- $9 for three Groupons, each good for $5 worth of frozen treats
Rita's of Scotts Valley
Contrary to its name, the signature item at Rita's Italian 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 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 gelato, 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.