Rita’s Italian Ice is coming to the KC market

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The gelati at Rita’s.

A few years ago, Kansas City was besieged by burger joints — Smashburger, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Jack in the Box (which returned after a three-decade absence) all brought their takes on the hamburger to the area. And now, just like a culinary Chinese zodiac, 2014 appears to be the year of frozen desserts.

Andy’s Frozen Custard expects to open in the former Terry’s Service Center this fall. Tropical Sno is opening a second Hawaiian shaved ice location in Waldo. And a franchisee group has been given the territory of Kansas and the Kansas City area (on both sides of State Line) for Rita’s Italian Ice. Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly recently opened the first Rita’s in Kansas in their hometown of Wichita at 2929 N Rock Road.

Rita’s serves Italian ice, frozen custard, gelati (custard layered on ice) a Misto shake (which blends ice and custard), Blendinis (ice, custard and toppings blended together), sundaes and frozen lemonade. The Italian ice shop is ubiquitous in Philadelphia (where the Millers and Reilly got the idea to bring the franchise to Kansas), much like Dunkin’ Donuts is as common as street signs in Boston. The 30-year chain, which originated in Philly and is headquartered in Pennsylvania, has more than 600 locations in 23 states, as well as an outpost in Shenzen, China.

Any Italian ice aficionados have an advanced scouting report on Rita’s?

[Image via Facebook: Rita’s Italian Ice]

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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