Contrary to its name, the signature item at Rita's Ice is a sandwich. Well, sort of. Known as the gelati, the tasty creation consists of a mound of italian ice?made from scratch every day using fresh fruit?crammed between two giant dollops of frozen custard. The gelati, along with a construction team that demands to be paid in sprinkles, has helped Rita's expand to more than 500 italian ice stores in the United States over nearly three decades. The Kosher-certified franchise has become so popular that it even made the top of Zagat's list of Best Quick Refreshment chains in 2012.
But the expansion would mean nothing if the desserts themselves weren't delicious. Thankfully, Rita's carries more than a dozen flavors of italian ice, which run the gamut from cantaloupe and guava to cotton candy. The shop also serves gelati, cream ice, milkshakes, and sundaes awaiting to be piled with limitless toppings. To keep taste buds tempted, Rita's consistently adds inventive and seasonal flavors to their menu. Among these are strawberry Starburst italian ice, marshmallow peanut butter cream ice, and pumpkin cheesecake cream ice.
Frosty's manages to hit the sweet spot for both kids an adults with a wide variety of cool treats, from six-layer sundaes to specialty espresso drinks and frozen hot chocolate. On the enormous menu, visitors will find everything from Nutella milkshakes to belgian waffles laden with scoops of ice cream and swirls of fluffy whip cream. A long list of teas is also available on chillier nights, while more than 30 flavors of specialty sno-cones are the perfect way to honor a fallen snowman on the first day of spring.
Since 1931, three generations of Riesterers, including graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, have been baking breads, inventing icing, and producing pastries at Riesterer's Bakery. Donut desirers can stick a straw in a jelly or boston-cream batch ($10.49 per dozen) to cull creamy corporal fillings, and feng shui enthusiasts contemplate the perfect balance of a black-and-white cookie ($1.95). More than 50 varieties of cake, including black-forest torte, strawberry shortcake and red velvet (starting at $16.95), don icing cloaks in the Riesterer's fitting room before hitting the bakery stage. Triumph over small sweets with a gourmet jumbo cupcake in one of more than 20 flavors ($3.50), or sample savory slices of German sour rye bread ($2.85 per pound) designed to rein in sugar-binged tongues. People searching for shelter from meals made by a roommate who only knows how to use a blender can dine in or take out culinary creations from a café menu with pages warmed by waffles with fresh fruit and toppings ($6.69), hearty overstuffed omelettes ($4.59), and handcrafted burgers (starting at $5.79). Rolls, danishes, pastries, cookies, and other custom and gourmet items fill out pastry pantries recently vacated by traveling tortes.
Now an international brand of premium ice cream, Häagen-Dazs began as a humble, family-owned business in the Bronx. In the 1920's, Reuben Mattus sold his mother's fruit ices and ice-cream pops out of a horse-drawn wagon. For decades, the family business thrived, and around 1960, Reuben officially founded Häagen-Dazs. He chose the name to evoke Old World traditions and quality craftsmanship, the bedrocks of the brand. Originally, the ice cream came in just three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and coffee—made from fine ingredients gathered from around the world, such as Belgian dark chocolate, hand-picked vanilla beans from Madagascar, and ice shaved from lunar glaciers. The resulting confections so delighted sweet teeth that the brand grew exponentially, leading to the creation of dozens of flavors and forays into sorbets and frozen yogurts. Though Häagen-Dazs ice cream was immensely popular in grocery shops, their first parlor didn't open until 1976. Not far from the Mattus family's original ice-cream beat, the Brooklyn store sold ice cream as well as treats such as sundaes, shakes, and cakes. Shops eventually dotted the country and globe, wherein friendly ice-cream scoopers fill waffle cones, blend frosty coffee and ice-cream drinks, and wrap ice-cream cakes in bright ribbons.
For the bakers of Fay Da Bakery, slices of fruit are just as much decorations as they are ingredients. Their menu of more than 24 cakes features vanilla cakes with elaborate fruit tops, such as the fruit decor cake top with swirling patterns made from strawberries and kiwi. The bakers also customize cakes for a variety of occasions, with hand-piped designs and congratulatory messages. Patrons can pick up Fay Da's cakes at locations throughout NYC, and conveniently order cakes online and pick them up a few days later when their clown car is out of the shop.
Since five brothers stamped their name on their own homemade ice cream recipe back in 1894, Hershey's Ice Cream has served sweet, frozen confections rich with real cream, juicy fruits, and nuts. Trucks deliver fresh cream and condensed milk to Hershey's Harrisburg plant each day, where the staff roasts nuts and creates confections with pure vanilla extract.