By Dylan Bailey
This week has been filled with rain and humidity–which isn’t anything new for Florida. But with that atmosphere came the hankering for something light, soothing, and, of course, sweet. That’s when I remembered hearing about Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard in Wildlight. Opened back in February of this year, I wanted to stop by and try something a little different.
As you approach Rita’s, the store’s exterior doesn’t scream “dessert destination.” However, don’t be fooled by its modest appearance. This humble enterprise houses a treasure trove of deliciousness that will make your taste buds dance with joy.
The process of placing an order is simple and efficient. You don’t step inside. Instead, you approach a window, peruse their mouth-watering menu, and place your order. It’s quick, convenient, and easy.
While waiting for my order, I had the pleasure of conversing with Skip McCloskey, the franchisee owner. Skip, with his charismatic personality and infectious enthusiasm, drew me in. He shared a bit about his journey from a two-decade-long career in broadcasting to becoming a purveyor of Italian ice and frozen custards. Talk about a sweet career transition!
Rita’s menu is a smorgasbord of sweet treats. From Italian ice to frozen custards, milkshakes, and more, the selection is extensive. But the real stars of the show are the gelati and their concretes.
What’s a gelati, you ask? Imagine a layer of soft-serve custard at the bottom of a cup, a middle layer of Italian ice, topped with even more custard. I can feel my blood sugar spiking from that sentence. I went with the root beer flavored Italian ice with a mixed custard, a combination that was both unusual and delightful. The creamy texture of the custard and the tangy root beer flavor made for a fantastic combination. If you’ve ever had a root beer float, this is right up your alley.
Next up was the concrete, a rich and creamy frozen custard swirled with toppings of your choice. And their list of toppings is quite large. Gummy sharks and chocolate chips are just the tip of the iceberg. I added peanut butter cups to mine which made it a decadent treat that left me swooning.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Oreo cookie sandwich. Imagine two giant Oreos sandwiching a hefty serving of vanilla custard. As a fan of ice cream sandwiches, I found this was a blissful experience.
Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard delivers on its promise of “Ice, Custard, Happiness.” From the service to the desserts, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. While it might not be a regular indulgence, it’s certainly a place I’d revisit when the craving for a frozen treat hits.
If you find yourself in Wildlight and you want something sweet, make a beeline for Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard.
Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard
Location: 76020 William Burgess Blvd. Unit #6, Yulee, FL