In Italy, ice is so abundant that it even comes in exotic flavors such as spaghetti meatballs and clam linguine, both of which have completely supplanted their unfrozen counterparts. Today's Groupon gives you a taste of this ethereal international delicacy: for $6, you get $12 worth of Italian ice and frozen treats at Rita's in Columbia on Harbison Boulevard or Village at Sandhill.
Every day, Rita's serves up fresh, fruitified Italian ice ($2.09–$2.99) in more than 30 flavors (several are sugar-free), including strawberry, cotton candy, Swedish Fish, chocolate chocolate chip, piña colada, mango, green apple, and wild black cherry. Along with creamy ice, Rita's also sells icy cream. Case in point: Rita's famously frozen old-fashioned custard ($2.49–$3.49), a robust dish that—like revenge—is best served cold in a cup, cone, or overflowing El Camino truck bed. Rita's custard involves a different freezing process than ice cream and boasts creamier texture that makes regular ice cream feel like gravel sprinkled with sandpaper shreds. Rita's most popular frozen treat, gelati ($3.49–$3.99), takes its cue from brunch, twilight, and sporks and blends two great things to create an even greater thing—in this case, the flavorful variety of Italian ice with the smoothitude of frozen custard. Rita's also offers an assortment of specialty Misto shakes ($3.89–$4.29), and fat-free soft-serve Slenderitas ($2.49–$3.49), all of which make for a tasty treat as well as a deliciously soothing topical treatment for chicken pox.
Though reviews are scarce for these particular locations, Rita’s Italian Ice has more than 420,000 fans on Facebook.