Rita’s Italian Ice brings East Coast to the north side

Rita’s Italian Ice is close to opening a Colorado Springs store in late June, adding one more to its more than 600 stores worldwide. The company is based out of Pennsylvania, where it got its start in 1984. Like everything else, it’s now owned by a private equity group, who bought it from another private equity group in 2011, though most locations are franchises.

Still, judging by its Facebook page and comments on a KKTV story, locals are pretty stoked for Rita’s.  “My life is complete,” writes Whitney Sandoval. “Don’t hate.” Adds Aracelis Perez: “Absolutely necessary.”  Naturally, it’s former East Coasters who seem to be driving the hype.

The gist is Italian ice and “Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard.” This includes things that sound tasty (fresh mango Italian ice) and things that don’t (JOLLY RANCHER® Green Apple Italian Ice, SWEDISH FISH®). There are “All-Natural Italian Ice” options available in pineapple, strawberry, orange and banana flavors. The company is also well known for giving away free product on the first day of spring, something it did for the 24th time this past March.

“Rita’s [First Day of Spring] tradition is so incredibly unique in that it brings kids, grandparents and everyone in between together and puts a smile on their faces year after year without fail,” said Rita’s CEO Jeff Moody in a press release at the time. “If FDOS wasn’t ‘sweet’ enough, this year there’s twice as much to celebrate as our fans can again enjoy our famous Frozen Custard in all of our stores nationwide.”

So, if Rita’s rings a bell — and a certain part of me recoils at “delicious frozen treats” like “layered Gelati, blended Misto Shake and a personalized Blendini” — look for it across from the Chapel Hills Mall, on the western side, in the near future.