Former East Coasters who've been missing Rita's Italian Ice, you're in luck: the popular ice and custard chain is coming to NorCal in a big way, with plans to open 60 stores throughout NorCal in collaboration with partner San Francisco Ice Empire. The chain has already made modest inroads into the area, with outposts in Castro Valley and Scotts Valley, but the plan is to add locations in Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties, among others, with a dozen shops opening across Northern California by year's end. (Interestingly, San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties seem to not be on their hit list.) They have 600 stores across 27 states, including a bunch in the L.A. area.
For the uninitiated, Rita's serves a rotating selection of Italian-style water and cream ices, as well as soft-serve frozen custard and a variety of treats that combine the two (including shakes, custard-topped ice "gelati," and "blendini," the chain's answer to the Blizzard/McFlurry phenomenon). Their franchises are usually simple affairs with walk-up windows, and on the East Coast, they often close for the winter; West Coasters will likely benefit from year-round service. We'll keep you posted on when the first Bay Area Rita's will arrive, but here's the tentative list of all the counties where they plan to open:
San Luis Obispo