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Rita's - Is it really "Happiness"?

There is a new "Rita's Ice Custard Happiness" coming to Westfield, NJ. I have never been to a Rita, but always in search for a new flavor kick I would certainly try.

I'm usually a bit hesitant about ice cream chains. In my opinion, they essentially dispense individual portions of a massproduced mainstream product that you could buy at the supermarket, give it a fancy name and charge a multiple of the price.

From the Website, Rita's seems to have confusing selection of Italian Ice, Frozen Custards and several combinations thereoff. There is a Blendini, Misto and Gelati. (The latter one doesn't look like it has anything to do with actual Italian Gelato).

Any recommendations what's worthwhile and what flavors are good.

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  1. rita's is wonderful. the selection of flavors changes constantly (mango or root beer are my faves but i try to sample others with subsequent visits). the soft serve frozen custard mixed WITH the ice sounds odd but try it, it works!!! as far as gelati goes, i think thats just another word they use for their soft serve. they don't carry gelato in the traditional sense (i'm sure this could change since it's a seasonal operation) from what i've seen in the past.
    give em a try, the water ices are the main draw imho, rita's means summer has arrived in nj.

    2 Replies
    1. re: spinach

      Spinach, thanks for your response. You convinced me. I will try them and I really have a mango fetish, too.

      1. re: FoodFetish

        Mango Ice with their vanilla custard (what they call a gelati), yumm!!!

    2. I don't know what a blendini is, but I can clear up the difference between a misto and a gelati.

      A gelati is layers of your choice of water ice and your choice of custard in a cup. You eat with a spoon and you have the choice of eating the ingredients separately, or combining them together, because of the way they are layered in the cup.

      A misto whirls the custard and water ice in a cup, and you drink it with a straw. Similar to a milkshake, but not as thick and more icy. It's good in it's own way, and more convenient to drink in the car than eating a gelati.

      Then you can order a water ice by itself, or custard by itself. The water ice is very good, especially if you stay with the natural fruit flavors. Mango is one of my favorites, along with black cherry. Most of their fruit ices have actual chunks of fruit in them.

      Enjoy! If there's one thing I miss about my hometown, it's the Rita's!

      1 Reply
      1. re: QueenB

        Good explanations on the misto and gelati. I always describe the misto as a type of smoothie.

        The blendini is their version of an Arctic Swirl where they mix in toppings (oreo's, m and m's, nilla wafers, etc) with their ice and custard

      2. Count me in as another Rita's fan. Love Melon Twister mistos. Just can't afford to splurge on misto's/gelatis too often.

        1. We just got 2 Ritas in my area of Ohio. Went in, realized that they do not carry peanut butter anything, no fresh bananas, no name brand Oreos and that was quite enough for me.

          1. Rita's real fruit ices are fabulous. Try the green apple if they have it. The sugar free flavors are, unfortunately, not very good. The frozen custard (soft ice cream) is the richest and creamiest I've ever had

            1. I love Rita's. Tangerine ice and vanilla custard gelati is my fav. Mango, passion fruit, and the 'berrys get honorable mentions.

              I recently discovered that they will sell the kid sizes to adults (no age restrictions). A $2 cup of ice is just enough to satisfy my craving.

              5 Replies
              1. re: viperlush

                Ok, I'm the one person who does not enjoy Rita's. I find it overly sweet, sickenly in fact. When it first came out years ago (had to be at least 10 or more) I thought it was pretty good but for some reason, I think that they may have changed something about the "recipe" as they have expanded. Or maybe it's just my tastes in ice cream and ices have changed over the years and I prefer more premium brands.

                I'd rather go get a regular Italian ice any day over the water ice - or Carvel or Dairy Queen if I was going to have soft ice cream. But I know I'm the minority.

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  I'm with you sivyaleah. Maybe b/c there's much better water ice to be had in Philly, but I'm not into Rita's. First, it's overpriced and undersized. Second, I'm not a fan of big chunks in my ice. They even put chocolate in their chocolate water ice, which is a little weird to me.

                  If you ever spend a summer day in Philly, stop at John's for a pineapple or Mancuso's for lemon. That's what water ice should be!

                  1. re: lawgirl3278

                    Is Rosie's still there? We always went to Rosie's when I was a kid, and Rita's was our back-up. In Florida, I only have Rita's for my water ice fix.

                  2. re: sivyaleah

                    I'm with you - Ritas does NOTHING for me. blech.

                    1. re: sivyaleah

                      I stopped eating sugar for 12 years. I recently started up again and am committed to sampling everything before getting back on the wagon. Soft serve used to be amongst my favorite indulgences. I'd never heard of Rita's until about 8 years ago when one landed nearby - heard so many good things about it. They advertised "custard," which is made with eggs. With enormous anticipation I went to Rita's for my first soft serve in 12 years. It was VILE. DISGUSTING! The worst Dairy Queen is 10 times better. Thick not with eggs but corn starch - overly sweet and gritty, with no trace of real vanilla present. Or artificial for that matter, nearly completely flavorless. Not to mention $2.96 for a "Baby Cone." What a hoax. Ben and Jerry's from the store is still good, just as I remember it, but I still miss Frusen Gladje.

                  3. Happy Spring - Free Rita Rice = Happiness for details see link


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: shabbystorm

                      Um does this incude the ones Open Year Round???

                      1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                        Dunno - check out the link, for participating locations.

                        1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                          It does here in Florida. The Clearwater and Seminole locations are both doing it.

                      2. Never had a Misto,Gelati or anything at Rita's but Italian Ice...Large flavor selection, and I enjoy ALL of them...Tis the season...

                        1. There are times when you just NEED something over-the-top sweet. My fav is the chocolate and coconut! Like a frozen Mounds bar!

                          1. Just logging my vote for a NAY...NAY to Happiness via Rita's ices. Plus they have no idea what "Custard" is as far as I can tell. Call it soft-serv cause that's what it tastes like.

                            yep, I'd rather eat gelato from Whole Foods, Trader Joes etc.
                            I will not go to another Rita's again unless I want to pay a lot for something that will disappoint me.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: masha bousha

                              Rita's custards sucks...............
                              We went last night in Bridgeport, CT
                              The custard was airy, and not very cold,
                              it was slimy and tasted like vanilla grease
                              My wife and I had upset stomaches all night.

                              I love frozen custard, BUT Rita;s has no idea what that is.
                              I don't think this location will survive the summer, and they don't deserve to.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                I concur. Rita's "custard" is TERRIBLE, third-rate. The vanilla is flavorless, texture disgustingly gritty with cornstarch, exorbitantly overpriced - $2.96 for a "Baby Cone." What a hoax! (True custard has egg yolks.)

                                1. re: FrusenGladje

                                  A friend of mine calls it Custard's Last Stand.

                            2. Rita's is absolutely amazing. I think it might be a reason for me to move away from Hawaii...its that amazing. I don't care for mistos or blendinis, but a blueberry gelati is my equivalent of heaven. Also, the frozen custard is really creamy and good. I grew up on it- the Rita's close to my home opened when I was in 4th grade, so I have fond memories and hold it close to my heart.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Mag454

                                Rita's is NOT the same as it was years ago! It was bought by a franchise company from Pittsburgh a few years ago and is wayyyy overexpanded, quality varies widely, and the flavors have become increasingly generic and syrupy. Blendinis are NOT good -- too sweet, and in my opinion, none of their flavors go very well together with vanilla or chocolate custard and candy to create the Blendini.

                                1. re: sadiefox

                                  Rita's custard is TERRIBLE, third-rate. The vanilla is flavorless, texture disgustingly gritty with cornstarch, exorbitantly overpriced - $2.96 for a "Baby Cone." What a hoax!