be surprising, given the sheer number of Rita's that have popped up in recent years. The good thing about a product like this is that it's so simple to maintain quality, even an investment firm can do it.

A key point to this statement is that every single post before nelumbo's (above) was written before this sale occurred, and would apply to the "old" Rita's.

Also, I'm pretty sure Rita's used to be called Rita's Water Ice; now, it's simply Rita's.

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